The Missouri Mavericks came into Tuesday night’s matchup with the visiting Quad City Mallards having won their previous four contests, looking to keep the momentum building. The Mallards had seen success of their own, starting the season 3-1-1, trailing only Fort Wayne in the Midwest Division by a mere point in the standings. These two teams, despite playing in separate divisions with the new alignment, are no strangers to each other and Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski always puts together formidable squads.
The backbone of the current winning streak for the Mavericks has been their stellar defensive play, and Tuesday night would be no different. Fresh off his return from Bridgeport, Parker Milner would get the start between the pipes against his former team. Milner picked up right where Josh Robinson left off, stopping 25 of the 27 shots that he faced. The two teams would skate to a scoreless first period, practically mirroring each other with eight shots on goal a piece, both committing one penalty, and neither taking advantage of their man-advantage opportunity.
The Mavericks would get on the board first, just 27 seconds into the second period, and that opened the flood gates. Mavs defenseman Loic Leduc jumped up into an odd man rush, took a great feed from Tyler Barnes and beat Mallards goalie Brody Hoffman from the slot to break the scoreless tie. Barnes would find twine himself at the 11:50 mark of the middle frame, set up by a beautiful no-look pass from Jesse Root on the power play to make it 2-0 Mavs. Sebastien Sylvestre would tally his first goal of the season, also on the power play, at the 14:24 mark after his quick wrister beat Hoffman to extend the lead to 3-0. Quad City would put a halt to the scoring barrage, and cut into the Mavs lead when Tanner Eberle redirected a shot from Zach Pochiro that Milner never had a chance to stop. The power play goal from Eberle snapped the Mavericks’ streak of 16 consecutive successful penalty kills, and was the first power play goal allowed since the season opener in Alaska. The Mavs would take a 3-1 lead into the final frame.
Early in the third period, Kellen Jones would best Hoffman to get the three-goal lead for the Mavs back, and all but put the game out of reach. The Mavs defense really put the clamps down on the Mallards high-powered attack, holding them to just seven shots on goal in the period. Despite a short-handed goal from Zach Pochiro, the Mallards were never a threat to come back in the game. An empty-netter from Jesse Root in the waning seconds put an exclamation point on an impressive 5-2 victory at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
The Mavericks hit the road for the next three games, including a much-anticipated match-up with their arch rivals and defending Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans on Saturday.
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