Mallards rally for upset

Posted Online: Jan. 04, 2013, 11:33 pm
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By Steve Tappa,
After hoisting a banner to the rafters Friday night, the Quad City Mallards raised the roof at the i wireless Center.

The Flock earned several standing ovations by socking a two-game losing skid with a hard-fought, 5-3 comeback victory over the Central Hockey League's third-place Denver Cutthroats.

The upset offered the perfect finish to a night highlighted by the Mallards retiring the No. 18 of QC's all-time goal-scoring leader Glenn Stewart.

The 25-minute pre-game ceremony included several speakers and a video montage, hailing Stewart's 218-goal, 429-point four-season QC career.

With Stewart, the Mallards qualified for four league finals, winning a pair in 1997 and '98. Stewart joins former teammates Kerry Toporowski (77), Mark McFarlane (22) and Steve Gibson (55) in having their numbers hang high above the Mallards' home rink.

"My feeling is we should do Stewie again next game,'' QC coach Terry Ruskowski joked after the latter-day Mallards closed a week-long tour of the league's top three teams at 2-2-0."Even in his jersey retirement, I think Stewie scored a goal for us. It was a nice, big moment, and our guys responded.''

Just as significantly, the Mallards rebounded after getting blown out earlier in the week by CHL leaders Allen (4-0) and Wichita (5-1), the latter just two days earlier at the i-wi.

"The guys really paid attention in our 7:30 a.m. video review session (Thursday),'' Ruskowski said, pointing to the pre-practice punishment after the Wichita whipping."There was no chirping and laughing. They watched and saw where we were out of position the other night. Seeing themselves making the same mistakes over and over again, I hope they learned from that.''

The Mallards certainly showed much more effort Friday.

"We were more physical, too,'' Ruskowski said, pointing to an early fight by Jason Kostadine and a series of helmet-rattling hits by Anthony Perdicaro."We had some good hits right off the bat. We were much more aggressive than we were earlier this week. We weren't going to be intimidated again.''

Brett Robinson (4 points), Kerry Toporowski's brother Shayne (3 points) and Matt Duffy (2 points) also highlighted multi-point games with goals.

Those three had combined for just 11 goals in the previous 31 games for the ninth-place Mallards (14-15-3, 31 points). The multi-point game was the first in a Mallards uniform for Toporowski.

"That's how he's got to play for us,'' Ruskowski said of the younger Toporowski, a Triple-A veteran with an NHL cup of coffee. "Robinson played well, too. A lot of guys played well.''

And yet, Denver (18-12-3, 39 points) took the early lead, and kept answering QC's comeback attempts into the second period.

But 14 seconds after the Cutthroats took a 3-2 lead, Robinson stripped Denver standout Troy Schwab in front of his own goal, and punched in the final equalizer.

"That was huge,'' said Ruskowski, one of the CHL's winningest coaches. "Momentum was back and forth, it was like a tennis match, but when Robinson scored, the bench erupted.

"That line of theirs is unbelievable. Schwab, (Brad) Smyth and (A.J.) Gale. Holy smokes, man, they move the puck better than anybody else I've seen in this league all season. So to get something like that off them was a huge momentum swing.''

The Mallards followed by adding second-period goals by Duffy and Mickey Lang against Denver goalie Kent Patterson, fresh from being named the CHL's Goalie and Rookie of the Month award winner.

"The second period, I thought, was our best period of the year,'' Ruskowski said. "We actually controlled the puck and made good passes. And, we weren't just dumping it in, we were hitting our forwards and they were jumping to the net.''

The CHL's worst power play also scored twice on three attempts, with Lang's and Toporowski's scores coming on man-advantages.

Defensemen Derek Matheson also scored a first-period goal for the Mallards, who don't play again until hosting Arizona on Tuesday. QC gets today off from practice with the Harlem Globetrotters in town.

"It was a good win,'' Ruskowski said. "We needed this to get off the schneid.''


Local events heading

  Today is Friday, Aug. 1, the 213th day of 2014. There are 152 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A mad dog was shot in Davenport after biting several other canines and snapping at several children. The police should abate this nuisance — there are about 500 dogs in this city that ought to be killed at once.
1889 — 125 years ago: Track laying operations on 2nd Avenue, stopped by the Moline-Rock Island company last spring for lack of rail, have been resumed.
1914 — 100 years ago: Bulletins allowed to come through the strong continental censorship of all war news indicated that Germany was advancing with a dash against both Russia and France.
1939 — 75 years ago: Emil J Klein, of Rock Island, was elected commander of Rock Island Post 200, American Legion.
1964 — 50 years ago: Members of the Davenport police department and their families are being invited to the department's family picnic to be held Aug. 27 at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.
1989 — 25 years ago: Beginning this fall, Black Hawk College will offer a continuing education course in horseback riding at the Wright Way Equestrian Center, Moline, located just east of the Deere Administration Center.

(More History)