MOLINE, IL – Less than twelve hours remain until the 2017-18 season starts for the Quad City Mallards. Like waiting for the final bell of the school year to ring, fans are counting down the minutes until the puck drops at the freshly-minted TaxSlayer Center for the first time. The smell of unwashed lucky sweaters and hot dogs will fill the air, while the scent of popcorn will tickle the nostrils of fans as they weave through the concourse crowd to find friends they haven’t seen since April 22nd. The final roster has been set, 21 of the 23 names are active; returning rookie forward Kyle Novak joins defenseman Kyle Bigos on the reserve list to start the season.
The blue-line squad consists of Greg Amlong, Kyle Follmer, Jacob Graves, Kevin Kirisits, Alexander Kuqali, Chris Leibinger, and Ales Sova, while between the pipes are Ivan Kulbakov and C.J. Motte. The forwards are Alex Globke, Tristan King, Garrett Klotz, Keegan Kolesar, Justin Kovacs, Brayden Low, Josh MacDonald, Ryan McGrath, Matt Pohlkamp, Michael Pontarelli, Jamie Tardif, and Sam Warning.
King is line-mates with MacDonald and Tardif as of Thursday. “I think those are two really really good players,” King said. “I haven’t had [a player/coach] that I think is as big as an influence and has as much experience as Tardif, so he’s one of those guys that’s as valuable off the ice as he is on the ice.”
The Mallards take on the Toledo Walleye at 7:05pm on Friday the 13th of October. As always, it’s another 97X $2 Beer/$2 Hot Dog Night for Friday.
“It was a good camp; just excited to start playing some games again, you know,” Pohlkamp said. “It’s been a long time since I played a game so it’ll be good.”