Games: The Mallards open a season-long, five-game road trip in Colorado with contests tonight and Saturday at 8:05 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum.|
Radio: WFXN-AM 1230 & wfxn.net. Webcast: myqcmallards.com (pay-per-view CHL TV).
Storyline: Fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the CHL, the Flock visits one of the Double-A circuit's toughest places to play for the first time. Denver's expansion Cutthroats (25-21-6, 56 points) are 16-9-2 at home so far during their first season. The Mallards (21-22-6, 48 points) are mired in ninth, three points behind Arizona with a month remaining in the season. QC beat Denver twice in the only previous meetings between the teams last month in Moline. QC won't return home until March 3.
News: Former Mallard John Snowden earned the CHL's Player of the Week award for the second time this season earlier this week. The veteran just missed matching a CHL record with five goals in a 7-1 victory last week for the Fort Worth Brahmas. In all, Snowden had 7 goals and 3 assists during 3-1 week. Since joining the Texas team, Snowden has 21 goals and 15 assists in 26 games with the Brahmas. Snowden had 2 goals and 9 assists in 22 games prior to Christmas before being released by Rapid City.
Notes: The Flock has dropped four of its last five decisions. ... The Mallards have scored only twice on their last 24 power-play chances. Foes are 1-for-their-last 20 against QC, though. ... QC's Matt Duffy played in his 200th pro game in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Rapid City. ... QC scoring leader Mickey Lang is a goal away from matching CHL leader Ryan Menei of Tulsa. ... QC's Mike Hellyer leads all CHL rookies with 45 points.
Around the league: Denver lost the CHL's leading goal-scorer this week when Triple-A AHL Lake Erie recalled A.J. Gale (31 goals). ... Denver re-signed hometown prospect Jeff Neitenbach to keep Gale's spot warm. ... Lake Erie made room for Gale by sending Gary Steffes back to Tulsa. ... Bloomington has released goaltender Dan Dunn to sign rookie backup Ross MacKinnon, who was part of a well-publicized goalie fight earlier this season in the SPHL. ... Out of the CHL for three months following his release earlier this season by Arizona, Mikael Bedard had five goals and two assists in three games last weekend for Denver.
Next: QC pays a Tuesday visit to Rapid City, S.D.
-- By Steve Tappa, firstname.lastname@example.org