MOLINE, IL – There really is no such thing as friends once the puck drops. This was something that was proven by many players on Wednesday as the Quad City Mallards faced the Fort Wayne Komets. Four former Mallards took the ice at the iWireless Center on Wednesday night, two of them scoring goals as they struck with a vengeance.
The Mallards struck early in the game, Michael Parks streaking along the right boards and taking the pass at the blue line from Guillaume Gelinas to score. Alex Petan earned an assist on that goal as well. Exactly four minutes later at the 9:44 mark, Mason Baptista tied the game as he crashed the net. He stopped at the blue paint, but the puck didn’t. Baptista’s tally was assisted by Jason Binkley and David Friedmann.
Kyle Thomas, another former Mallard, scored on the power play just over five minutes after the score became knotted, Jamie Schaafsma and Devin Mantha assisting. The goal came off an easy set-up in the Mallards’ zone to the right of Quad City goaltender, Adam Vay, near the crease.
In perhaps one of the neatest goals of the night, Mike Cazzola behind Vay passed to Mike Embach in front of the net for what looked similar to an empty net goal in its ease. This also proved to be the eventual game-winning goal.
The Mallards appeared to be starting a comeback early in the second period, Brady Brassart scoring on his former goalie in Fort Wayne netminder, P.J. Musico. Brassart was just on the outer edge of the blue paint to Musico’s left when he scored, Grant Arnold and Jack Nevins making their way onto the score sheet with the assists. However, this would be the end of the Mallards’ short comeback. Thomas scored his second of the night at 15:13 of the middle frame, giving fans a mixture of fear and hope for a hat trick as the puck hit the back-bar with a resounding thud before bouncing out. Brady Vail assisted on the goal.
Tanner Milliron made his ECHL and Mallards debut to start the third period to relieve Vay, who had made 17 saves on 21 shots on goal through 40 minutes. Vail scored a goal of his own at 4:31 of the final period with help from Thomas and Schaafsma.
The final goal of the game came in the final minute of the game, Embach receiving help from Gabriel Desjardines and Kyle Flemington.
The Mallards face the Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday at the iWireless Center at 7:05 CST.