The Quad City Mallards led most of the game to defeat the Wichita Thunder 5-2. The Mallards won two out of three home games on the weekend.
After getting shut out in their home opener on Friday by the Tulsa Oilers, the Mallards put together back-to-back five-goal games. The line consisting of Tanner Eberle, Ryan Tesink and Zach Pochiro was very potent. They were able to get the puck in low very often and set up many good chances with great passing. The line accounted for three of the Mallards’ five goals, with one coming on a power play. Eberle scored two of the goals, both in the first period, to give the Mallards a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Raphael Bussieres got the next goal for the Mallards. He had another strong game. Today he had a goal and an assist one night after scoring two goals against the Oilers. He also set up linemate Matt Neal for a power play goal in the third period. Olivier Archambault has been on the line with Bussieres and Neal. He was credited with two assists both today and Saturday.
A common theme for all of the offense the last two games has been that it was largely provided by players assigned to the Mallards by American Hockey League teams. There are seven skaters currently assigned to the Mallards from the Iowa Wild or Chicago Wolves. They are Eberle, Pochiro, Tesink, Bussieres, Archambault, Alex Gudbranson and Guillaume Gelinas. Together they accounted for seven of the ten goals on the weekend, and combined for eleven assists.
This is somewhat to be expected since they are getting the bulk of the playing time. However, it should not be taken for granted either. I stated in this post back in late August the number of players assigned to the Mallards and how those players performed would have a big impact on the season. The number of players assigned here has been higher than I expected, and they are off to a very promising start.
Steve Michalek, another player assigned here by the Wild, had another strong game in net. He improved his record to 2-1-0-1. His goals against average is a stingy 1.97, and his save percentage is 0.928. In Sunday’s game he stopped 31 of 33 shots to earn the win and avenge the shootout loss to Wichita in their home opener on October 17.
The Mallards’ next game is on the road against the Missouri Mavericks on Tuesday.
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