Two weeks ago, Gabriel Levesque was fighting to make his way into the Quad-City Mallards' lineup.
Now, it seems as though he's cementing his spot.
Levesque scored the game's only goal in the second period of the Mallards' 1-0 victory over the St. Charles Chill Saturday night at the iWireless Center. The Mallards' fifth game in nine days, Levesque has racked up five points in that stretch after not seeing the ice for four straight games.
"He's getting more involved in the game instead of sitting there waiting for his line to come up," Ruskowski said. "I see him talking to his linemates, trying to describe what he wants to do and how to do it, so he's getting more involved. Ever since he's come back, I think the lesson's been taught."
The Mallards, fresh off of their third straight loss — including a 3-2 loss to the Chill Wednesday — came out strong in the first period, but despite outshooting the Chill 8-4 in the first period, the Mallards couldn't score against St. Charles goaltender Robby Moss, and went into the first intermission locked in a scoreless tie.
"He's a very good goalie," Ruskowski said of Moss. "He's always given us trouble. In the games we lost, he was in net. He's a very good goalie, it's hard to get it by him."
With quality chances hard to come by halfway through the second period, Levesque skated through a check and beat Moss glove-side to give the Mallards the lead at the 9-minute, 7-second mark.
"It was a nice chip out from (Mike) Monfredo, and I was in a race with the defenseman and I just chipped it before him," Levesque said. "It was a 2-on-1, I thought the goalie might be thinking pass, so I just shot it. I think I surprised him."
From there, the Mallards relied on the play of Thomas Heemkserk, who had just returned to the team after a brief call-up to the Mallards' American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild. Heemskerk stopped 19 shots in the win to get his first shutout of the season.
"I thought the team played really well, especially defensively, a pretty tight-checking game today," Heemskerk said. "I was fortunate not to have too many scoring chances against me. It was a good night for me and my confidence."