MOLINE, IL – Christmas sweaters and hockey sweaters abounded at the iWireless Center on Christmas Eve as the Quad City Mallards took on the second place Tulsa Oilers in the Central Division. The ice girls were dressed as elves and Mrs. Clauses, security was decked in festive sweaters, and Christmas music blared through the sound system. The Christmas spirit didn’t extend to the ice, however.
During the first period two fights broke out. After Christophe Lalancette boarded Brady Brassart, Jack Nevins dropped the gloves with Samuel Noreau. Two and a half minutes later Grant Arnold was slashed by Emerson Clark. Arnold punched Clark several times, earning a roughing call to negate any power play that could have occurred. Arnold and Reid Halabi fought at the 13:41 of the first, Arnold seeming reluctant at first to throw any punches. Once Halabi removed his own helmet, however, Arnold began to fight.
Darcy Murphy opened the scoring at 12:25 of the first with help from Shawn Bates and Phil Brewer. Just under six minutes later, Noreau added to Tulsa’s lead with an one-timer in front of the crease. Dennis Brown and Clark assisted on Noreau’s power play goal.
Chris Francis put the Mallards on the board with 17.3 seconds left in the first period, taking a pass from Michael Parks. Parks was behind the goal line to the left of Tulsa netminder, Jamie Phillips, having streaked into Tulsa’s zone and around the net. Nolan LaPorte earned his first assist of the night on that goal.
Pavel Jenys scored unassisted through the five-hole just over seven minutes into the second period. The Mallards then appeared to have trouble seeing the puck as several different players just whiffing on passes or missed receiving passes by just a hair’s breadth. A few times, these bobbles led to scoring chances by the Oilers.
Just under three minutes later, Alex Gudbranson gave the Mallards their first lead of the night with a shot from the high slot. LaPorte and Parks were credited with the assists. Originally, Brassart was given the goal after deflecting Gudbranson’s shot, however, the score sheet was updated post-game. Parks scored the game-winning goal on the power play with just under three minutes left before the second intermission. LaPorte and Gudbranson returned to the score sheet with the assists.
Hostilities continued through the game, Sam Warning and Murphy dropping the gloves towards the end of the second period. Warning earned the take-down along the boards behind Mallards goaltender, Adam Vay, though no punches were thrown. Since there was no punching, the bout was technically not a fight, but both players received double minor penalties for roughing instead.
56 seconds later, Nevins engaged in his second fisticuffs exchange of the night, this time sparring with Halabi. Just over a minute into the final frame, Mike Monfredo and Clark dropped the gloves after Clark took exception to Monfredo’s hit on him.
Bates answered Parks’ goal with his own at three and a quarter minutes of the final period, Lalancette and Chris Joyaux earning assists. Ten minutes later, a kerfuffle with Clark at the center broke out. Clark was whistled for an elbow, then began jawing with Mallards players. Several players wanted to fight him, but the officials prevented any more fights. While Clark tried to get to a Mallard player to fight, he shoved a linesman. After sitting in the penalty box for a few seconds while the officials conferred, Clark was then ejected from the game with a ten minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. On his way to the exit, Clark yelled almost the entire way at Monfredo who was talking with the officials.
The Mallards return from the holiday break on Wednesday December 28 at 6:35pm CST against the Indy Fuel.