March 19, 2017 - ECHL (ECHL) - Quad City Mallards
MOLINE, Ill. - The host Indy Fuel (18-39-6) hung on for an 8-7 victory today after barely surviving an epic bid by the Quad City Mallards (35-24-4) to rally from a 6-0 deficit in a game that saw both the Fuel's Kenny Ryan and the Mallards' Sam Warning score hat tricks .
While the Mallards missed out on an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth by falling to Fuel, they may still wrap up a postseason spot before the evening is through if the Tulsa Oilers lose their game to the Toledo Walleye.
After giving up six first period goals and then halving the Fuel lead by scoring three times in the second period, the Mallards nearly made it all the way back in the third period. Gelinas- who also had an assist- cut the Fuel lead to 6-4 by scoring his second goal from the top of the left wing circle at 4:07 of the third. Mallard momentum was slowed when Nick Bligh's tip-in gave Indy a 7-4 advantage at 6:44 of the final frame, but Warning would complete his hat trick just 51 seconds later with a backhander from the right wing circle. The Mallards' Chase Lang then jammed in a rebound to- remarkably- reduce the deficit to 7-6 at 13:26 of the third. The Mallards pulled goaltender Adam Vay and went up 6-on-5 in pursuit of a tying goal with just under two minutes remaining only for Ryan to pump his third goal and the Fuel's eighth into the empty net at 18:25. Undaunted, after emptying their net again, the Mallards would once more pull within one when Justin Kovacs- who also collected two assists- swept a loose puck in from the crowded Indy slot with just 18.3 seconds left. The Mallards then poured into the offensive zone in pursuit of a last-gasp equalizer by could not quite produce a telling chance before the horn.
The Mallard recovery started when Gelinas got the Flock on the scoreboard for the first time by driving the puck home under the cross bar from the left point at 1:04 of the second period. Warning converted a cross-ice pass from Kovacs at 9:55 of the second and struck again on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush to narrow the gap to 6-3 at 14:38.
Matt Rupert and Jake Marchment kick-started the Fuel's first period onslaught with goals just 24 seconds apart. Rupert gave Indy a 1-0 lead by pouncing on a loose puck in the left wing circle at 4:30 of the first. Marchment scored the second Fuel goal from close range at 4:54. Josh Shalla walked in alone to stretch the gap to 3-0 at 7:27. After Paul Zannette scored from the doorstep at 9:16, Vay replaced Mallard starting netminder C.J. Motte. Ryan scored the fifth and sixth Indy goals in a span of 32 seconds late in the first. He buried wrist shots from the left wing circle at 18:31 and 19:03.
The Mallards return to action on the road Wednesday night against the Wichita Thunder. The Mallards next play at home Friday night at 7:05 p.m. against the Fort Wayne Komets. Friday also brings the return of $2 Dog/$2 Beer Night presented by 97X. Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and beers from iWireless Center concession stands during every Friday Mallards home game. In addition, t he Mallards have once again this season partnered with Metro to provide transit service between Augustana College and downtown Moline during all Friday home games. As part of Metro's unlimited ride program, Augustana riders can use their Augustana ID as their fare.
Single game tickets for all Mallards regular season home games- including Friday night's game- are on sale now at the iWireless Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com and Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000. The box office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.