Posted Online: Dec. 07, 2012, 10:50 pm
Mallards rally but doomed by first period
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By Dan Tomlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Quad City Mallards couldn't get a stop.
Controlling the entire first period until the final 4 minutes, the Mallards fell to the Missouri Mavericks 5-3 in Central Hockey League action Friday night at the iwireless Center.
During that final 4 minutes, Missouri scored twice on starting tender John Murray who was pulled after the Mavericks got up 3-0.
Rallying back, Mike Hellyer doubled his season total for goals with scores in the second and third period. Hellyer's second goal was the equalizer and came 1:43 into the third period and it seemed as if QC had all the momentum.
The Mavericks, though, got a go-ahead goal from Andrew Courtney, his second of the night, and added an empty-netter from Sebastian Thinel in the closing seconds.
"Call me crazy, but I thought we played pretty well tonight, our goalie just let us down," Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski said. "You can't give a team like Missouri a 3-0 lead. It's almost impossible to come back from."
The first period was very reminiscent of the Mallards' loss 10 days ago in Fort Wayne when they also gave up three goals in the first 20 minutes. They lost 5-0 that night, so from that standpoint, Friday was progress.
The ninth-place Mallards (7-9-3, 17 points) have lost six of their last eight games, and in that time are being outscored 8-1 in the first period.
"The first period is killing us right now," Ruskowski said. "We've tried so many things this season, but we need to work on getting better at what we're doing right now. We have to take time to have a chance to get better."
Both of Hellyer's goals were impressive, getting a give-and-go from new addition Anthony Perdicaro for the first one and putting it in on the top shelf.
"Those shots were professional shots," said Ruskowski, whose club was out-shot 29-23. "When we pass well, we play much better.
"We have to get more shots to the net. When we don't hit the net with shots that's discouraging."
A couple of times, the Mallards had Missouri goalie Mike Clemente confused on where the puck went when it sailed through the crease and went to the back wall, but QC was unable to slip it past him. The Mallards got their other goal from Shayne Toporowski as he added his second goal of the season midway through the second period to get the Mallards on the board.
Mallards goalie Jimmy Spratt took the loss in relief, although his performance, 19 saves on 20 shots, was a big pick-me-up that led to QC getting back into it.
These teams continue to get to know each other as they will square off tonight in Missouri for the 4th of 13 meetings this season. The Mavericks have won two of three so far, and all three of those games have been played in the last week.