Mallards Game Day
QUAD CITY MALLARDS VS. FORT WAYNE KOMETS
CENTRAL DIVISION SEMIFINALS, GAME FOUR
FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 7:05 CT
FORT WAYNE LEADS SERIES 3-0
Game One: Fort Wayne 4 Quad City 3
Game Two: Fort Wayne 3 Quad City 1
Game Three: Fort Wayne 4 Quad City 3 (OT)
Game Four: Friday, April 21 @ Quad City, 7:05 p.m.
Game Five: Saturday, April 22 @ Quad City, 7:05 p.m.*
Game Six: Monday, April 24 @ Fort Wayne, 6:30 p.m.*
Game Seven: Wednesday, April 26 @ Fort Wayne, 6:30 p.m.*
*- if necessary
GAME ONE: FRIDAY, APRIL 14
Gabriel Desjardins- who also had an assist- broke a 3-3 third period tie and the host Komets went on to defeat the Mallards 4-3. The Komets came from behind after the Mallards- propelled by a goal and an assist apiece from Alex Petan and Grant Arnold- twice built two-goal leads.
GAME TWO: SATURDAY, APRIL 15
Mike Cazzola and Mike Embach provided a goal and an assist apiece as the host Komets defeated the Mallards 3-1.
GAME THREE: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19
Kyle Thomas scored his second goal of the game on the power play just 22 seconds into overtime to give the Komets a 4-3 victory over the host Mallards.
40-28-4, 84 points
3rd place, Central Division
Coach: Phil Axtell
45-19-8, 98 points
2nd place, Central Division
Coach: Gary Graham
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On the Brink
The Mallards must win tonight to avoid elimination and force a fifth game tomorrow night at the iWireless Center.
The Mallards twice battled back to tie game three before falling in overtime. Sam Warning evened the score at two in the second period. After Thomas' first goal put the Komets back on top later in the second, Alex Petan dramatically knotted the contest at three at 12:40 of the third period.
The Mallards are now 19-12 all-time in playoff overtime. They have gone 0-2 in postseason sudden death since entering the ECHL in 2014. The Mallards Wednesday went to overtime in the playoffs for the first time since they were defeated by the Rapid City Rush 2-1 in the extra period on April 22, 2015 in game three of the Central Division semifinals.
The Mallards tonight bid to avoid being swept in the opening round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Missouri Mavericks defeated the Mallards four games to none in round one last year.
This is the fifth time in team history the Mallards have lost the first three games of a best-of-seven playoff series. The Mallards have been swept twice- by the Mavericks last year and by the Flint Generals in the 2000 United Hockey League finals. On the two other occasions the Mallards found themselves down 3-0- in round one of the 2008 UHL playoffs against the Rockford IceHogs and in the opening round of the 2013 Central Hockey League playoffs against the Fort Worth Brahmas- they rebounded to win game four before falling in game five.
The Mallards have dropped six straight games (regular season and playoffs combined). The Mallards suffered losses in their final three regular season games after clinching a third-place finish in the Central Division on April 1.
The Mallards' last five defeats (regular season and playoffs combined) have come at the hands of the Komets, who swept a season-closing home-and-home from the Mallards April 7 and April 8.
Petan has now recorded four points (two goals and two assists) in three playoff games after missing the Mallards' final three regular season games due to a lower body injury. Petan has recorded eight points (three goals and five assists) in the last six games in which he has played (regular season and playoffs combined). He leads the Mallards in playoff goals and is tied with Josh MacDonald for the team lead in postseason points.
Brady Brassart assisted on all three Mallard goals in game three. Brassart is the first Mallard to collect three points in a playoff game since Matt Carey scored twice and added an assist in the Mallards' postseason-opening 6-3 loss to the Mavericks on April 16, 2016. He is the first Mallard to notch three assists in a postseason game since Vladimir Nikiforov did so on April 5, 2014 in the Mallards' 3-2 game two overtime win over the Rush in the opening round of the CHL playoffs.
MacDonald Wednesday night picked up two assists for the second time in the series. He also notched a pair of assists in game one last Friday in Fort Wayne. MacDonald leads the Mallards in playoff assists (4).
Michael Parks, who led the Mallards with 29 regular season goals, produced his first point of the playoffs when he scored just one minute and twenty-seven seconds into game three. Warning's game three goal was also his first postseason point. Justin Kovacs, who finished the regular season tied with Chris Francis for the team lead in points (60), recorded his first point of the series by assisting on Warning's goal.
