MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards opened a busy weekend with some home-cooking against the Kalamazoo Wings. Friday night’s matchup at the i-Wireless Center is the first of two between the clubs this weekend.
The first period was uneventful save for two penalties, one for each team. The Mallards outshot the Wings 13-8 in the opening period, though the shot count had been 11-3 after 12 minutes of play. The Mallards’ passing appeared crisper and the team outplayed the visitors in the first period, their puck possession also improved from previous games.
A defensive lapse led to the first Wings goal just under two minutes into the second period, Charlie Vasaturo sliding the puck past Steve Michalek with help from Ben Wilson and Justin Kovacs. After a Wings player slid into Michalek around five minutes and 15 seconds into the second period, Alex Gudbranson and Lane Scheidl jawed at each other after an actionless scrum in front of the net. Less than 30 seconds later Mike Monfredo would tie the game off an assist from Sam Warning, the latter keeping the puck in the zone before it sailed through the air past the blue line.
The Wings got their second goal of the night from Dane Fox on the powerplay as Darren McMillan had been seated for interference. The puck bounced and appeared to slide between the body and elbow of Michalek after Fox received a pass from Ludwig Blomstrand and Cory Pritz.
Oliver Archambault was penalized at 10:05 of the second for goalie interference after appearing to trip Joel Martin behind the net as Martin came out of the net to play the puck. Many fans disagreed with the call, as the replay showed Archambault had not touched Martin as he skated by.
Minutes later, Matt Carey breezed past the Wings’ defense as he shot the puck at the dots. The puck hit the middle of the crossbar before going in. Vladimir Nikiforov and Austin Coldwell assisted on Carey’s eighth goal of the season.
The third period was full of penalties, eight being handed out between the two teams. 4-on-4 hockey was played twice through the third period, ten seconds at the beginning of the period and then at 6:07 as Tanner Eberle and Blomstrand were both assessed roughing minors and Alex Mallet being seated for cross-checking.
Hostilities rose through the rest of the third period, but, after-whistle activities amounting only to talking.
60 minutes couldn’t decide a victor for the match, and three-on-three hockey commenced. Archambault had a breakaway chance just 50 seconds into the game, but Martin denied him. With 100 seconds left Guillaume Gelinas attempted a breakaway goal, but to no avail.
Matt Neal scored the winning goal with 19 seconds remaining on the game clock, the puck barely sliding past Martin on his stick side. McMillan and Gudbranson received assists on that tally.
The Mallards face off against the Evansville Icemen in Indiana tomorrow at 7:15 PM before returning home to play Kalamazoo again at 4 PM on Sunday.
Don’t forget to bring your skates, as Sunday’s game features another Post-Game Skate with the Mallards presented by B100. Also on Sunday is Pink in the Rink night; all fans wearing pink can get $3 off the purchase of tickets at the box office for Sunday’s game.