Frank Anzalone didn't have the right words. Terry Harrison and Chris Lipsett could only grimace and shake their heads.
Between the three members of the Quad City Mallards organization - head coach Anzalone and Mallards players Harrison and Lipsett - their nonverbal cues spoke volumes about Saturday night's 4-3 overtime loss to Muskegon at the i wireless center.
On each face, the meaning of Saturday night was clear: This was one that got away from the Mallards, who are still looking for their first 2008-09 home victory at the iwC.
"I don't know what to say; I don't really know what happened," Anzalone said. "We had some good chances, and the guys fought hard. At the end of the day, a couple of points got away."
The stats early on sure seemed to suggest that Anzalone was right. Quad-Cities (1-3-1-0) outshot Muskegon by a 2-to-1 margin through the first two periods, and for a good part of the third, and had twice as many power-play chances as the Lumberjacks (4-3-0-1). But the numbers didn't mean that the Mallards could convert. Just 2-for-22 on the power play coming into Saturday night, Quad-Cities had its struggles again, going 0-for-5, while giving up two man-advantage goals - including the game-winner - to Muskegon.
"I don't know if sloppy is the right word, but we've got to have the power-play working. We're missing a few pieces here and there, and you can see their guys are more relaxed when they're on the power play," Anzalone said.
Muskegon jumped out to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back goals just 15 seconds apart, but Quad-Cities rallied with a nice goal from Mike Zbriger, who rifled in a shot just over the left shoulder of Lumberjack goalie Matt Lundin to make it 2-1.
Harrison picked up his third goal of the season with 6:43 left in regulation as the Mallards started finding their offensive sea legs, making it 2-2, but Muskegon rallied to re-claim the lead less than a minute later. With his son celebrating a birthday and in attendance Saturday night, and while his dad's team pulled goalie Sebastien Laplante for an extra attacker, Lipsett tied the game at 3-3 with 13.9 seconds later.
But, the Lumberjacks secured the win nearly 31/2 minutes into overtime on a Tom Galvin shot that the Mallards thought should have been waved off before the shot was even fired.
"Our guys were sitting on our goal. It wasn't their guys," Anzalone said of the game-winner.
"We played a pretty good game, not great, but enough to get the win. We battled back to tie the game, and it was good to salvage that point. Maybe we can build from that, but it still hurts not to get three out of it," Lipsett said. "It still feels like a loss."
Now, the Mallards head to Flint for a 3 p.m. contest today still searching for an answer.
"We had a lot of fans, a lot of support, our fans are coming out, so we got to put a couple wins together," Harrison said. "We have to play better on our home ice. We've got to work harder on special teams. They can make you win or lose games, win or lose championships."
Muskegon 2 0 1 1 - 4
Quad-City 0 1 2 0 - 3
First period - M: Ryan Palmer (Brian Bicek), 5:49, M: Robin Bouchard (Todd Robinson, John DiPace), 6:04.
Second period - QC: Mike Zbriger (Patrick Levesque, Terry Harrison), 5:21.
Third period - QC: Harrison (Matt Burke), 13:43, M: DiPace (Tom Galvin, Robinson), 15:40 (pp); QC: Chris Lipsett (Domenic Maiani, Shane Lovdahl), 19:46.
Overtime - M: Galvin (Bouchard, Robinson), 3:24 (pp).
Saves - M: Matt Lundin 30-33, QC: Sebastien Laplante 19-23.
Shots - M 23, QC 33. Penalties - M: 6 for 15 minutes, QC: 5 for 13 minutes. Power play - M: 2-4, QC: 0-6.
Attendance - 4,629.