Photo: Howe Creative Photography
Andrew Courtney scored twice, Josh Robinson made 38 saves and Zach Tolkinen provided what proved to be the game winner late in the second period before the host Missouri Mavericks scored two late empty net goals to finally finish off the Quad City Mallards and secure a hard-fought 6-3 victory in game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals.
Tolkinen's wrist shot from the right point a shattered a 3-3 stalemate at 16:42 of the second, but it was only deep into the third period that the Mavericks would put the game beyond the Mallards' reach. The Mallards had just pulled goaltender Brody Hoffman for an additional attacker while already on the power play when Chris Owens stretched the gap to 5-3 with a length-of-the-ice shorthanded empty netter at 18:25 of the third. With the Mallard net was again unguarded, Josh Holmstrom capped off the Missouri win with just nine seconds remaining.
The Mallards fell despite getting two goals and an assist from Matt Carey while twice taking the lead earlier in the evening. The Mallards and Mavericks emerged from a back-and-forth first period that saw the Mallards outshoot the Mavs 21-8 tied at two. Carey tipped in the first goal of the night a minute and 49 seconds into the game. The Mavericks rebounded to grab the lead with back-to-back goals. Courtney tied the score at one by barreling into the goalmouth at 9:24 of the first. Tyler Barnes' power play tip-in broke the deadlock at 14:16. It was the Mallards who were on the power play when Carey knotted the game at two with a one timer from the right wing circle at 16:47.
Jordan Knackstedt's deflection snapped a 2-2 tie on another Mallard power play just 15 seconds into the second period. Courtney replied from the high slot on a Maverick man advantage at 3:39 of the second and set the stage for Tolkinen's deciding strike later in the period.
After playing game two in Independence tomorrow, the Mallards return home for game three next Wednesday, April 20 at 6:35 p.m. and game four next Friday, April 22 at 7:05 p.m. If a fifth game is necessary, it will be played on Saturday night, April 23 at 7:05 p.m. at the iWireless Center. Should a sixth game be required, the series will shift back to Missouri on Tuesday, April 26. If the series goes to a seventh game, the Mavericks would host the deciding contest on Wednesday, April 27.
Tickets for Mallards' first round home games are on sale now at the iWireless Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com and Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000The box office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. through the end of the second period. Tickets are available for $10, $16, $20 and $24.
ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs, Western Conference Quarterfinals
Quad City Mallards vs. Missouri Mavericks
Game One: Missouri 6 Quad City 3
Game Two: Sunday, April 17 @ Missouri, 4:05 p.m.
Game Three: Wednesday, April 20 @ Quad City, 6:35 p.m.
Game Four: Friday, April 22 @ Quad City, 7:05 p.m.
Game Five: Saturday, April 23 @ Quad City, 7:05 p.m.*
Game Six: Tuesday, April 26 @ Missouri, 7:05 p.m.*
Game Seven: Wednesday, April 27 @ Missouri, 7:05 p.m.*
*- if necessary