CINCINNATI, OH – The Quad City Mallards played the Cincinnati Cyclones for the second time in two nights at U.S. Bank Arena on Saturday.
Saturday night’s game started the same was as Friday’s game, with the Mallards totally dominating play in the first period. In some ways, they were more dominant in the first period on Friday. They limited the Cyclones to just seven shots and few good chances, while taking 17 shots themselves. Cyclones goaltender Brad Thiessen made several great saves to escape with the score still 0-0. On Saturday, the Mallards out-shot the Cyclones 10-7. The main difference on Saturday was that some of the Mallards’ shots found the net.
Just 46 seconds into the game and seven seconds into a power play, Olivier Archambault got a bit of space just to the right of the slot and beat Thiessen high to give the Mallards a 1-0 lead. It looked like a set play off of the faceoff. Jordan Knackstedt won the faceoff to Mike Monfredo, who set up Archambault to skate in and shoot. These seven seconds were the only Mallards’ power play time of the entire game.
Just over two minutes later, Matt Neal sprung Sam Warning on a breakaway with a pass that split the defensemen down the center of the ice. Warning again beat Thiessen high to put the Mallards up 2-0. These center ice passes may have also been an adjustment in strategy from Friday. The Mallards tried it a few times, and on this play it was executed perfectly.
The Mallards sustained pressure most of the rest of the period as well. With just under three minutes, Warning struck again. This time Neal had the puck low near the bottom of the circle and found Warning out near the high slot with a pass. He one-timed it past Thiessen to put the Mallards up 3-0.
In the second period, the Cyclones slowly started to build offensive pressure of their own. They finally broke through with five minutes left in the period. Colin Mulvey set up Tommy Mele with a cross-crease pass that he one-timed past P.J. Musico. Early in the third period, the Cyclones got another goal on a very similar play. This time it was Garrett Noonan setting up Peter Quenneville with a cross-crease pass for a one-timer.
These two shots were nearly impossible for Mallards’ goalie P.J. Musico to stop. He made all of the other saves needed the rest of the way, including a few spectacular ones. The Cyclones pulled Thiessen for an extra attacker with around 1:30 to play. The Cyclones had good offensive pressure. The pressure was turned up another notch when Matt Carey was called for holding with 46 seconds to play, giving the Cyclones a six-on-four advantage. Musico made the needed saves and the Mallards finally cleared the puck in the final seconds to preserve the win.
- The Mallards were without Jake Baker and Raphael Bussieres. Baker was called up to the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. Bussieres has an upper body injury.
- After this game, the Mallards traveled to Evansville for their third road game in three nights and won 4-1.
- At the end of the weekend, the Mallards have a three-point lead on Tulsa in the race for the final playoff spot. The two teams play each other one more time (Friday, April 1) during the regular-season.
- A busload of Mallards fans were on hand for both games in Cincinnati this weekend. The trip was set up by the Mallards Booster Club. The fans that made the trip got to go on the ice for this photo after Friday’s game: