FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Quad-City Mallards' defensive zone once again had its issues, and this time, the goaltending wasn't able to save the team.
The Mallards allowed 43 shots in a 7-1 loss to the Fort Wayne on Saturday at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, snapping a three-game winning streak for the Mallards. It's the first meeting between the two teams after the Komets beat the Mallards in five games of the first round of the playoffs last year.
"We just didn't have it tonight I guess," head coach Phil Axtell said. "Weren't getting pucks out, weren't getting pucks in ... they were fired up, ready to go, they brought it to us. Some of the best teams in the NHL get beat 7-1. It's still early in the season, we've just got to learn from it and better next time."
The Mallards are allowing 41.13 shots per game, second-worst in the league, but had been getting help from goaltender Ivan Kulbakov, who made a combined 132 saves in the last three wins.
Saturday was a different story as the Mallards allowed the final six goals and used both goaltenders in the loss, subbing in Alex Sakellaropoulos in the second period after Kulbakov allowed five goals on 27 shots in the first 30 minutes.
"I don't think it would have mattered. It was the guys in front of him," Axtell said. "It wouldn't have mattered who was in net."
Jason Binkley got the scoring started just 1:46 into the game before Sam Warning tied the game just 23 seconds later with his seventh goal of the season. But from then on it was all Komets, who got two goals each from Daniel Maggio, Marc-Olivier Roy and Garrett Thompson.
The Mallards were without forward Tristan King as well as defenseman Kyle Bigos, along with the continued absence of defenseman Jacob Graves. Bigos is plus-2 in three games, and Graves is plus-3 in three games, while King has been a strong center in the first three weeks of the season.
"We definitely missed them, but it wasn't that. Whoever is in the game should be able to compensate," Axtell said. "It's a game to learn from."