Photo: Sean Flynn Photography/Quad City Mallards
Wednesday, April 6, 6:30 p.m.
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
Quad City Mallards vs. Fort Wayne Komets
Friday, April 8, 7:05 p.m.
iWireless Center, Moline
Cincinnati Cyclones vs. Quad City Mallards
Saturday, April 9, 7:05 p.m.
iWireless Center, Moline
Cincinnati Cyclones vs. Quad City Mallards
35-28-6, 76 points
3rd place, Midwest Division
Coach: Terry Ruskowski
39-21-9, 87 points
1st place, Midwest Division
Coach: Gary Graham
35-26-9, 79 points
2nd place, Midwest Division
Coach: Matt MacDonald
Tuesday, March 29
Wichita 1 Quad City 0
Wednesday, March 30
Missouri 5 Quad City 2
Friday, April 1
Quad City 5 Tulsa 3
Saturday, April 2
Quad City 4 Indy 2
The Mallards are currently in possession of the eighth and final playoff berth in the ECHL’s Western Conference, five points ahead of the ninth place Tulsa Oilers. The Mallards have three games remaining while the Oilers have four games left. While the eighth seed is the only playoff spot still available to Tulsa, a higher finish is still possible for the Mallards.
The Mallards’ magic number for clinching a playoff berth is three. Any combination of standings points earned by the Mallards or available points the Oilers fail to collect totaling three will see the Mallards lock up a spot in the postseason.
If the Mallards and Oilers finish the regular season in a tie, the Mallards will qualify for the playoffs while Tulsa will be eliminated. The Mallards have already clinched the tiebreaker- most non-shootout wins- with the Oilers. 33 of the Mallards’ 35 wins have come in regulation or overtime while the Oilers have secured just 26 of their 33 victories without benefit of the shootout.
The Mallards seized the initiative in their battle for the playoffs with the Oilers by defeating Tulsa 5-3 last Friday night. With that win, the Mallards opened a five-point lead over the Oilers. The Oilers reduced the margin to three points with a win in Evansville one night later but the Mallards reestablished the five-point gap with yesterday’s 4-2 victory over Indy.
With back-to-back wins last weekend, the Mallards improved to 8-3-0 in their last 11 games. The Mallards’ upswing contrasts sharply with the troubles the Oilers have endured down the stretch. Tulsa has gone just 5-11-0 in 16 outings since defeating Allen 3-2 in a shootout on February 21 to take an eight-point lead over the Mallards. Since then the Mallards have gone 11-6-1 to outpace Tulsa by 13 points.
The Mallards’ regular season-closing two-game series with Cincinnati will provide the Mallards with the opportunity to pass the Cyclones- who are in second place in the Midwest Division and seventh place in the Western Conference- in the standings. The Mallards are three points behind the Cyclones. This weekend’s contests at the iWireless Center are the Cyclones’ only remaining regular season games. After defeating Indy last Thursday, the Cyclones had a seven-point lead over the Mallards. However, back-to-back losses for Cincinnati Friday against Evansville and Saturday against Toledo combined with the Mallards’ victories Friday and Sunday to narrow the gap to three points.
While it is mathematically possible for the Mallards to finish as high as tied for fourth place in the Western Conference, the Mallards cannot secure home ice advantage- which will go to the top four seeds in the conference- for the opening round of the playoffs. The Mallards can do no better than finish even with the three teams- Colorado, Idaho and Utah- who are currently tied with the fourth most points (82) in the conference and are six points ahead of the Mallards. The Mallards would lose a potential tiebreaker to Colorado, which has 39 non-shootout wins compared to the Mallards’ 33. Furthermore, there is only a remote possibility the Mallards would win a potential tiebreaker with Utah. If the Mallards win each of their final three games in regulation and the Grizzlies lose their final two games in regulation, the two clubs would be tied in both points and non-shootout wins. The next tiebreaker would be goal differential, a department in which Utah currently has a 23-goal advantage over the Mallards: the Grizzlies have scored 18 more goals (216) than they have allowed (198) while the Mallards have scored five fewer goals (190) than they have given up (195).
The Mallards endured a roller coaster ride last week. They suffered road losses last Tuesday to Wichita and last Wednesday to Missouri before rebounding for home wins over Tulsa Friday and Indy yesterday.
By winning back-to-back games at the iWireless Center over the weekend the Mallards improved to 21-11-2 on home ice and have now won more home games this season than they have in any campaign since they went 22-11-5 in 38 International Hockey League home games (compared to a total 36 home contests this season) in 2009-10. The Mallards have posted a home winning percentage of .647, their highest since 2012-13 when they registered a .651 winning percentage over 33 Central Hockey League home games.
