Photo: Sean Flynn Photography
Wednesday, October 18, 6:35 p.m.
TaxSlayer Center, Moline
Tulsa Oilers vs. Quad City Mallards
Saturday, October 21, 6:15 p.m.
Huntington Center, Toledo
Quad City Mallards vs. Toledo Walleye
1-1-0, 2 points
tied 1st place, Central Division
Coach: Phil Axtell
0-2-0, 2 points
tied 5th place, Mountain Division
Coach: Rob Murray
1-1-0, 2 points
tied 1st place, Central Division
Coach: Dan Watson
Friday, October 13
Toledo 3 Quad City 2
A.J. Jenks broke a 2-2 tie late in the second period and the Toledo Walleye went on to claim a 3-2 victory over the host Mallards.
Saturday, October 14
Quad City 5 Tulsa 4
The Mallards' Josh MacDonald scored the game winning goal in the third period just 23 seconds after teammate Matt Pohlkamp tied the score as the host Mallards defeated the Tulsa Oilers 5-4.
The Mallards rebounded from Friday’s opening night loss to Toledo by rallying past Tulsa Saturday. The Mallards have now split their first two games six of the last seven years.
The Mallards this week take on the same two foes they met over opening weekend. Wednesday the Mallards will gun for a sweep of their two-game series with Tulsa. Saturday evening in Toledo they will bid to avenge their season-opening loss to the Walleye.
Friday’s loss left the Mallards 10-10-1 all-time in season openers. The Mallards have dropped back-to-back openers. They fell 6-2 to the Fort Wayne Komets at home on opening night last year. The Mallards last won a curtain-raiser when they began the 2015-16 season by defeating the Americans 2-1 in Allen.
The Mallards have now suffered regulation defeats in each of their nine home openers since the team returned to the ice in 2009 following the two-year interregnum during which the Quad City Flames competed in the AHL. The Mallards are also winless (0-9-1) in their last ten home openers. The Flock last started its home slate with a win on October 21, 2021 while in the United Hockey League when it downed the Motor City Mechanics 4-3 in a shootout.
The Mallards came from behind to- at least- tie the score four times in their first two games. They erased a 2-0 opening night deficit before eventually falling to Toledo. The following evening, they overcame 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 Tulsa leads on the way to victory.
The Mallards fell behind early in each of their first two outings. They found themselves in a two-goal hole just two minutes and 24 seconds into Friday’s game after Toledo scored twice in 29 seconds. Tulsa drew first blood only three minutes and 19 seconds into Saturday’s contest.
After allowing two goals in less than half a minute Friday, the Mallards struck twice in even quicker succession themselves the following evening. By producing decisive third period goals from Pohlkamp and MacDonald 23 seconds apart Saturday, the Mallards came within one second of matching the shortest span between two of their goals all of last year in just the second game of this season.
The Mallards kicked off the campaign with a pair of one goal games after exactly half of their 72 games were decided by a single goal last season. Only the Missouri Mavericks (37) played more one goal games than the Mallards last year. The Mallards went 22-10-4 in such contests and led the ECHL in one-goal wins.
Home Sweet Home
The Mallards Wednesday wrap up a season-opening three-game homestand. They will go on to play six of their first seven games at home.
On the Road
The Mallards this Saturday in Toledo play their first away game of the season. The Mallards last season went 20-16-0 on the road.
Mike Leone last Wednesday retired to become a Mallards assistant coach after skating in the team’s training camp. He joins head coach Phil Axtell and player/assistant coach Jamie Tardif on the Mallards’ staff.
The Mallards have named three assistant captains. Tardif, Garrett Klotz and Alexander Kuqali wear the “A”’s while no player dons the captain’s “C”.
Here We Go Again
The Mallards top three returning points scorers- Justin Kovacs (who tied for the team lead with 60 points last season), Sam Warning (54) and MacDonald (52)- were once again key sources of offense over opening weekend. All three recorded points in each of the Mallards’ first two games. Warning scored in each of the first two games while Kovacs and MacDonald picked up an assist apiece on Friday and scored a goal each on Saturday.
Warning scored the Mallards’ first goal of the season at 16:20 of the first period Friday. By following up with a shorthanded goal Saturday, he joined Logan Nelson- who did so in the first two games of the 2015-16 campaign- as the second Mallard to score in each of the first two games of an ECHL season.
On Wednesday, rookie Keegan Kolesar was reassigned to the Mallards from the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves by the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights. Friday, he made his Mallard debut. Saturday, he scored his first career goal, added his first two career assists and was named first star of the game.
Mallards rookie goaltender Ivan Kulbakov also enjoyed a milestone evening Saturday. Kulbakov earned the win in his professional debut by stopping 27 Oiler shots.
Tristan King scored in his Mallard debut Friday after being acquired in a September trade with the Orlando Solar Bears. King added an assist Saturday and is thus one of four Mallards who have recorded points in each of the first two games of the season.
