MOLINE, IL – Even though it’s February, and it’s freezing, the Quad City Mallards are going streaking. The Mallards have now won four straight games against the Kalamazoo Wings, and three games overall. The Mallards’ special teams were in full force on Friday night, even when the team wasn’t at full strength.
The first Mallards goal came after a debate just over three minutes after the opening faceoff. Gergo Nagy was in the low slot when he fired a wrister towards Michael Garteig which bounced off the cross-bar and back in to play, the goal light flashing for a brief second before the referee waved off a goal. A few moments later a whistle blew the play dead, and the officials conferred at the box. After a short conference, the referee pointed at center ice. Garteig did not seem to agree with the call, going behind the net to spray the glass with his water bottle to clean it off. Keegan Kolesar and Jake Bolton were credited with the assists on Nagy’s power-play goal as Kyle Bushee sat in the box for hooking.
Three minutes after the first goal, Tristan King added to the lead with a deke and a dangle. Alex Globke took the puck from the blue line on the right side down to the far edge of the circle before passing it across to the waiting King at the left dot. King then psyched Garteig out to make him sprawl on his stomach and slid the puck past the goaltender’s left skate.
Globke gave the Mallards a dangerous 3-0 lead with less than four minutes left in the first period with help from Matt Pohlkamp. Pohlkamp and Globke went on a two-on-one rush, Pohlkamp on the left and Globke on the right, passing it back and forth between themselves a couple of times before Globke slid the puck five-hole on a slow back-hand shot. Garteig once again cleaned off the glass before retiring to the locker room for the first bathroom break, and it proved beneficial to the Wings that he had.
The 3-0 Mallards lead did indeed prove dangerous, but not for the visiting team, as just under 30 seconds into the middle frame Eric Kattelus got the Wings’ on the board with an unassisted goal. The goal looked similar to the goal which Nagy had scored, the puck seemingly barely crossing the line before bouncing back out. This time, however, the goal light continued to flash and the referee pointed to the net emphatically.
Later in the period, the Mallards’ special team struck again, another short-handed goal giving the home team back the three-goal lead. Alexander Kuqali scored his fourth goal of the season by coming in on the left and firing from the dot. Pohlkamp went back onto the scoresheet with another assist.
The Mallards’ lead was cut in half after a goal that C.J. Motte found disagreeable early in the third period. He came out of the net on the right side to try to cover it, and a Kalamazoo player got tangled with Motte’s pads. Bushee was then able to tap the puck into the gaping net from the crease mouth, and once Motte stood up, he went over to discuss the call with the referee. The referee was adamant, however, and it was a short discussion. Brendan Bradley and Danny Moynihan picked up the apples on the tally that came just a smidge before the one minute mark of the final frame.
Three minutes later Tyler Biggs found the puck-sized hole underneath Motte’s right skate as the goaltender was flat on his stomach, the right skate pressed up against the post. Tyler Heinonen and Bushee made their way onto the scoresheet with the assists, and it would be the last time the Wings would appear there on Friday.
Kuqali was at the blue line on the left when he passed the puck up and over to Kyle Novak, who was halfway between the blue line and the right dot in the Wings’ defensive zone. Novak skated up to the dot before passing to Jamie Tardif in the low slot. Tardif sent the puck over Garteig’s shoulder, the first insurance goal of the night. King scored again a few minutes later to seal the deal on the Mallards’ victory, this time a power-play goal with help from Globke and Brayden Low. Globke tripped over the red paint at the right dot but managed to pass the puck to King at the point while lying on his stomach. King then rocketed the puck over Garteig’s glove to make it kiss twine, the last action of the game.
Greg Amlong then attempted to fight Bradley a minute later in front of Motte, but Bradley wasn’t interested in a fight. Amlong had already dropped his gloves and thrown a few punches, however, and then continued the roughing after the officials attempted to break it up. For that, he earned a ten-minute misconduct on top of his two for roughing call.
The Mallards will continue their three-in-three weekend stretch with a game in Fort Wayne on Saturday. The puck will drop to start the game at 6:30 CST, as the Mallards will attempt to make it two straight victories against the Indiana-based team. On Sunday the Mallards will return home to face the Toledo Walleye, with a start time of 4:05 CST and a post-game skate the extra perks.