Mallards Game Day
MALLARDS GAME DAY
QUAD CITY MALLARDS VS. WICHITA THUNDER
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 4:05 CT
37-24-4, 78 points
3rd place, Central Division
Coach: Phil Axtell
18-40-5, 41 points
7th place, Central Division
Coach: Malcolm Cameron
LISTEN: Fox Sports Radio 1230
Mike Wilson scored with five seconds left in overtime to give the host Mallards a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets Friday night.
The third-place Mallards are two points ahead of the fourth-place Kalamazoo Wings in the Central Division standings. The Mallards have two games in hand on Kalamazoo. The Mallards are eight points behind the second-place Komets, who have a game in hand on the Mallards.
The Mallards have clinched a playoff berth for the third time in as many seasons since entering the ECHL, for the fifth year in a row including their final two Central Hockey League campaigns and for the sixth time in the last seven years.
The Mallards have won back-to-back games. A 5-2 victory Wednesday in Wichita preceded Friday's win.
The Mallards have won four of their last five games, have suffered just one regulation loss in their last six (4-1-1) and have gone 7-2-2 in their last 11.
The Mallards Friday reached 37 wins with seven regular season games remaining after finishing each of their prior two 72-game ECHL seasons with a total of 37 wins. The Mallards last won more than 37 games in a season when they finished the 76-game 2005-06 United Hockey League campaign with 41 victories. The Mallards have more wins after 65 games than they have posted in any season since they went 40-19-6 over their first 65 games in 2003-04 in the UHL. The Mallards would go on to finish that 76-game slate 50-20-6- the franchise's seventh 50-win season in eight years.
Friday's win lifted the Mallards to 13 games over .500 for the first time since February 15, 2014 when a 4-3 CHL shootout victory over the Rapid City Rush left them with a record of 24-11-8.
Friday's victory raised the Mallards' winning percentage to .600. The Mallards last finished a season with a winning percentage of .600 or better in 2003-04 when they ended the campaign at .697.
The Mallards have gone 18-8-2 in 28 games since Phil Axtell took over as head coach on January 20.
With Friday's win the Mallards improved to 4-2 in games decided in overtime.
Wilson's goal at 4:55 of sudden death Friday was the Mallards' latest regular season overtime goal since the franchise returned to the ice after a two-year hiatus in 2009.
The Mallards came from behind to tie Friday's game three times. Guillaume Gelinas forced overtime by evening the score at three with three minutes and 13 seconds left in the third period after first Justin Kovacs and then Adam Gilmour deadlocked the contest in the second period. Friday marked the first time the Mallards have erased three deficits in one game since October 17, 2015 when they fell behind the Thunder in Wichita 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3 but battled back to tie the score on each occasion before eventually falling in a shootout 5-4. Before Friday, the Mallards had last won after trailing three times when they overcame 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 Denver advantages en route to a 5-3 CHL victory over the Cutthroats on January 4, 2013 at the iWireless Center.
Red Light District
The Mallards have scored 21 goals over their last four games. They are tied for fourteenth in the ECHL in goal-scoring (3.3 per game) and rank eighth in goals against (3.0).
Home Sweet Home
The Mallards have established a team season best by going unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) in their last seven home games. The Mallards have eclipsed the five-game home regulation unbeaten streak they put together by winning five straight games on home ice between January 20 and February 12. The Mallards last fell in regulation at the iWireless Center when they were beaten 4-2 by Kalamazoo on February 24. The Mallards' current run is their longest such streak since they went 10-0-1 over 11 home games between October 24 and November 29, 2015.
On the Road
The Mallards have three road games remaining. The Mallards visit Wichita Tuesday, travel to Indianapolis to meet the Indy Fuel on April 4 and close out the regular season in Fort Wayne on April 8.
The Mallards have gone 21-9-4 in one-goal games this season and lead the ECHL in one-goal victories.
Kovacs Friday scored the first Mallard goal and assisted on the second. Kovacs, who missed Wednesday's win in Wichita, has piled up eight points (three goals and five assists) in just his last three games by notching at least one goal and one assist in each of those three contests. He has also collected points in four straight games (3-6-9), produced 12 points in his last six games (four goals and eight assists) and hauled in 19 points in his last ten games (five goals and 14 assists). Friday night also saw Kovacs take over sole possession of the Mallard lead in points (55).
Gelinas has scored four goals- and totaled six points- in just his last four games after scoring five times in his prior 50 games. He now leads Mallard defensemen in both goals (9) and points (28). Gelinas has also set a new ECHL career high for points by eclipsing the 27 he recorded last year in his first season in the league.
Brady Brassart picked up an assist Friday and has now recorded 12 points (four goals and eight assists) in his last 11 games.
With an assist Friday, Sam Warning now has six points (four goals and two assists) in his last four games.
Friday's dramatic game winner was Wilson's first Mallard goal (in his twenty-ninth game with the club) and his first goal in just over a year since he scored for the Belfast Giants in a 5-2 Elite Ice Hockey League victory over the Cardiff Devils on March 16, 2016. Friday's goal was Wilson's first in North America since April 8, 2015 when he scored for Wichita in a 4-2 loss to the Tulsa Oilers.
Parks and Wreck
Michael Parks leads the Mallards in goals (26) and ranks fourth among ECHL rookies. Parks also ranks fifth among rookies in points (51).
On the Plus Side
Kevin Gibson ranks fourth in the ECHL in plus/minus rating (plus-32). Wilson has posted a plus-14 over his last eight games.
Alex Petan Friday returned to the Mallard lineup for the first time since February 12, when he picked up an assist in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Elmira Jackals. Petan rejoined the Mallard roster Monday after being released from the professional tryout agreement he signed with the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters on February 14. The rookie had two goals and four assists in 14 games with Cleveland and has totaled three goals and five assists in 19 games over three AHL stints this season with the Monsters and Iowa Wild.
Between the Pipes
C.J. Motte made 30 saves on the way to the win Friday. Motte has won back-to-back games and started three straight. He is unbeaten in regulation- 4-0-2- in his last six decisions over seven games and has suffered just one regulation loss in his last 12 games, a run during which he has gone 8-1-2. Motte is tied for fifth in the ECHL in save percentage (.915), ranks ninth in goals against average (2.69) and is tied for ninth in wins (19). Adam Vay is tied for sixth in shutouts (3).
Guillaume Gelinas has played 97 career ECHL games...Andrew Panzarella has played 94 career games and 92 ECHL games...Chris Francis has 291 career points.
The Mallards have killed off their foes' last 11 power plays. The Mallards rank thirteenth in the ECHL in penalty killing (82.5 percent) and twenty-sixth on the power play (12.7 percent).
Today's game is the third of four between the Mallards and Thunder this season and the second of three in seven days between the two clubs. The Mallards and Thunder will conclude their season series Tuesday in Wichita. The Mallards defeated the Thunder 6-4 on February 26 at the iWireless Center before winning again Wednesday at INTRUST Bank Arena. The Mallards have gone 19-18-3 all-time against Wichita and have gone 9-8-2 against the Thunder on home ice.
Ins and Outs
Forward Shane Sooth was placed on the Mallards' suspended list Friday...Forward Alex Petan returned to the Mallards Monday after being released from a professional tryout agreement by Cleveland (AHL)...Forward Adam Gilmour was reassigned to the Mallards by Iowa (AHL) Monday...Forward Pavel Jenys has missed the Mallards' last 20 games (upper body injury).
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