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Gems Fall to Mallards 6-3 on Friday Night

January 13, 2012 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Dayton Gems News Release

Moline, ILL - The Dayton Gems would battle back from an early deficit, but would ultimately fall in the third period to the second place Quad City Mallards 6-3 on Friday night inside the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois. Scoring for the Gems were Greg Labenski, David Nimmo and Brett Lutes.

Entering their first game back after the All Star break, the Gems would face the Mallards evenly to begin the opening period, but a bevy of quick shots on Dayton's starting netminder Larry Sterling would lead to a greasy goal at the 8:25 mark, credited to Quad City's Jared Brown after the puck rolled past Sterling and into the net for the go-ahead point. Feeding off the hometown crowd's enthusiasm, the Mallards would light the lamp again less than two minutes later at 10:07 off a shot from the near wing past a screened Sterling to skate the Mallards into the first intermission leading 2-0. Shots on goal after twenty minutes would also favor the hosts 14-8.

In a reverse of the opening frame, the Gems would battle back to kick off the second stanza and take control of the tempo. Dayton's veteran captain Greg Labenski would lead the charge, blasting a shot past Mallards goalie David McKee to trim the deficit down to one just 5:59 in. Labenski's goal, his second of the season, came as a direct result of the hard work of All Star forward Brett Lutes, who made the setup play in the attacking zone to earn the assist. With the silenced crowd and momentum on their side, the Gems would tie the game off the stick of newly acquired forward David Nimmo at 9:24, deadlocking the game 2-2. Nimmo's goal, his first as a Gem and eighth this season, was scored on the powerplay with Brandon Naurato and Matt Baxter earning helpers. Just as fast as they tied the game however, the Gems would be forced to watch the Mallards score two quick goals, each on defensive lapses in front of Sterling, to end the period with Quad City again two goals ahead of the Gems. Through forty minutes, Quad City held a 4-2 lead on the scoreboard while they led in shots 24-21.

Lutes would waste little time to get his Gems in gear, scoring his tenth goal of the season just 1:09 into the third period off assists from Jon Ornelas and Damian Surma to make it a 4-3 game. Despite the Gems chasing the heels of the Mallards throughout most of the period, this would be as close as the Gems would get, as Sterling would knock in the Mallard's fifth goal of the night off his skate at the 17:25 mark and Quad City would ice in an empty netter from 200 feet away to secure the 6-3 win. Shots on goal in the third period again favored the Gems 11-10, with Quad City slightly outshooting Dayton 34-32 after a full sixty minutes.

With the loss, the Gems record falls to 12-15-7 (31pts), and they are now 2-3-2 this season against the Mallards. Quad City earns their 20th win of the season, improving to 20-12-1.

Both teams will rematch inside the iWireless Center with an 8pm eastern time faceoff on Saturday night.

The Kettering Medical Center is the official presenting sponsor of the Dayton Gems.

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