Games: The Mallards are at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum tonight and Friday, and Missouri's Independence Events Center on Saturday. Game time is 7:05 p.m. each night.|
Radio: WFXN-AM 1230 & wfxn.net. Webcast: myqcmallards.com (pay-per-view CHL TV).
Storyline: The Mallards start the second half of their season by visiting their two biggest rivals for a three-in-three nights stretch. The Flock (14-15-4, 32 points) sits ninth out of 10 teams in the Central Hockey League, two points out of the last playoff spot. Bloomington (17-14-1, 35 points) leads the league in scoring with 126 goals. Missouri (18-11-4, 40 points) has surged into a share of third place with four straight victories. The Mallards are 2-3-1 against Bloomington this season, including 1-2-1 downstate at The Cel. QC's 2-3-0 against Missouri, splitting a pair of games in Independence.
News: The NHL lockout getting settled Sunday has seen five more CHL players moving to other teams. Included are AHL Lake Erie recalls Matt Tassone (Arizona) and Gary Steffes (Tulsa). QC's Brett Robinson, Missouri's Colten Hayes and Fort Worth's Joe Tolles also have been placed on team suspensions after moving to other leagues. Allen did get defenseman Tyler Ludwig from AHL Houston on Tuesday. So far, 13 CHL players have moved up or moved on to other leagues since Sunday.
Notes: This weekend begins a season-ending stretch where the Mallards meet either rival 21 times in the season's final 33 games. ... The three-game weekend is QC's sixth this season. ... After scoring a game-tying power-play goal in the third period Tuesday, to force overtime in QC's 3-2 shootout loss to Arizona, Patrik Levesque is two goals away from 100 for his career. ... QC scoring leader Mickey Lang is ranked among the Top 10 leaguewide in points (36) and goals (18), and leads the CHL with 3 shorthanded goals. ... QC's Mike's -- Hellyer (23 points, 8 goals) and Stinziani (21 points, 9 goals) -- both rank among the CHL's top six rookie scorers.
Around the league: Missouri rookie Mike Clemente succeeded QC rookie Neil Conway as the CHL's Goaltender of the Week on Tuesday. ... The CHL's Rookie of the Month in October, Clemente played 840:15 of a possible 900 minutes in December, going 10-2-2 during that stretch. ... Missouri's Sebastien Thinel, the CHL's scoring leader with 51 points, was named the league's Player of the Month last week. ... Denver's visit to QC last Friday is part of a 12-game road trip, with the Cutthroats next home game Feb. 1. ... CHL goal-scoring leader Scotty Howes of Allen has been on loan to AHL Springfield for the last week. ... League-leading Allen traded forward Nino Musitelli to Rapid City for forward Alex Penner earlier this week.
Next: The Mallards host Fort Worth (Jan. 18) and Denver (Jan. 19) next Friday and Saturday.
-- By Steve Tappa, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rock island, IL Details
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