MOLINE, IL– On Military Appreciation Night, what better way to say thank you to the brave service members who have sacrificed so much for us than by winning a hard fought game. In front of just under 5000 people, the Quad City Mallards defeated the Toledo Walleye 4-2 on Friday night.
The hometown team struggled out of the gates, being outplayed for much of the first 20 minutes. Shots at the end of 20 minutes were 19-9 Toledo, but the Mallards proved quality is better than quantity.
In his second game back as a Mallard, Guillaume Gelinas put the Flock on the board just past the midway point of the opening period, firing a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that beat Jake Paterson. Brady Brassart and Nolan LaPorte collected assists on the goal, which came 55 seconds into the first powerplay of the night after Beau Schmitz went to the box for hooking.
The Spink brothers tied the game at one with just under three and a half minutes to play, Tyson Spink assisting on Tylor Spink‘s goal. As CJ Motte hugged the left post, the puck bounced off his back and into the netting, resulting in the score.
Twenty-five seconds into the middle frame Donnie Harris put the Mallards in the lead off an unassisted goal. The puck slipped in between Paterson’s elbow and torso as he attempted to make the save.
Six minutes later Toledo would tie the game again off a wraparound. Jacob MacDonald shot the puck into the gaping net as Motte was unable to move from side-to-side quick enough. Tylor Spink and Tyler Sikura earned assists on MacDonald’s goal, which would be the last visitors’ goal of the night.
Chris Francis took advantage of a loose puck in the offensive zone, burying it with help from Jack Nevins and LaPorte to give the Mallards the lead again. A minute later, Jace Coyle would sit for delaying the game, but as soon as he came out of the box he had a fantastic shot on net. As he exited the box he received a pass from another Mallard to streak into the Walleye zone. He was all alone except for the goalie, but the shot rang off the post with a distinctive sound to signal no tally.
Nevins would secure the Mallards’ victory with a buzzer-beating goal with just 3.7 seconds remaining in the second period. LaPorte and Francis would assist on that goal.
Motte faced 44 shots, definitely earning the first star. Without him playing so well, the Mallards would have been in trouble.
The Mallards hit the road to Kalamazoo for a Saturday night game against the Wings. The puck drops at 6pm tonight.