By: Mallards Communications Staff
Photo: Blake Sebring/News-Sentinel

Gabriel Desjardins broke a 3-3 third period tie and the host Fort Wayne Komets went on to defeat the Quad City Mallards 4-3 in game one of the best-of-seven Central Division semifinals Friday night.

Desjardins- who also had an assist- capped off the Komets' comeback from a 3-1 defict from the side of the net at 12:57 of the third. The Fort Wayne rally started when Travis Ewanyk's tip-in reduced the Mallard lead to 3-2 at 13:22 of the second period. Just two minutes and two seconds later, Shawn Szydlowski's power play blast from the top of the right wing circle evened the score.

The Mallards fell after twice building two-goal leads. The Mallards opened the scoring when Alex Petan roofed a loose puck from the doorstep at 10:48 of the first period. Grant Arnold- who assisted on Petan's goal- doubled the Mallard lead by burying Petan's feed from the slot at 16:50. The Komets' Mike Cazzola cut the gap to 2-1 from point blank range with just 17 seconds left in the first period. At 2:35 of the second period, Dylan Labbe pushed the Mallard lead back out to a pair from the left wing circle, but the Komets would answer with three straight goals.

C.J. Motte suffered the loss despite making 33 saves for the Mallards, who were outshot 37-13.

The Mallards face the Komets in game two at Allen Country War Memorial Coliseum tomorrow evening before returning home for game three next Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. and game four next Friday at 7:05 p.m. If a fifth game is necessary, it will be played next Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at the iWireless Center. Should a sixth game be required, the series will shift back to Fort Wayne on Monday, April 24. If the series goes to a seventh game, the Komets would host the deciding contest on Wednesday, April 26.

Tickets to Mallards home playoff games are now on sale at the iWireless Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, 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.

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