BRAMPTON, ON — The Quad City Mallards, and fans, needed a pot of Tim Hortons this morning, but the team seemingly failed to make a run to the chain and suffered for it. A former Mallard also helped in the team’s downfall this morning against the Brampton Beast. After going down 3-0 in the first 20 minutes, the Mallards were unable to dig themselves out of the hole they’d dug.
Jordan Henry put the Beast in an early lead just over five minutes into the game. Luke Pither and Scott Jacklin assisted. Adam Vay was unable to go coast to coast, leaving a gaping net on the right side for Henry. Sixty-two seconds later Brandon Marino added to Brampton’s lead with help from David Pacan and Chris Leveille. For those who don’t have a copy of the Mallards’ 20th anniversary magazine with the 20 greatest Mallards of all time, Marino appears in those pages.
At 10:27 David Vallorani scored from the high slot, causing many of the children in attendance to begin waving their toques as rally towels. Pither and Tim Billingsley earned assists on Vallorani’s goal.
Michael Parks ended Zachary Fucale‘s shutout 96 seconds into the middle frame, Brady Brassart and Nolan LaPorte assisting. There was no real finesse on the puck, Parks jamming the puck in point blank. Any coffee drank by either team seemed to have worn off during the second period, neither team scoring again until after the second intermission.
Alex Gudbranson set the Mallards further onto the road to an attempted comeback, scoring at 5:44 of the final frame. Alex Petan cleared the zone to LaPorte at the blueline, who streaked down the right boards trailed by Gudbranson. A great set-up led to a simple goal for the Mallards.
Leveille scored the game-winning goal eight minutes later from Pacan and Marino for perhaps one of the easiest goals I’ve seen. The play began in Brampton’s own zone and shifted down the ice with absolutely no pressure from the Mallards. Pacan and Leveille passed the puck back and forth as the teams moved down the ice, Leveille sliding the puck into the net just above Vay’s right foot as he did the splits and fell face-first towards the ice. It looked almost as if the Mallards’ controller had come unplugged because there was no defense to speak of.
Less than a minute later Jack Nevins put the Mallards within one with a deflected goal off a Gudbranson shot. Kevin Gibson earned the other assist.
The two teams face off again tomorrow night at 6:15 CST.