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Kulbakov, O'Connor Return to Mallards; Paterson Heads to AHL

January 24, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Quad City Mallards News Release

MOLINE, Ill. (January 23, 2018) - Goaltender Ivan Kulbakov has been loaned to the Quad City Mallards by the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters and goaltender Matt O'Connor has been reassigned to the Mallards from the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals by the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators while goaltender Jake Paterson has been recalled from the Mallards by Milwaukee, the Mallards announced today.

Kulbakov, a 21-year old rookie, went 0-4-0 with a 4.02 goals against average and a .868 save percentage in six games with the Monsters after being recalled on December 6. The 6-foot, 182-pound native of Gomel, Belarus began the season in Cleveland before being loaned to the Mallards on October 10. He did not see any game action during his initial AHL stint.

Kulbakov has gone 7-6-0 with a 3.36 goals against average and a .908 save percentage in 14 games with the Mallards this season. Kulbakov, who made 11 straight starts for the Mallards between October 21 and November 18, set a team record for saves in an ECHL game by stopping 57 shots on October 27 in a 3-2 shootout win over the Idaho Steelheads.

Kulbakov shined in the junior ranks for the United States Hockey League's Youngstown Phantoms last season. Kulbakov led the USHL in minutes played (3050), finished tied for the league lead in shutouts (5), finished second in goals against average (1.93), finished tied for second in wins by going 30-16-5 and finished tied for fifth in save percentage (.919).

Last season was Kulbakov's first in North America. He played in his homeland for HK Gomel and Team Belarus U20 between 2012 and 2016. He also represented Belarus at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

O'Connor, 25, joins the Mallards for the second time in eight days and the third time in just over a month. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has gone 0-2-0 with a 3.58 goals against average and a .891 save percentage in two games with Milwaukee this season. O'Connor went 0-4-2 with a 5.12 goals against average and a .853 save percentage in six games after being reassigned to the Mallards from Milwaukee by Nashville on December 20. O'Connor has gone 0-8-2 with a 4.51 goals against average and a .869 save percentage in ten total ECHL games this season with the Mallards and Atlanta Gladiators.

O'Connor played one NHL game for the Ottawa Senators as a rookie in 2015-16. He made 34 saves on October 11, 2015 in a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadians.

O'Connor has spent most of his career in the AHL. He has posted a 3.28 goals against average and a .895 save percentage while going 24-40-5 in 73 career AHL games.

Last season O'Connor went 14-18-1 while turning in a 3.23 goals against average and a .895 save percentage in 37 AHL games with the Binghamton Senators. O'Connor last year also got his first taste of ECHL action in two games with the Wichita Thunder.

O'Connor turned pro after three seasons at Boston University. He capped off his collegiate career by backstopping B.U. to a berth in the 2015 NCAA title game after helping the Terriers to the Hockey East regular season and tournament championships. O'Connor was named to the 2014-15 Hockey East Second All-Star Team and All-Tournament Team. He finished that campaign third in the nation in wins by going 25-4-4 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .918 save percentage in 35 games. In total, O'Connor went 40-21-10 with a 2.44 goals against average and a .921 save percentage in 76 career collegiate games.

O'Connor arrived at B.U. after four seasons of junior hockey. He spent two years in the Ontario Junior Hockey League with the Upper Canada Hockey Club/Patriots and Burlington Cougars before moving on to the United States Hockey League for two seasons with the Youngstown Phantoms.

Paterson, 23, made four straight starts after first joining the Mallards on January 12. The 6-foot-1, 183-pound Mississauga, Ontario native has gone 1-2-1 for the Mallards with a 5.31 goals against average and a .854 save percentage. Paterson has played one game for Milwaukee this season. He made 34 saves and allowed three goals while suffering a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Wolves on December 17. Patterson, who went 1-4-0 with a 4.64 goals against average and a .891 save percentage in five games with the Norfolk Admirals earlier this season, has gone 2-6-1 with a 4.94 goals against average and a .876 save percentage in nine total ECHL games between Quad City and Norfolk.

Paterson last year was named to the All-ECHL Second Team after helping the Toledo Walleye to the Brabham Cup regular season title. Paterson led the league in wins by going 34-13-1 in 49 games, tied for the league lead in shutouts (7), finished second in minutes played (2919), finished third in goals against average (2.28), and finished tied for fourth in save percentage (.918).

Paterson, who was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft with the eightieth overall choice, got his first taste of AHL action when he played two games with the Grand Rapids Griffins as a rookie in 2015-16. He spent the bulk of that campaign with the Walleye, whom he helped to the North Division title. Paterson broke into pro hockey when he played two games for Toledo late in the 2014-15 season.

Paterson turned pro after tending goal for four full seasons and part of a fifth in the OHL. Paterson spent the majority of his major junior career with the Saginaw Spirit before being traded to the Kitchener Rangers midway through the 2014-15 campaign.

The Mallards return to action tomorrow night on the road against the Brampton Beast. The Mallards next play at home on Wednesday, January 31 at 6:35 p.m. against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Fans can enjoy $1 10-ounce beers from TaxSlayer Center concession stands during all Mallards Wednesday home games this season.

Tickets for the January 31 game and all Mallards regular season home games are now on sale at the TaxSlayer Center box office, Ticketmaster toll free charge-by-phone ( 1-800-745-3000 ) and ticketmaster.com . 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.

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