Forward Pavel Jenys and defenseman Andrew Panzarella both played for the first time in the playoffs in game three.
Between the Pipes
C.J. Motte made 31 saves while taking the loss in game three. Motte has started each of the first three games of the series.
The Mallards outshot the Komets 36-35 in game three after being outshot 74-31 over the first two games of the series.
Including the final two games of the regular season, tonight's game is the sixth in a row between the Mallards and Komets. The Mallards and Komets this evening also meet for the sixteenth time overall between the regular season and postseason.
The Mallards' game three defeat was their ninth straight playoff loss. The Mallards last won a postseason game on April 25, 2015 when they shut out the Rush 4-0 in game five of the opening round. Rapid City would go on to win games six and seven and take that series four games to three before the Mavericks won each of their four first round meetings with the Mallards last year.
This series is the fourth all-time playoff meeting between the Mallards and Komets and the first in 14 years. The two clubs last met in the postseason when the Komets defeated the Mallards four games to one in the 2003 UHL Colonial Cup finals. The Mallards took back-to-back UHL semifinal series from Fort Wayne in 2000 and 2001. The Mallards swept the Komets in three games in 2001 after winning the first ever postseason match-up between the clubs four games to one the prior year.
The Mallards have qualified for the playoffs for the third time in as many seasons since entering the ECHL, for the fifth year in a row including their final two CHL campaigns and for the sixth time in the last seven years.
The Mallards are in pursuit of their first ECHL playoff series victory after opening round elimination the last two years at the hands of first Rapid City and then Missouri.
The Mallards last won a playoff series when they defeated the Rush in seven games in round one of the 2014 CHL postseason.
The Mallards have lost 11 of their last 12 playoff series. Their opening round conquest of the Rush in 2014 is the Mallards' only postseason series win since defeating the Muskegon Fury in six games in the 2003 UHL semifinals.
On the Road Again
This match-up is the tenth straight playoff series in which the Mallards' foes have enjoyed home-ice advantage. The Mallards last had home-ice advantage in the best-of-five opening round of the 2003-04 UHL postseason- a series in which they were swept by Muskegon.
The Mallards during the regular season won 40 games for the first time since they went 41-27-8 in the UHL in 2005-06.
The Mallards during the regular season totaled 84 points, the most since they had 85 in the UHL in 2006-07.
The Mallards finished the regular season 12 games over .500, the most since they finished 14 games over break-even in 2005-06.
The Mallards went 21-12-2 in 35 regular season games after Phil Axtell took over as head coach on January 20.
Home and Away
The Mallards during the regular season won 20 games at home (20-12-4) and on the road (20-16-0).
Red Light District
The Mallards finished the regular season eleventh in the ECHL in goals against (220, 3.1 per game) and sixteenth in goals scored (232, 3.2 per game).
Parks and Wreck
Parks' 29 regular season goals were the most by a Mallard since Mickey Lang scored 41 times in 2012-13 in the CHL. Parks finished third among ECHL rookies in goals and fifth in points (56).
Kovacs and Francis finished the regular season tied for the team lead in points after Kovacs had 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in his final nine regular season games and 24 points (eight goals and 16 assists) in his final 16 games and Francis notched 15 points (six goals and nine assists) in his last 14 regular season games.
On the Plus Side
Kevin Gibson finished the regular season tied for fourth in the ECHL in plus/minus rating (plus-32).
Motte and Adam Vay both finished the regular season with 20 goaltending wins. Motte finished tied for third in the ECHL in save percentage (.917) and tied for eighth in goals against average (2.68). Vay was tied for sixth in shutouts (3).
Thomas scored the winning goal Wednesday on the Komets' only power play of the night. The Komets have gone 3-for-9 on the man advantage in the series while the Mallards, who were 0-for-3 in game three, have gone 1-for-9. The Mallards finished the regular season eighth in the ECHL in penalty killing (83.5 percent) and twenty-sixth on the man advantage (12.4 percent).
The Mallards went 4-8-0 against Fort Wayne during the regular season: 2-4-0 at home and 2-4-0 on the road. All-time, the Mallards have gone 54-57-11 against Fort Wayne during the regular season.
Ins and Outs
Forward Adam Gilmour, who missed the first three games of the playoffs after also missing the Mallards' final three regular season games, finished the regular season on 21-day injured reserve retroactive to April 2 (upper body injury).
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