The host Dayton Gems scored four straight goals in the first and second periods and held off the Quad City Mallards’ third period comeback bid on the way to a 4-3 win over the Mallards Tuesday night. The loss deals a blow to the Mallards’ playoff hopes as fifth place Quad City drops to 35-26-2 (72 points) and remains four points behind the Missouri Mavericks in the race for the fourth and final Turner Conference postseason berth with three games left in the regular season.
The evening started superbly for the Mallards when Mickey Lang gave Quad City a 1-0 lead just one minute and nine seconds into the game by intercepting a pass in the slot and wristing the puck past Dayton goaltender Larry Sterling, but the Gems would respond with a pair of first period goals of their own. Matt Baxter’s blue line blast tied the score at 4:22 of the first. At 13:39 Jonathan Ornelas scored from close range to put Dayton on top 2-1.
The Gems stretched the lead to 4-1 by scoring twice in the second period. Nick Fanto scored the third Dayton goal from the left wing circle at 14:33 of the second. Brett Lutes made it four in a row for the Gems- with another drive from the left circle- at 17:39.
John Snowden buried the puck from the doorstep to cut the gap to 4-2 at 4:09 of the third period and trigger the Quad City rally. At 10:47 of the third Brandon Marino pounced on a loose puck in the slot to cut the deficit to 4-3 with his league-leading fortieth goal of the season. The Mallards- who outshot the Gems 13-5 in the third period and 44-26 on the night- were, however, unable to produce an equalizer even after pulling goaltender David Brown for an extra attacker with a minute and a half remaining.
Marino (40-47-87) is not only the first player in the CHL to reach the 40-goal plateau this season but also the first Mallard to do since 2006-07. By scoring Tuesday night, Marino also extended his point scoring streak to 12 games (11-9-20). He trails only Evansville’s Todd Robinson (90) in the league point-scoring race.
The Mallards return to action tomorrow evening against the Komets in Fort Wayne. The Mallards next play at home on the final night of the regular season- Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m. - against the Bloomington Blaze. The first 1,000 fans through the doors for Saturday’s regular season finale will receive free 2011-12 Mallards player card sets. An auction of game-worn Mallards jerseys will immediately follow Saturday evening’s game.
Fans can contact the Mallards at (309) 277-1364 or email@example.com for more information about tickets for Saturday night’s game.
Tickets are also available at the i wireless Center box office, at Ticketmaster outlets, through www.ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free. The box office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period. Individual game tickets are available for $13 in the upper level and $18 in the lower level and $25 for the first row along the glass for adults. Tickets for kids 12 and under are available for $5 off adult rates. In addition, tickets are available to military personnel for $2 off the regular adult rate.