The Mallards won despite being outshot by Tulsa Friday (40-24) and Indy yesterday (38-34). Friday night marked the eighth time this season the Mallards have allowed at least 40 shots on goal. The Mallards lost despite outshooting Wichita last Tuesday (37-30) and Missouri last Wednesday (34-24).
With last Wednesday night’s loss in Independence, the Mallards finished their season series with the Brabham Cup regular season champion Mavericks 0-4-1. The Mallards went 0-4-0 in Missouri.
Last Tuesday’s 1-0 whitewashing at hands of the Thunder marked the second time the Mallards have been shut out this season. They were first blanked on October 23 by Tulsa.
Between the Pipes
Brody Hoffman has posted a 1.61 goals against average and a .957 save percentage while going 4-1-0 in his last five starts.
Sam Warning scored three goals and picked up one assist in the Mallards’ two games last weekend. Waring scored two goals- including the game winner- and added an assist in Friday night’s vital win over Tulsa. Warning then tipped in the first Mallard goal yesterday (a goal originally credited to Olivier Archambault before a scoring change).
Jared Knight scored two goals yesterday- including the third period game winner- and has now recorded seven points (two goals and five assists) in his last six games.
Matt Carey scored in each of the Mallards’ two games last weekend and has scored four times- and totaled six points- in his last six games to lift his team-leading goal total to 24.
Mike Monfredo is tied for sixth among ECHL defensemen in assists (28).
With an assist yesterday Vladimir Nikiforov reached 299 career points…Mike Monfredo yesterday played his two hundred seventy-first career game for the Mallards yesterday to move into a tie with Obi Aduba for seventh place in team history.
A single Indy power play goal on five chances yesterday did little to dent the Mallards’ recent penalty killing excellence. The Mallards have survived 20 of their foes’ last 22 power plays and 40 of their last 43. They are tied for eighth in the ECHL in penalty killing (85.2 percent). The Mallards went 0-for-7 on the power play in their two games last weekend and have converted just one of their last 18 advantages. The Mallards are tied for seventeenth in the league on the power play (15.7 percent).
Head to Head
The Mallards have gone 4-2-0 against the Komets this season and have gone 2-1-0 in Fort Wayne. All-time, the Mallards have gone 49-49-11 against Fort Wayne. The ECHL is the fourth different league in which the two teams have clashed. They previously competed against each other in the United, International and Central Leagues…The Mallards have gone 4-4-1 against the Cyclones this season and have gone 2-2-0 on home ice. They have gone 5-5-1 all-time against the Cyclones and 2-4-0 at home.
Ins and Outs
Richard Nedomlel was reassigned to the Mallards from Chicago (AHL) by St. Louis (NHL) Saturday night after being reassigned to Chicago Friday…Brady Brassart was assigned to the Mallards by Iowa (AHL) Friday…Raphael Bussieres (upper body) has missed the Mallards’ last 13 games…Zach Pochiro was suspended from last Tuesday night’s game in Wichita after being assessed a match penalty during the Mallards’ March 26 game in Wichita.
UPCOMING HOME GAMES
Friday, April 8, 7:05 p.m.- Mallards vs. Cincinnati Cyclones
$1 Dog/$1 Beer Friday presented by 97X
Fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and beers from iWireless Center concession stands during the Mallards’ final Friday home game.
MetroLINK College Night
The Mallards have once again partnered with Metro to provide transit service between Augustana College and downtown Moline during Friday home games. As part of Metro’s unlimited ride program, Augustana riders can use their Augustana ID as their fare.
Saturday, April 9, 7:05 p.m.- Mallards vs. Cincinnati Cyclones
Darren McMillan Bobblehead Giveaway presented by KWQC-TV6
The Mallards and KWQC-TV6 will bring back the team’s traditional bobblehead giveaway on the final night of the regular season. The first 1,000 fans through the doors for Saturday night’s game will receive Darren McMillan bobblehead dolls in honor of the club’s long serving captain.
JumpOnIt Night with the Mallards
Fans can text jumponQC to 88678 for great deals from the Mallards and an array of other area businesses.
Game Worn Jersey Auction
The Mallards’ game worn orange third jerseys will go up for bid after Saturday night’s game.
ON THE AIR
Fox Sports Radio 1230 is the radio home of Mallards Hockey Presented by Genesis Power Sports Performance. Mallards games broadcast on AM 1230 also stream live online at www.wfxn.net. A limited number of Mallards games 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 coach Terry Ruskowski and 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 email@example.com for more information about tickets. Single game tickets are also available at the iWireless 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.
Playoff Push Pricing
The Mallards have instituted reduced “Playoff Push” pricing for prime sections and made additional $10 tickets available for all remaining home games. Fans can now purchase seats in four center ice sections- 103, 104, 114 and 115- for just $24- down from $28- or get four tickets in those areas for the family-friendly price of $80. The Mallards have also increased the number $10 upper level tickets available for the remainder of the regular season.
Groups of at least ten 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.