Ryan Fultz, Mallards
Veteran winger Ryan Fultz likely will be activated from 30-day injured reserve this week. Fultz had surgery on his injured toe last month. (Times file photo) Crista Chapman

The Mallards weren't part of an IHL trade season that coaches learned had been extended a week just one day ahead of the original March 12 deadline.

"They forgot to tell us earlier in the year," Mallards coach Frank Anzalone said of an extension that was made because the season is one week longer than last year's. "They just forgot."

The IHL brass also didn't make a peep about a deal last week that might have changed the shape of the fourth-place race.

Last-place Dayton sent top scorer John Snowden (22 goals, 24 assists) and veteran defenseman Preston Briggs (5, 10) to fourth-place Bloomington for rookie forward Greg McCauley (2 ,5).

"It's an interesting trade," said Anzalone, whose Mallards are chasing Bloomington for the final playoff berth. "If it happened in the NHL, someone would question it."

Anzalone said Dayton probably was looking to lose salary and said Gems coach John Marks told him weeks earlier he planned to assemble a young core for next season.

"The strategy is good and if their fans are accepting, I suppose it's OK," he said. "But that's an interesting trade. That's an interesting trade."

Fultz expected to return

Veteran winger Ryan Fultz is not the center Anzalone hoped to add to his late-season roster, but the coach said Fultz, back off 30-day injured reserve, likely will be added this week to a roster that probably will close the campaign.

"Probably going to have to activate him," Anzalone said of what seems to be an organizational decision. "I don't have many other choices."

Fultz had surgery on a toe last month. He had four goals and 13 assists in 41 games and filled in on defense on occasion.

"I've always wanted to be here, doing the best I can for the team," Fultz said. "When they need me, they need me and, hopefully, it's now."

Firefighters on ice

Firefighters from the Quad-Cities and Chicago will clash in advance of an April 10 Mallards game vs. Bloomington at the i wireless Center.

The game will take place at 3 p.m., with $14 tickets including admission to that night's Mallards contest.

Half of the proceeds will aid fundraising efforts for veteran East Moline firefighter Pat Francois, who is battling cancer, and for the Wounded Warrior Project.


Saturday: Muskegon

When: 6 p.m.

Where: L.C. Walker Arena, Muskegon, Mich.

What you need to know: The Mallards will have played back-to-back games at L.C. Walker - six days apart. Only one more meeting - ever - between the two teams awaits April 3 in Michigan. The Lumberjacks will make way next year for a USHL junior team. ... The Mallards fell to 3-5-2-2 vs. the 'Jacks with Sunday's 5-2 loss in Muskegon. ... Muskegon (44-18-0-3) has won four of its past five, with two of those wins over the Mallards, and remains in first place. The 'Jacks lead Fort Wayne by six standings points. ... Todd Robinson, with 19 goals and 79 assists, is two points shy of 100 for the season. Robin Bouchard, who became minor-league hockey's all-time goals leader Sunday, has 56 goals and 38 assists and is six points shy of 100.

Sunday: Dayton

When: 4 p.m.

Where: i wireless Center, Moline

What you need to know: The Gems (23-38-3-1) haven't beaten anybody but the Mallards since Feb. 6, but they have beaten the Mallards four times in that span, which encompasses 19 games. ... The Mallards are 3-5-0-1 against the league's last-place team. ... Dayton is 10-21-2-0 on the road, but 2-3-0-0 at the iwC. ... The Gems lost two straight last weekend and were outscored 9-2 after what amounts to a white-flag trade of leading scorer John Snowden and defenseman Preston Briggs to Bloomington. ... The Gems have outscored the Mallards 4.22 to 3.56.