MOLINE, IL – In a wild game that saw the Quad City Mallards morph from one team to the next, the Mallards pulled off a shootout win with help from Sam Warning and CJ Motte on Black Friday. The final score was 4-3, but without Motte’s incredible saves the score could have been in Indy’s favor, and much more so.
The Mallards seemed to be in control for the first period, out-shooting the visitors 15-7. Three of the four Mallards power plays came during the first frame, but no scoring was produced.
The home team that took the ice after the first intermission seemed far different than the one that started the night. The Mallards appeared to think the second period was a game of pond hockey because they couldn’t seem to connect for much of the period and often whiffed on the puck. The team that showed chutzpah in the first period had very little in the second.
The Fuel took an early lead just under four minutes into the middle frame after the Mallards were unable to clear the zone. Matt Rupert put the Fuel on the board with help from Anthony Beauregard. The Fuel then had ample opportunity to increase their lead after Warning earned a double minor for high sticking at 9:08, and then was followed to the penalty box 97 seconds later by Brady Brassart for slashing. The Mallards were able to kill off the two minutes of 5-on-3 action.
Michael Parks evened the score 12 minutes after the first goal, beginning a shower of stuffed animals for the annual Teddy Bear Toss. As of this writing, the count of stuffed animals thrown has yet to be announced. Parks was assisted by Mike Wilson and Nolan LaPorte. The Mallards quickly went down 2-1 after Alex Wideman put the Fuel up with assistance from Jonathan Carlsson and Brady Ramsay after a defensive breakdown in the Mallards’ zone. Wideman’s goal came exactly two minutes and one second after Parks’ goal.
Jack Nevins had a timely reply to the visitors’ second lead of the night, scoring with just 10.4 seconds left on the clock in the middle frame to send the teams to the locker rooms tied at two. Brassart at the right face off dot close to opposing goaltender Jake Hildebrand passed to Mike Monfredo at the blueline, who passed to Nevins at the left face off dot.
Warning scored his first goal of the night one minute into the final frame to break the 2-2 tie with help from Chris Francis and Wilson. The Mallards’ lead didn’t last long, however. A freak bounce off Kevin Lynch‘s skate put the two teams back into evened goals. Wideman shot the puck that deflected off Lynch’s skate.
The Fuel seemed to definitely outplay the Mallards during the final two periods, but the Mallards seemed to have the favor of the hockey gods somehow. The hockey gods continued to smile on the Flock when Wilson made some bad moves in his own end that lead to at least two very good chances for the Fuel to win the game in overtime. Neither team could produce a goal in extra hockey, and the game went to the shootout.
Alex Petan shot first in the shootout, slipping the puck past Hildebrand. Neither Wideman nor Lynch were able to find twine against Motte after regulation with Motte making a great poke-check against Lynch. Though LaPorte attempted, his shot was unable to make its way to the score sheet as a goal. Warning won the game for the Mallards, putting his team up by one point in the standings to take sole possession of fourth place in the Central Division.
The Mallards travel to Fort Wayne to take on the Komets on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 6:30 CST.