The Quad-City Mallards didn't want to break a streak Wednesday.
Not their own, mind you, but the Mallards wanted to make sure the losing streak of the Indy Fuel remained intact.
It wasn't easy, but the Mallards handed the Fuel a 3-2 shootout loss, Indy's 14th straight, which is fourth all-time in league history. The Fuel's last two points — both shootout losses — have come at the iWireless Center, with a Nov. 25 loss starting this streak of Fuel futility.
Alex Petan scored the only goal of the shootout in the fifth round, while the Fuel missed on all five attempts, three stopped by goaltender C.J. Motte.
"It's hockey. You can't ever take anyone lightly because it's a sport that you never know, a couple of bad bounces either way and the opposite team can come out on top," forward Nolan LaPorte said. "It's a battle every game but those guys are definitely trying to break the schneid here and we don't want to be the team to let them do it."
LaPorte scored the game's first goal, beating Fuel goaltender Jake Hildebrand midway through the first period. LaPorte and the Mallards had chances throughout the first two periods but couldn't get anything else past Hildebrand, taking a 1-0 lead into the third period.
"I was really nervous because I thought after the first period, we really played well and it was only one goal up," head coach Terry Ruskowski said. "The second period we started to get these cute little fancy plays, backhand instead of shooting, going to the rebound, meat and potatoes ... it just wasn't working."
Motte had a shutout bid snapped by Ryan Keller less than seven minutes into the third period, but Donnie Harris gave the Mallards the lead back with a goal less than three minutes later. It was Harris' first goal in his first game back after missing the previous 13 with a lower body injury.
"I felt a little rusty at times in different parts of the game but overall it felt good to get that one," Harris said. "I've been working as much as I can (off the ice) and mimic game situations. It's tough to do but at the same time you've really got to work as hard as you can to get back in the lineup and contribute."
Josh Shalla tied the game with his fifth goal in the last two games, and sent the game to overtime. In the extra period, the Mallards controlled most of the play, but couldn't beat Hildebrand.
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The Mallards couldn't score until Petan's final goal in the shootout, but it didn't matter as Motte made three big saves, Shalla missed the net on an attempt and Alex Guptill lost the handle on the puck on the final attempt of the night.
"It's the first game after break so it's a little nervous coming back," said Motte, who made 31 saves. "By the shootout I was back in game mode."
Ruskowski said the way Motte had been playing gave him the confidence to elect to shoot first in the shootout, and Motte's presence certainly gave the team confidence on the bench.
"We've got a lot of confidence in C.J.," Harris said. "C.J. is a very good goaltender, he's one of the top goaltenders in the league, bar none. Obviously you never want to get in those situations but if you do, you want guys like that on your side."
Prior to the game, the Mallards signed veteran forward Ned Lukacevic to a standard player contract. