MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards used a burst of offense to defeat the Evansville Icemen on New Year’s Eve and snap a four game losing streak.
Five different Mallards scored goals as the team scored more than two goals for the first time since December 19 in a win over the Wheeling Nailers. Anthony Collins opened the scoring seven minutes into the game when he put a perfect pass from Austin Coldwell into the net from just outside the crease. Late in the period Matt Carey scored a power play goal to give the Mallards a 2-0 lead. Coldwell also had the primary assist on Carey’s goal.
This power play was set up by a stoppage in which 26 minutes worth of penalties were called. The trouble started when Nathan Moon interfered with goaltender Steve Michalek. Michalek made a glove save then immediately started shoving Moon after the whistle. This drew all the players down by the goal and lots of shoving ensued. Finally some of the shoving boiled over into a fight between Raphael Bussieres and Andrew Himelson. Bussieres had a clear size advantage and used it to win the fight easily. Moon ended up getting penalties for goaltender interference, roughing and a 10 minute misconduct. Here is a video of what happened:
To start the second period the Mallards seemed to let up in a similar fashion as to when they got the lead the night before against the Icemen. The Icemen once again took advantage and came out hard after every goal. They scored three goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to take a 3-2 lead. Alex Wideman, Alex Guptill, and Vincent Dunn scored the goals for the Icemen.
This time the Mallards were able to recover. Three minutes after falling behind, Ryan Tesink scored to tie the game at 3-3. Once again, Coldwell had the primary assist. With 5:43 to play in the period, Vladimir Nikiforov scored on a semi-breakaway to give the lead back to the Mallards. The score would remain 4-3 until the second intermission.
To start the third the Icemen got a few close-range shots but Michalek made a couple good saves. Play evened up before Brady Brassart scored his first goal as a Mallard to make the score 5-3. This goal came at even strength but was only a few seconds after an Icemen penalty expired.
The Mallards then seemed to play a more defensive game to try to kill some time on the clock. The score stayed 5-3 until the Icemen pulled goaltender Matt Zenzola for an extra attacker with a little over two minutes left. Matt Carey got free and scored an empty net goal to put the Mallards up 6-3. The Icemen did add an extra attacker goal just 13 seconds after Carey’s goal. The Mallards seemed to forget how hard the Icemen come out after every goal even after getting burned by it several times in the last two games. That would close out the scoring though and the Mallards won 6-4.
Alex Gudbranson quietly had a good game. He provided some stable defense that had been missing during this losing streak. He had an assist and was +3. Tesink added an assist to his goal and was +3. This was a nice rebound game for him. Nikiforov also had a strong game, adding two assists to go with his goal.
The Icemen seemed to be a much improved team from earlier in the season. These two games against them were a good test for the Mallards now that they have a full roster again. Next, the Mallards have to face the Allen Americans on Saturday at the i wireless Center. According to this article, Kevin Henderson may return from injured reserve on Saturday.