Young talent sometimes works harder

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Iowa and St Louis’ prospects are proving their caliber for the Quad City Mallards. Of the 30 goals scored for the Mallards so far, 28 have been scored by someone who attended an American Hockey League (AHL) or National Hockey League (NHL) Training Camp this summer. The other two goals were scored by Vladimir Nikiforov, who has past AHL-experience.

Of a 22 man roster, 18 players saw AHL Camp experience this summer, ten being rookies this season. The Mallards are affiliated with the Minnesota Wild, and therefore the Iowa Wild as well, but also have an unofficial agreement with the St Louis Blues. Zach Pochiro and Ryan Tesink were both assigned by the Blues from the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the Blues. The Blues currently have no official ECHL affiliate according to the ECHL website, but their website lists the Alaska Aces as an affiliate.

Olivier Archambault is the top-scorer for the Mallards. He has 10 points in eight games, with four goals. Raphael Bussieres and Guillaume Gelinas are tied for second place with eight points each.

Gelinas, a defenseman, has played 11 games and has bolstered an otherwise lacking offense.

Tanner Eberle was assigned to the Mallards on Oct. 23. The next day, he was on the ice at the iWireless Center. Although he was held off the scoresheet in his Mallard debut, the following night he scored two goals against Wichita, assisting on another.

During the roadtrip from Oct. 27 through Oct. 31, the Mallards only earned one point out of a possible six. They never led throughout the three games.

Coach Terry Ruskowski has said several times that he is ready to begin cutting the roster, trading or cutting players who are not playing the systems or not working hard enough. Much as last season, the Mallards are struggling with putting out consistent effort.

After the game against the Indy Fuel on Nov 7 Coach Ruskowski said, “Our defense should be in front of their forwards. So what did our defense do? We played behind them all night. That’s frustrating because that’s not how we’re supposed to do it.”

Overall, there have been bright spots of the young talent assigned to the Mallards, but as a collective team there is a dark spot in the failure to play the systems they are taught by Coach Ruskowski.

Written by Anna Headley

Photos by Ale Toniazzo