Another overtime playoff game, another heartbreaking finish for the Quad City Mallards.
Fort Worth's first-period score was a shorthanded goal by Calin Wild.
QC goalie John Murray (30 saves) was matched save-for-save until the end by Fort Worth's Kristofer Westblom (32 saves).
``I thought this was a hockey game, and it was supposed to be physical, but you hit a guy hard and he falls and they're going to call it,'' said Ruskowski, whose club is 1-5-1 against the Brahmas this season. ``You try and be physical with a physical team but you can't when they're calling penalties every cotton-picking night.''
While Ruskowski complained about the officiating for a third straight game, this time the NHL playing and minor-league coaching veteran was joined by 3,034 booing fans.
Fort Worth remains the least-penalized team in the CHL playoffs, with six infractions totaling 12 minutes this time. That was more than the five penalties and 10 minutes combined in the first two games in Texas, though.
The Mallards have been penalized twice as much so far in this series, 58 penalty minutes to 22 for the Brahmas.
``We're just going to have to do something with the referees here,'' Ruskowski said. ``I know people are going to say you lost and it's sour grapes, but I'm telling you, it's just brutal.
``We had a situation where Lang was going hard to the net, and the guy gives him a bar check in the corner, and the ref is right there and doesn't even call it? Are you kidding me? And there's so many other ones they missed.
``I know these are educated fans, and when they get on the refs like that, there's a reason why. The whole year, I bet I've heard them react 3-4 times that way and (Wednesday) was the loudest ever. It's just ridiculous. I am so disappointed.''
Frustration showed several times, with the teams exchanging words often. There also was a first-period stoppage, with Fort Worth forward Colby Pridham helped off the ice bleeding, but that was from an inadvertent skate to the leg.
``The league has to do something about this,'' Ruskowski said. ``We're losing players to other leagues because they're getting frustrated with what's being called. They're saying this is a brutal league. That's what I'm hearing on the bench and I can't say they're lying.''
However, the outcome was sweet for a quartet of former Mallards returning to a place they called home in the last year -- Snowden, defensemen Jared Lavender and Tyler Amburgey and backup goalie Brad Fogal.
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