MOLINE, IL — Do you believe in miracles? The Cincinnati Cyclones must after their game against the Quad City Mallards on Friday. The Mallards came into the game third in the Central Division and seeking their ninth straight victory. The Cyclones were coming in after a Sunday shellacking in Toledo when they lost 9-1, and their loss against the Mallards on Wednesday.
Nolan LaPorte began the scoring at nine minutes and 17 seconds of the first period, the puck finding twine behind Michael Houser. Michael Parks and Chris Francis assisted on LaPorte’s tally. A couple minutes later it appeared that LaPorte had scored again, but the goal was waved off immediately. The referee claimed LaPorte had kicked the puck into the gaping net, but the replay showed the puck had bounced off his skate with no deliberate kicking motion. It may be of interest to note that this was the same referee who had disallowed what would have been a LaPorte hat trick goal last month against the Tulsa Oilers for incidental contact with the goaltender by a Mallard player.
Seth Ambroz tied the game with a minute and 14 seconds left before the first intermission. The goal came after a scrum in front of the net, Jonathan Diaby and Christiaan Minella assisting.
As the horn sounded, Guillaume Gelinas was hit by Brandon McNally as the Mallard player carried the puck across the blueline. Gelinas spun around, slashed McNally in the leg, and then turned back around. McNally attempted a chokehold from behind, but Gelinas dropped him to the ice where he delivered a few punches and a cross-check to his head. Andrew Panzarella and Diaby were busy jawing in front of the tussle, each missing a glove as they skated around each other an arm’s length apart. Gelinas received a cut on his cheek before receiving two minutes for slashing and a double roughing call for McNally’s single roughing.
The second period saw no scoring, but there were some fireworks. Panzarella and McNally dropped the gloves after Panzarella was shoved into Houser and then to the ice. McNally cross-checked Panzarella in the head several times while the Mallard player was on the ice, punching him while he was on his knees while trying to stand up. Once Panzarella stood up he began returning McNally’s punches, winning the bout decidedly.
Three minutes later the Mallards were called for too many men on what could be a controversial play. Justin Kovacs took a stick to the mouth in the corner near Adam Vay. Kovacs was obviously in great pain, moving slowly to the bench, and even spitting out what might have been a tooth in front of the bench. A Mallard player came on the ice as Kovacs was about to step onto the bench, and Josh MacDonald got the puck to begin a breakaway. The whistle blew as MacDonald crossed the blueline. Whether it was an uncalled high-sticking penalty on Cincinnati or the lack of a whistle to stop play sooner, the fans and team were angry.
With 84 seconds left in the game, Nick Huard put the visitors up with help from Jaynen Rissling and Diaby. The Mallards were unable to rally to tie the game, seeing their win streak snapped. With just under four seconds left LaPorte was hit in the knee with Huard’s knee, causing him to limp slowly to the bench.
The Mallards travel to Independence today to take on the Missouri Mavericks at 7:05pm CST.