FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Quad-City Mallards didn't have many on-ice struggles in their first 20 seasons. There were multiple 50-win seasons, three championships, and playoffs in all but two of the years.
Saturday, the Mallards reached maybe their lowest point as a franchise.
A 7-0 loss to the Fort Wayne Komets at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum marked the eighth straight loss for the Mallards, a franchise record, surpassing a seven-game losing streak in 2009.
The seven-goal deficit is the largest since an 8-1 loss to Rockford on March 14, 2007, back in the United Hockey League.
The Mallards have won just once this month, a 5-3 win over Kansas City on Dec. 2, and have recorded just one point over this losing streak.
"We have to stay positive and stay healthy over break," said head coach Phil Axtell, who last year coached the team to its longest win streak since 2004. "It doesn't help when we lose half our lineup with the affiliation change (from Minnesota to Vegas) and have to rebuild with an extremely inexperienced team due to the salary cap."
It is a different team than the one that won 40 games last year, with just four players from that team on the ice Saturday night.
Fort Wayne, which has kept much of its core from the team that beat the Mallards in the first round of the playoffs, jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from former Mallard Logan Nelson at the 12-minute, 24-second mark of the first period. Nelson had a goal and an assist, and another former Mallard Mason Baptista also scored.
The Komet lead was 3-0 after the second period, and Fort Wayne added four goals in the third period.
Fort Wayne was two of three on the power play, and the Mallards have now allowed goals on five of their last seven penalty kills.
"It all starts with face-offs," Axtell said. "It will be addressed."
The Komets were off Friday while the Mallards endured a back and forth, 7-4 loss to Cincinnati in Moline before traveling to Indiana. The Mallards are now idle with the holiday break until resuming practice on Dec. 28.
"That (fatigue) showed in the third period," Axtell said. "We need to use our Christmas break to regroup and recharge our batteries. A new season starts after the break."