MOLINE, IL – After meeting last night inside the TaxSlayer Center, the Quad City Mallards will now hit the road to close out their two-game weekend home-at-home set with the Wichita Thunder, this time on Wichita’s home ice. Here are all the news and notes to get you ready to go before game time at 7:05pm CST in downtown Wichita.
LAST NIGHT RECAP: Goaltender C.J. Motte returned to the Quad Cities for the first time in over a month after being released from his tryout agreement with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves on Tuesday, making 31 stops of the 34 Wichita shots he faced. Alexander Kuqali scored his first goal since he made his professional debut way back on March 30th, 2016 as a member of the Florida Everblades while Josh MacDonald also contributed for the Mallards. However, Mark MacMillan and Istvan Sofron led the way for Wichita, as MacMillan struck just 37 seconds into overtime, sending the Thunder to a 3-2 OT victory. Quad City’s losing streak is now at four.
HIGHWAY DON’T CARE: The team will be seeing a lot of highway over the next few weeks as tonight’s contest will begin a season high nine-game road trip lasting until December 20th, when the Mallards return home to face the Fort Wayne Komets. In addition to Wichita, they’ll make visits to Kansas City, Indy, Kalamazoo, Fort Wayne, and Cincinnati along the way on this lengthy road swing.
BREAKING THE GOOSE EGG: This is what makes this nine-game stretch beyond crucial to this young season. The Mallards have struggled away from home as in three attempts, they’ve gone 0-3-0 away from the Quad Cities and have been outscored by a gaping 15-3 margin in those three contests. On the other side of things, the Thunder are currently 6-2-1 in their own building heading into the festivities this evening.
PREVIEWING WICHITA: It all starts from the net out, and the Thunder have arguably the best goaltending tandem statistically in the league right now. Joel Rumpel and rookie Shane Starrett are both top 15 in goals against average, and top 10 in save percentage throughout the entire league. Wichita is a heavily loaded offensive team with seven players with ten or more points on the year already. They’re led by MacMillan (ten goals, seven assists), Greg Chase (five goals, seven assists), and rookie forward Lane Bauer (five goals, seven assists). Bauer is currently 14th among ECHL rookies in the scoring department.
SILENTLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Forward Brayden Low has quietly been putting his stamp on things throughout the course of the last handful of games as he’s accounted for four goals and five points over the last seven games. Rookie defenseman Willie Raskob has also racked up nine assists in his 13 games as a Mallard since being acquired in a trade with the Worcester Railers. In the absence of Justin Kovacs due to injury, secondary scoring is going to be beyond crucial over the next set of games.
|Record||Overall: 6-8-1-0, 13 points
Home: 6-5-1, 13 points
Away: 0-3-0, 0 points
|Overall: 12-2-2-0, 26 points
Home: 6-2-1, 13 points
Away: 6-0-1, 13 points
|Rank||6th – Central Division||1st – Mountain Division|
|Last 10 Games||4-5-1-0||6-2-2-0|
|Points Leader||F Sam Warning (13 points)||F Mark MacMillan (17 points)|
|Goals Leader||F Sam Warning (10 goals)||F Mark MacMillan (10 goals)f|
|Assists Leader||D Willie Raskob (10 assists)||F Kyle Platzer (9 assists)|
|PIMs Leader||F Sam Warning (25 PIMs)||F Dyson Stevenson (47 PIMs)|
|Goaltending Leader||Ivan Kulbakov
|Power Play||9/57 – 15.8%||13/53 – 24.5%|
|Penalty Kill||39/47 – 83.0%||52/61 – 85.2%|