MOLINE, IL – For only the second time this season, the Quad City Mallards were unable to find twine. Mark Visentin and the Cincinnati Cyclones kept the Mallards off the scoreboard on Friday night in front of a rowdy crowd at the iWireless Center.
The Mallards and Cyclones came out energized for the first period, lots of back and forth action occurring in the first few minutes of play. The shot-count seemed to be a bit on the low side, as both teams only had two shots on goal within roughly the first three minutes but there’s seemed to be more chances than that. There were a lot of “almosts” for the Mallards through the game, but “almosts” don’t win hockey games.
The scoring didn’t start until just over halfway through the first frame with Brandon McNally beating Adam Vay on the glove side as he shot backhand. McNally had streaked down the center of the ice after taking a pass from Peter LeBlanc, cutting right just before the blue paint and taking the shot. Shane Walsh also earned an assist on McNally’s goal.
The action continued with a fight eight minutes later. A Mallard player was checked hard into the boards in the corner to Vay’s right, and Donnie Harris didn’t like what McNally had done. Harris dropped the gloves with him, and the fight could only be described as a draw. McNally got several good hits to Harris’ head before Harris returned the favor, and then the officials broke up the scrum. Harris earned an extra two minutes for instigating the bout.
With just 27 seconds left in the middle frame, Cincinnati grabbed a 2-0 lead. Walsh slid the puck between Vay’s left pillow and the post as Vay huddled the post. Walsh had found the one opening in Vay’s coverage, Arvin Atwal and McNally earning the assists. This assist would complete McNally’s Gordie Howe hat trick.
70 seconds into the final period Michael Parks was taken hard into the half-boards of the visitors’ bench by Jacob Graves. Mike Monfredo stood up for his teammate, dropping the gloves with the unwilling Graves. Parks returned a few minutes later after going to the locker room.
McNally scored his second goal of the night at 8:08, Walsh and Craig Dalrymple getting the apples. Nick Huard then scored the final goal of the game off a LeBlanc pass on the power play. Dalrymple assisted on Huard’s goal as well.
Though it was apparent in the first period, it became even clearer in the second frame that Visentin is a really good goalie. He appeared to be putting on a clinic, the saves looking easy as he flashed his glove first one way and then the other. Visentin ended up making 25 saves in this shutout, and in my opinion he should’ve been first star over McNally.
The Mallards travel to Fort Wayne Saturday night to take on the Komets at 6:30 CST.