MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards have seen the last of the Alaska Aces for the foreseeable future, their last match-up occurring on Saturday. The game started out the same as Friday’s, but the result was far better for Mallards fans. After this contest, the first round opponents for the Central Division are set: the Toledo Walleye will face the Kalamazoo Wings, while the Fort Wayne Komets and Mallards will face each other in a continuation of their long-standing rivalry.
Alaska started things off early, Marc-Olivier Roy netting the first goal of the game just 3:26 in. The lone assist on Roy’s goal came from Danny Moynihan’s stick. Moynihan passed from Gretzky’s office to Roy as he stood just outside the blue-paint in front of Adam Vay. Fourteen minutes later, Justin Kovacs scored with help from Alex Petan and Mike Wilson. Kovacs was in the process of crashing the net when Petan passed to him after getting the puck from Wilson, and Kovacs slide the puck in to even the score.
The Mallards apparently didn’t watch enough of The Red Green Show as children (do they show that everywhere on PBS, or just on Iowa Public Television/CBC?), because their sticks were almost never on the ice for much of the game. They’d have a fantastic chance for a goal, someone would send them a puck, and *whoosh* away went the puck under the stick back towards Vay, who was an instrumental part in the victory, as the Aces outshot the hometeam 41-27. The Mallards had only nine shots on goal per period, with the visitors amounting 15 in the first period. The Aces also seemed to be much more physical, with more pressure, throughout the game. The Mallards almost appeared tentative at some points with their checks, not finishing the hit.
A little under five minutes into the second period the Mallards believed they had scored, the arena going so far as playing the horn and goal song. Alas, the goal was waved off for goaltender interference. It appeared that Kevin Gibson was tripped as he was in the middle of passing to Adam Gilmour, who slid the puck to Kevin Carr’s right as Gibson also slid into the net. Carr protested the tally, winning that argument after the officials conferred.
The Mallards definitely scored at six minutes and 39 seconds of the final frame, when Michael Parks got the deflected pass from the screening Jack Nevins. Guillaume Gelinas was in the high slot to pass the puck to Nevins just seconds after the Mallards’ second power-play of the night. Two minutes later, Parks intercepted a clearing attempt to shoot the puck to Nolan LaPorte, who passed it to Chris Francis in the right dot for the game-winning goal.
Kyle Novak earned his first professional point in his third game, dropping the puck back to Kovacs to Carr’s left just past the blue-line. Kovacs rifled the shot in, giving the Mallards a four to one lead. Sixty-six seconds later, a screening Garet Hunt redirected a shot by Tim Campbell. Brad Navin also assisted on Hunt’s goal.
The Mallards travel to Indianapolis on Tuesday for their last meeting with the Fuel this season. The puck is set to drop at 6 pm. Whether or not C.J. Motte, who signed a PTO with the Iowa Wild on Thursday, will have returned by then is unknown. Motte was signed after Alex Stalock of Iowa was called up by Minnesota the day before to give Devan Dubnyk a break.