BLOOMINGTON -- Terry Ruskowski called Sunday's season-worst setback a "Murphy's Law'' game.
"Everything that could go wrong certainly did,'' the Quad City Mallards coach said after a 7-2 loss at Bloomington. "It's the kind of game you wish you could forget about except it just happened.''
The Blaze exploded for a quartet of final-period goals, ripping open a tight game at thes U.S. Cellular Coliseum by scoring thrice in the frame's opening 198 seconds, to knock off the Mallards for the fourth time in five meetings so far this season.
This campaign's most-lopsided Mallards loss also marked the most goals allowed by the Flock since last March, when Central Hockey League champ Fort Wayne also slapped a 7-2 decision on QC (6-6-3, 15 points).
Ironically, with the blowout victory, Bloomington (10-5-1, 21 points) bounced back from its worst defeat of the season, a 6-1 setback Saturday night to Missouri.
"Maybe that's the road catching up to us, because it just seemed we had no legs at all,'' Ruskowski said after his club played for the seventh time in 10 days with travel involved. "But then again, they also played three games in three nights.
"After the first period, we were lucky to be down only 1-0. After the first two periods, I told the guys, `We haven't played well, but let's make this our best period.' Instead, things went downhill from there.''
Jimmy Spratt fell to 0-2 in goal for QC.
The newcoming netminder turned away 40 shots, but was scored upon seven times less than 24 hours after getting pulled nine minutes into Saturday's comeback home win, down 3-0.
"The first period, he was outstanding and kept us in the game,'' Ruskowski said about his backup goalie, who turned away 21 shots in the opening frame.
"The second and third period? I don't know. It's hard to really evaluate him because the defense was so bad. I pay my goalies to stop shots, but 47 of them is way too many.
"Our defense just didn't make plays. We had bad coverage. They beat us one-on-one. We got beat in the corners. We were pinching when we didn't need to. We got pushed around. It's really disappointing. We did not play well at all.''
Mickey Lang and Brett Robinson scored QC's goals, both in the second period.
"We played a little intimidated,'' said Ruskowski, one of the CHL's winningest coaches. "It took a 5-foot-9 guy, who's 165-pounds dripping wet, to finally stand up for himself and do what our big guys should have done long before that.''
Lang was whistled for QC's first of two fighting penalties, just over 10 minutes into the third period, with the Blaze leading 6-1.
That alone had Ruskowski talking about a fifth straight Monday morning of roster changes.
"I'm not going to sleep on it; I know what I need to improve,'' said Ruskowski, whose club meets Bloomington 14 more times this season.
"We've got to get better defensively. A couple of our guys are not playing up to their potential. We're taking too many risks. We need some size up front, too. We're allowing ourselves to get pushed around. We need a big, tough guy to protect our little guys so they can play their game.
"I'm going to hit the phones (today). I doubt we'll have something by Wednesday (at Fort Worth). But as long as I get the wheels turning, at least there will be some light at the end of the tunnel and we'll get some help in here soon, because we need to get bigger, stronger and better.''