Posted Online: Dec. 08, 2012, 10:47 pm

Mallards end 4-game stretch vs. Missouri with loss

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Staff report

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The Missouri Mavericks and Quad City Mallards may just be getting tired of facing one another.

In their fourth meeting in the last nine days, Saturday's game at the Independence Events Centerturned out to be a battle royal as much as a Central Hockey League game.

While the style was a bit different, the result was the same as Missouri came out on top, 3-2 over the Mallards. It was the Mavericks' third straight victory in the set.

"Anytime you play four straight games against one team, you're going to build animosity," Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski said. "If you've played the game before, you know that's going to happen."

The last-place Mallards (7-10-3, 17 points) struck first when Mickey Lang scoredin what turned out to be a wild first period. There were nine penalties handed out between the teams including three fights.

With all of scuffling and fisticuffs, Ruskowski was left with four defensemen.

"It forced me to put different guys with different guys," Ruskowski said. "It's hard to play with guys you're not familiar with on the ice, but they tried to play the game together."

Despite the unusual lines that had to be used, the Mallards held that 1-0 lead after the first period. But after the first intermission, things went south for the Mallards.

The Mavericks (11-8-2, 24 points) came out and scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second period to take a 2-1 advantage, putting Quad City behind the eight ball.

Although there was no glove-dropping in the second period, there were still four penalties.

Missouri scored once more in the third to pull ahead 3-1. After that, the extra-curricular action picked up where it left off in the first. Two more fights in the final period sent four more players to the penalty box.

The Mallards fought back late as Mike Hellyer found the net with :57 left in regulation. QC did not have any legitimate chances to force overtime after that.

QC actually out-shot the Mavericks, 22-18, but Ruskowski groused his team didn't have very many legitimate scoring chances.

"When you hold a team to 18 shots, you would think that you would have a chance to win," Ruskowski said. "We didn't get a lot of goal-scoring opportunities in the game and neither did they. It's very difficult to take. As a coach I ask myself if I have the players to play the game."

The Mallards travel to Wichita today where they will take on the Thunder at 5 p.m. Quad City will be looking to snap its three-game losing streak.