Playing their sixth game in 10 days, the Quad-City Mallards overcame tired legs to beat the St. Charles Chill 3-1 Sunday at The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
The Mallards came out slow in the first period, only getting six shots on goal and failing to score.
"It was a scenario where we played a hard game (Saturday) night, got little sleep, traveled all the way here, got off the bus and played," Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski said. "It was bus legs, jet lag, whatever you want to call it. Two tired hockey teams."
Mallards goalie Ty Rimmer kept the Chill off the board in the first period, stopping all eight shots he faced.
Vladimir Nikiforov's power-play goal at the 10-minute, 48-second mark of the second period gave the Mallards a 1-0 lead.
"We moved the puck pretty well, got in a scenario where it was 'bam bam,'" Ruskowski said. "It was on a line rush that we got the goal. Any way we can get it, I'll take it."
Steve Anthony scored a power-play goal of his own for the Chill at 16:29 to tie the game heading into the second intermission.
After being outshot 20-14 in the first two periods, the Mallards outshot the Chill 7-4 in the third period and retook the lead on Mike Hellyer's goal at 6:15.
"He owed us one," Ruskowski said of Hellyer. "He took a penalty where they scored a goal. That's what I like about players who give up one, when they get it back."
Thomas Frazee's empty-net goal at 19:57 sealed the win for the Mallards, who head into the holiday break in sixth place in the CHL standings with 29 points and the league's third-best winning percentage.
"We started off the season great, but once we started playing well, we were scoring all those goals," Ruskowski said. "Lately it’s been a defensive grind, but it’s good because we have the capability to score a lot of goals. But these last few games have shown me that we can grind it out as well."