Pohlkamp scored in what was his Mallard debut Saturday. He provided the third period equalizer against Tulsa after sitting out Friday’s opener.
Tardif and Jacob Graves picked up assists while making their Mallard debuts Friday. Brayden Low- who had two assists- and Greg Amlong- who notched one assist- recorded their first points for the Mallards Saturday.
Kovacs has 96 career points… King has 93 career goals…Klotz has 963 career penalty minutes
Remain Calm! All is Well!
After allowing goals on the first two Toledo shots Friday, C.J. Motte rebounded to stop 30 of the final 31 Walleye bids. There would seem to be little reason for Motte to be discouraged by Friday’s defeat. In his first (ever) Mallard start last year Motte also suffered a 3-2 setback. After that October 15 away loss to the Fort Wayne Komets in the Mallards’ second game of the campaign, Motte shined the rest of the way. He went on to finish the season tied for sixth in the ECHL in save percentage (.917) and tied for eighth in goals against average (2.68) while posting a 20-11-2 record in 36 games.
The Mallards went 0-for-8 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill over their first two games.
The Mallards both scored and allowed a shorthanded goal Saturday. Warning’s shorthanded goal was the third of his career. He has now scored shorthanded once in each of his first three seasons.
All Good Things…
The power play goal scored by Tulsa’s Adam Pleskach at 17:12 of the second period Saturday ended a run that- combining the end of last season with the start of this one- had seen the Mallards successfully complete 18 consecutive regular season penalty kills and go the equivalent of better than eight full games (483 minutes and 32 seconds) across parts of two campaigns without allowing a regular season power play goal. Pleskach’s strike was the first conceded by the Mallards while shorthanded during a regular season game since March 26, when the Wichita Thunder’s Jeremy Beaudry scored at 16:22 of the second period of what proved to be a 2-1 Mallard overtime win.
Head to Head
Saturday’s game was the first of six this season between the Mallards and Oilers. The Mallards have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams over parts of three seasons. Wednesday’s game will be the sixth straight Mallards-Oilers match-up to be played in Moline. That run will stretch to seven consecutive head-to-head meetings in the Quad Cities when the Oilers visit the TaxSlayer Center again on November 17. The Mallards will finally return to Tulsa when they play three games in three nights at the BOK Center beginning March 23. Those March match-ups will mark the Mallards’ first appearance in Tulsa in better than two years since they defeated the Oilers 4-3 in overtime on February 13, 2016. All-time, the Mallards have gone 18-14-0 against Tulsa overall and 13-7-0 at home…The opener was the first of seven games between the Mallards and Walleye this season. The Mallards have gone 1-2-1 all-time against Toledo and are 0-1-1 at the Huntington Center.
Ins and Outs
Forward Keegan Kolesar was reassigned to the Mallards from Chicago (AHL) by Vegas (NHL) Wednesday…Forwards Chris Francis and Stathis Soumelidis, defensemen Mike Leone and Kristaps Bazevics and goaltender Kris Joyce were released by the Mallards Wednesday. Leone then retired to become a Mallards assistant coach…Defenseman Jacob Graves was assigned to the Mallards from Cleveland (AHL) by Columbus (NHL) Tuesday…Goaltender Ivan Kulbakov was loaned to the Mallards by Cleveland (AHL) Tuesday… Defenseman Kevin Patterson and goaltender Kent Patterson were released by the Mallards last Monday.
UPCOMING HOME GAMES
Wednesday, October 18, 6:35 p.m.- Mallards vs. Tulsa Oilers
Again this season, Wednesday night home games will face off at the early start time of 6:35 p.m.
Fans can enjoy $1 beers (10-ounce cup) from TaxSlayer Center concession stands during every Wednesday home game this season.
ON THE AIR
Fox Sports Radio 1230 is the radio home of Mallards Hockey Presented by Genesis Orthopedic Hospital. Mallards games broadcast on AM 1230 also stream live online at www.wfxn.net. A limited number of Mallards games- including Saturday night’s game against Toledo- will not air on Fox Sports Radio 1230 due to conflicts with University of Illinois basketball and football and Green Bay Packer football. ECHL-TV pay-per-view video webcasts and free audio webcasts of all Mallards games are also available at myqcmallards.net.
The Mallards’ official mobile app is now available free for both Apple and Android. The app features a wide array of exclusive content, including behind the scenes video, breaking news and scoring alerts, interviews and video messages from Mallards players, instant access to live scores, stats and standings and special offers from the team and from Mallards partners.
Single Game Tickets
Single game tickets for all Mallards regular season contests are now available. Fans can contact the Mallards at (309) 277-1364 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about tickets. Single game tickets are also available at the TaxSlayer Center box office, at Ticketmaster outlets, through www.ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free. The box office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period.
Groups of ten or more receive savings off the walk-up price and a host of group benefits. Mallards group tickets are a great fit for youth organizations, friends, co-workers, family groups, religious groups, school functions and business events. For more group ticket information, fans can contact the Mallards at (309) 277-1364 or email@example.com.