For those who don’t remember, the Mallards had been on a losing streak at the end of November.
The Flock ended their six game losing streak on Dec. 6 against the Rush, Logan Nelson, Joe Perry, and Nick Grasso all netting goals in the 3-2 shootout victory. Perry (Mike Monfredo, Pearce Eviston) and Justin Fox (Darren McMillan, Mario Lamoureux) scored in regulation for the Mallards that night.
On Dec. 10, the Mallards saw the Allen Americans for the first time since the Flock was eliminated in Game 7 of the semi-finals last season, losing 5-2 as Jack Combs got a hattrick that night. Kevin Baker scored both of the Flock’s tallies, the first coming from Lamoureux & Fox and the other coming from Lamoureux and Duffy.
Dec. 12, saw the Mallards take on the Wichita Thunder in what proved to be a longer game than expected, beating the Thunder 3-1. The next night the Flock beat Tulsa 4-1. Dec. 17 saw the Mallards return to home ice for a three-game stand against the Brampton Beast. Dec. 20 the Beast beat the Mallards 5-3, Johnny Rogic suffering a knee injury that caused him to sit for six games. Dec 21 the Mallards finished their weekend series against Brampton, winning 6-1.
On Dec. 22, the Mallards traveled to Independence, MO, winning 4-3 in a shootout. This was the first win for the Mallards in Missouri since March 8, 2014. The Flock did not return to play until Dec. 27, once again seeing the Beast and beating them 4-3. The next night the score was reversed, the Mallards failing to complete their third period comeback. Coach Terry Ruskowsi pulled Evan Mosher after the third goal, hoping to change the momentum of the game. While the Mallards did go on to rally to score three goals, they were unable to complete the comeback.
Dec. 29, saw the Mallards play their third game in as many nights, facing against the ECHL leaders Fort Wayne Komets. After taking a 2-0 lead, the two teams began a back-and-forth battle. Todd Fiddler tied the game at five apiece with help from Grasso, and 67 seconds later Eviston scored the game-winning goal from Perry and Monfredo. Lamoureux scored on the empty net to give the Mallards a two-goal lead.
On New Years Eve Mosher and the Mallards shutout the Evansville Icemen with three goals. Nelson, Monfredo, and Jeff Lee all scored for the Mallards, Monfredo’s goal coming with help from Lamoureux while Lee’s was assisted by Mosher. This was both Mosher’s first professional shutout and first professional point.
The Mallards returned home for one night, losing to the Mavericks 4-2 on Jan. 2. The score was knotted at two apiece until just under two minutes left in the final frame, when Josh Brittain scored unassisted. Chris Crane then scored on an empty net to seal the loss for the Mallards. The Flock then departed for a game on the following day in Wichita, dropping that one 2-3.
The Mallards then faced Wichita at home the next two games, winning 4-3 on Jan. 7 and losing 4-1 on Jan. 9. They did not play again until Jan. 16, losing in the shootout against the Rapid City Rush, who the Mallards had beaten in Game 7 of the quarterfinals the previous season. Two days later the two teams faced off again at the iWireless Center, the Mallards winning 3-1.
On Jan. 23 the Mallards acquired defense man Bennett Schneider. The ECHL’s All Star Break then began, the Mallards not playing until Jan. 24 against the Mavericks. Missouri won 2-1 after the first two periods were scoreless, Perry scoring the lone Mallards goal at 14:23 while on the powerplay with help from Nelson.
Jan. 28, saw the Mallards take on the Thunder again, losing 4-2 in a home-and-home series. After going down 4-0 after two periods and switching goalies from Mosher to Milner, Perry scored twice on the powerplay. The first goal came from Lee, while the second one came from Lee and Nelson.
The Mallards beat the Thunder 3-1 on Jan. 30 in a physically costly and poorly officiated battle. Just 4:46 into the game Paxton Leroux and Lizon dropped the gloves for a brutal fight. Both received two-minute minors for removing their helmets, as well as injuries which sidelined them for the rest of the game.
Matt Duffy scored on the powerplay to tie the game from Jannik Christensen and Lamoureux. Pusa scored with 1:12 left in the second from Justin Fox and Nelson. Nelson was hit from behind by Miller shortly after Pusa’s goal, and he did not return.
Monfredo and Dan Milan fought after the horn blew at the end of the second period. McMillan and Michael Trebish then began to fight as well, earning them ten-minute misconducts for secondary altercations. Monfredo scored on the empty net with assistance from Nicolas Rioux to finish the game.
Jan 31 saw the Mallards beat the Brampton Beast 3-1 while wearing throwback sweaters which were auctioned off after the game. Baker opened the scoring for the Mallards, ending his seven game drought with help from Lee and Pusa. Fiddler scord in the sandwich stanza off of Grasso and Christensen.
Coach Ruskowski switched the lines up that night, moving Grasso and Christensen to offense and shuffling the rest of the players and positions.
That night marked Fox’s 200th professional game. Leroux and Nelson were both out after having sustained concussions from the previous night’s game.
The Genesis Post-Game Auction raised $19, 275 for Genesis’ Flu Free QC Program. The highest bid was on Leroux’s sweater, going at $1500.
The Mallards acquired forward Anthony Collins from the South Carolina Stingrays on Feb 2. Collins didn’t play in the Feb. 3 game against the Mavericks.
The Mallards beat the 3-1 on Feb. 3, extending their win-streak to three games while ending Missouri’s three game streak and securing second place in the ECHL’s Central Division.
During the first period Lamoureux suffered an injury and did not return. Eviston, who was dressed but not playing due to injury, took Lamoureux’s place.
On Feb. 5 Perry signed a PTO with the Iowa Wild, a stint that has lasted until presstime on Feb. 11. Feb. 6 the Mallards dropped a close contest against Wichita, dropping back into a tie for second place in the Central Division.
Mosher put on a goalie clinic as he stopped 34 shots in the Mallards’ 2-1 loss. Fox scored the Mallards’ lone goal with help from Lamoureux and Collins.
Feb. 7 saw a penalty filled contest between Wichita and the Mallards, 136 combined penalty minutes being racked up, most of which in the third period. The Mallards won 6-2, the goals coming from Duffy (Christensen, Lamoureux) PP , Collins (Lamoureux, Fox), Grasso (Monfredo, McMillan), Fiddler (Lee), Flath, (Perdicaro, Bernhardt), Baker (Eviston, Fiddler) PP, Duval (Wilson), Grasso (Fiddler) EN.
The Mallards traveled to Independence on Feb. 8 to face the Mavericks, losing 3-0. Jared Brown scored twice in the first five minutes of the game, his first coming from Lindsay Sparks and Scott Langdon at 1:40 at the second from Sparks and Patch Alber at 4:25. Andrew Courtney scored at 5:21 from Ryley Grantham and Martin Lee, sending Mosher to the bench for Milner to replace him.
Mosher made three saves on six shots while Milner made 18 saves on as many shots.
The Feb. 11 game will be covered in the next issue due to press time.