Photo: Sean Flynn Photography/Quad City Mallards
Justin Vaive ripped off a first period hat trick and the Cincinnati Cyclones (16-9-1)- who would later strike for a pair of shorthanded goals- staved off the host Quad City Mallards' (8-16-2) comeback bid on the way to a 7-4 victory Friday night.
The Cyclones were on a two man advantage when Vaive pounced on a rebound to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead at 4:48 of the opening period. Just 14 seconds later, with the the Cyclones up 5-on-4, Winston Day Chief scored Cincinnati's second by burying Daniel Muzito-Bagenda's centering pass.
The Mallards briefly trimmed the gap to 2-1 when Josh MacDonald finished off a 2-on-1 rush at 11:02 of the first but Vaive quickly replied by completing his hat trick with two goals in 26 seconds- the first just 27 seconds after MacDonald scored. Vaive reestablished the two goal Cyclone lead at 11:29 with a one-timer. At 11:55 he completed his hat trick from the slot. Matt O'Connor replaced Mallard starting goaltender Eric Hartzell after that goal.
Rob DeFulviis' shorthanded breakaway goal stretched the lead to 5-1 just 22 seconds into the second period but the Mallards then picked themselves up to score three straight goals and pull back within one. MacDonald fired in a rebound at 12:03 of the second to start the Mallard revival with his second goal of the night. Chris Francis' close range goal reduced the deficit to 5-3 at 3:31 of the third period. It was during a Mallard power play that a Kenney Morrison blue line blast made it 5-4 at 9:19 of the third, but for a second time the Cyclones would restore their two-goal cushion less than a minute after the Mallards closed within one. Cincinnati was again shorthanded when Justin Danforth raced in toward the Mallard net off the left wing to score the vital insurance goal at 10:14. Jesse Schultz- who also had two assists- capped off the Cyclone win by converting Shawn O'Donnell's centering feed at the 16:04 mark.
The Mallards return to action on the road tomorrow night against the Fort Wayne Komets. The Mallards next play at home next Friday night at 7:05 p.m. against the Cyclones. Next Friday also brings the return of $2 Dog/$2 Beer Night presented by 97X. Fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and beers from TaxSlayer Center concession stands during every Friday home game. In addition, the Mallards have partnered with Metro to provide transit service between Augustana College and downtown Moline during all Friday home games. As part of Metro's unlimited ride program, Augustana riders can use their Augustana ID as their fare.
Tickets for next Friday night's contest 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.