Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2013, 11:33 pm
No Lang, no worries for Mallards
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By Chris Steele, firstname.lastname@example.org
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- When it seemed the Quad City Mallards had their wings clipped, the offense proved they still have life Friday night.
The Mallards (17-18-4) scored a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Sundogs (18-20-4) on the road at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley Arizona.
It was the first game that Quad City's 3M line was an `M' short. Mike Stinziani and Mike Hellyer were missing Mickey Lang, who was called up to skate with the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.
While the Mallards lost their leading point scorer in Lang (47 points), the offensive firepower remained unchanged.
"Once we got that first goal, I saw everyone on the bench feel relieved that we could still score without Mickey," Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski said.
With the lines jumbled in Lang's absence, the Mallards got scoring from a number of sources. Obi Aduba scored the Mallards' first two goals and Patrik Levesque followed, Then, Gabriel Boutin-Gagnon and Jason Kostadine each scored their first goals of the season.
Former Mallards goaltender Adam Russo took the brunt of the punishment as the Arizona goalie was pelted with 28 shots.
Quad City netminderJohn Murray had his best game of the season with 33 saves.
The Mallards took an early lead on a power play when Aduba flicked in a backhanded wrister in the first period at 12:09.
Some nifty stick handling by Levesque led to a shot on goal and an opportunistic Aduba scored on a rebound with 18:46 in the first.
The second period opened with the Sundogs attacking off the faceoff, the Mallards defense countered and Aduba fired a strong two-line pass that led to Levesque's breakaway goal.
Boutin-Gagnon and Kostadine made it 5-0 Mallards by the end of the second period.
"Every time we think it's safe to come out of the woods, something else happens,"Ruskowski said. "I'm just hoping they can continue this because it's something that we have to work on on a consistent basis."
These same two teams meet here again tonight at 8. The Mallards (38 points) need a sweep in this weekend's two-game set to overtake Arizona (40 points) for eighth-place in the Berry Conference standings. The top eight teams in the 10-team league advance to the playoffs in March.