Originally Posted Online: March 24, 2013, 10:19 pm
Last Updated: March 25, 2013, 8:11 am

Flock continue home streak with win over Blaze

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By Marc Nesseler, nesseler@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
The Quad City Mallards' Patrik Levesque looks for an opening to score as Bloomington Blaze goalie Pier Pelletier defends at the i wireless Center in Moline on Sunday, March 24, 2013.

With a No. 6 playoff seed already locked in, Sunday's regular-season finale meant absolutely nothing to the Quad City Mallards from a CHL standings standpoint.

With 3,613 fans at the i wireless Center on "Fan Appreciation Day," the 2-1 win by the Mallards over the Bloomington Blaze meant everything.

"With 'Fan Appreciation,' we wanted to show that we appreciate their loyalty to us," said Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski. "Our fans believe in us and we don't want to disappoint them."

The Mallards certainly have earned that loyalty. The win marked the eighth consecutive on home ice, the most for QC since it won 11 straight from Jan. 25-Feb. 29, 2004. They also continued their streak of winning games in front of home crowds of 3,000 or more, likewise eight in a row of those.

"The crowds have come out with so much energy," said QC defenseman Darren McMillan. "We want to go into the playoffs on a high note."

The Mallards (34-24-6) will open the playoffs at No. 3 seed Fort Worth with games on Thursday and Saturday, with the next two, and a third if necessary, to follow back at the Moline arena. Those home games will be on April 3, 5 and 6.

The Flock continues to fly high with a come-from-behind win in the regular-season finale. The Blaze scored on a power play in the second period, but the Mallards had the lead before the period was over.

First Matt Boyd tied the game at the 11:52 mark with helpers from Patrik Levesque and Bob Preece. Then, less than a minute later, the Mallards had a power-play goal of their own, scored by Mickey Lang, his 41st of the season. The assists there came from Matt Duffy and Jason Dixon.

Through it all was another strong performance in goal by Neil Conway (15-8). Starting on back-to-back nights, he stopped 31 Blaze shots, including a final rush in which the Blaze pulled their goalie in the last minute.