Posted Online: Dec. 01, 2012, 10:33 pm
Powerless play hits embarrassing level for Mallards
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By Marc Nesseler, firstname.lastname@example.org
How utterly pitiful has the power play been for the Quad City Mallards since the day before Thanksgiving, a span of seven games?
"It's just nonexistent. It's almost embarrassing, to the point of declining it" when the whistle blows to give the Mallards a man advantage, QC coach Terry Ruskowski lamented.His team went 0-for-8 on the power play in a 3-1 loss to the Missouri Mavericks at the i wireless Center on Saturday night.
Of course, Ruskowski was just uttering that for effect, but the point is very much there.
Teams have pitched a shutout when Quad City has been on the power play, 0-for-26 in that seven-game span. The Mallards are 1-for-39 over a nine-game stretch, easily in last place in the CHL in that statistical category.
"It's getting to the point now where it's getting ridiculous," said Ruskowski, not mincing words over the lack of any goal production when a team should have its best chance.
In fact, on Saturday, the Mallards couldn't find the back of the net with a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes, with three Mavericks in the penalty box at the 15:01 mark of the third period as they trailed 2-1.
"The problem is that I don't have a quarterback back there, someone who will lead the power play, that's what's missing now," the QC coach said.
Asked specifically about that 5-on-3 advantage, Ruskowski could only shake his head for several seconds before saying, "Like I said, we've got to find people who will execute and do the job."
That continuous lack of power-play punch was just a part of a combination of bad karma going in.
The Mallards haven't fared well on Saturday nights, now 1-5 after getting their first Saturday win last week on home ice. And, the Mallards have yet to manage a back-to-back win all season, with this loss coming on the heels of a road win at Missouri on Friday night.
"The tough part about that is when you play a team on back-to-back nights, very seldom do you win both games," Ruskowski said. "That back-to-back win is likely going to come against a team on one night and then a different one on another. This team can never get over that hurdle.
"It's my job to make sure we get that done. I've got to find a way to better our team. I don't want to be a .500 hockey team. I want fans to come back and watch us on a nightly basis."
The Mallards fall to 7-8-3. The Mavericks, who play QC at the i wi on Friday and at Missouri on Saturday to make it four straight, move to 7-8-2.
That karma thing looked like it was going to bite big time on the Mavericks' first goal. Scott Dickson's shot hit the glove of Mallards goalie John Murray and then the rubber caromed off the crossbar and bounced out toward play after hitting the ice. It was quickly ruled a goal.
"I couldn't argue it because I couldn't see it," said Ruskowski.
Missouri made it 2-0 six minutes into the second period with the first of two goals by Podge Turnbull, who now has three on the season.
The Mallards got their lone goal when Mike Stinziani had a point-blank shot in front of the net with 4:46 showing in the second. Matt Boyd and Derek Matheson scored the assists on the play.