After winning games this season versus tough opponents, the Quad City Mallards seemed to get complacent and lose their next game. Thankfully, they avoided a letdown on Sunday at Missouri after getting two important wins versus the Thunder last week.
This is unusual. So many times we have seen a poor performance after a big win. It’s been the story of the season. I’ll highlight a couple of the worst stretches:
- On December 3, they won another game at Missouri. It was their first win at Missouri in a couple years. At that time it was far from clear Missouri would not be a playoff team. After that win they turned around on Friday and lost 2-1 to Wichita in a very lackluster effort. The next night (12/6), they beat the same Wichita team 6-2 in maybe the Mallards’ best game of the season. Unfortunately, their weekend wasn’t done. The Mallards then traveled back to Missouri the next day and got a shutout 3-0.
- On February 16, the Mallards went into Allen and won 2-1 in a very hard-fought defensive game. Allen had the best record in the ECHL at that time. The Mallards then traveled to Brampton for 3 games versus the last place Beast. The Mallards went from beating the first place Americans to getting blown out by the last-place Beast 6-2. The next game the Mallards turned it around and blew out the Beast 6-3. Just when it looked like they might have it figured out, they got blown out by the Beast again, 6-2, in the final game of the trip.
I don’t have a good explanation for this. You can’t blame roster turnover on this one, when you are talking back to back nights with the same players, and getting two extremely different outcomes. This is one of the reasons this team has been so maddening this year. It’s clear when they are playing well, they can beat anyone, they have wins against some very good teams. The problem is, in the playoffs all the teams are good enough that you can play well and still lose. They will have to play well every game to have a chance.
Hopefully yesterday’s win versus the Mavericks is a sign that they are finally figuring this out. Another test will come on Wednesday, when they face the Beast. They better not overlook them like they may have done earlier this year. If they win Wednesday, it will stretch their winning streak to 4 games. Crazy, but that would be their longest winning streak of the season.