By: Mallards Communications Staff
04/06/2021 10:01 PM
Photo: Sean Flynn Photography/Quad City Mallards
Tanner Eberle and Alex Gudbranson scored power play goals 31 seconds apart in the third period to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a 3-1 Quad City Mallard lead and Matt Neal provided a shorthanded goal and two assists as the Mallards (36-28-6) defeated the host Fort Wayne Komets (39-22-9) 4-1 Wednesday night and reduced the Mallards' magic number for clinching a playoff berth to one.
The Mallards currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the ECHL's Western Conference, just ahead of the ninth place Tulsa Oilers. The Mallards now need to earn only a single point from either of their two remaining regular season games this Friday and Saturday against the Cincinnati Cyclones to lock up a postseason appearance. The Mallards would also clinch if the Oilers lose any of their remaining regular season games.
The Mallards were up 5-on-3 when Eberle one timed what proved to be the game winner from the slot at 5:15 of the third. Moments later the lead stretched to a pair with Gudbranson's blast from the top of left wing circle. Eberle and Gudbranson assisted on each other's goals.
Jared Knight's long range empty netter clinched victory for the Mallards with just 58.5 seconds remaining.
Neal had given the Mallards their first lead with just one minute and 35 seconds left in the opening period on a shorthanded breakaway. The Komets' Jamie Schaafsma tied the score at one with just 33 seconds left in the second period by backhanding a loose puck home from the slot, but it was the Mallards who would take over in the third.
The Mallards host the Cyclones at 7:05 p.m. Friday night. Friday is also the Mallards' final $1 Dog/$1 Beer Night presented by 97X as well as the final MetroLINK College Night of the season.
Single game tickets for the Mallards' remaining regular season home games- including Friday night’s tilt- are on sale now at the iWireless Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com 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. Tickets are available for $10, $16, $20 and $24.