MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards and East Quad City Mallards — I mean the Fort Wayne Komets — faced off in a rescheduled game on Wednesday in front of a small but boisterous crowd that grew as the night went on. The return of former Mallard Kyle Follmer to Quad City ice was a high point of the night to many fans.
The Mallards were unable to get a shot off in the first three minutes of play, though the Komets managed to get a couple of shots in the same time period. The Mallards often iced the puck instead, resulting in about four of the seven icings in the first period.
Mike Embach began the scoring at 4:03 of the opening period, shooting from the far circle to find twine behind C.J. Motte. Jason Binkley and Jamie Schaafsma earned the assists on Embach’s goal. Seventy-eight seconds later, Alex Petan tied the game gliding across the front of the crease. Garrett Bartus attempted to make a sprawling save, but Petan easily lifted the puck above him.
Though there were many icings were called in the first frame, only one was called in the second. Coach Terry Ruskowski could be heard from the opposite balcony, yelling at the officials for icings that were being called inconsistently. There were also controversial offsides calls that irked both teams and fans in the stands. One offside call in particular in the third period halted play while the Mallards had a good scoring chance; Andrew Panzarella appeared to keep the puck at the blueline with the puck never crossing, but the linesman blew his whistle. A few minutes later the same play occurred at the other end with the opposite team, but no whistle was blown.
Jack Nevins and Dan Milan exchanged words and shoves a few times through the sandwich stanza, but no gloves were dropped. At one point, Milan was led to the bench by a linesman and was trailed by two Mallards players.
Fort Wayne took the lead back at the 12 minutes and nine seconds mark of the second, a turnover by Sam Warning led to Jamie Schaafsma‘s seventh goal of the season. Kyle Thomas took the puck that was surrendered at the Mallards’ blue line and streaked down the ice to hit the post. Schaafsma easily tapped the puck in on the rebound.
Grant Arnold scored his first professional goal with just under five minutes remaining in the second period. Arnold deflected a shot from Nolan LaPorte and Michael Parks, Arnold standing just on the outer left edge of the crease.
Early in the final period, Mike Monfredo fell in front of an opposing player in the Mallards’ own zone in the left corner. Mike Cazzola then got the puck and found twine, putting the visitors back on top with help from Shawn Szydlowski and Garrett Thompson,
LaPorte’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty led to a Komets goal with just eight seconds left on the powerplay. Motte didn’t seem to see the puck, which rocketed off Brady Vail‘s stick to go bardown. Gabriel Desjardins and Thompson assisted on the game-winning goal.
Chris Francis scored an unassisted shorthanded goal at 14:19 of the final frame, Petan in the sin bin for slashing. Francis followed the puck for his 100th career goal into the net, sailing over Bartus to land behind the goal line.
The Mallards return to action at home this Friday night at 7:00 against the Tulsa Oilers.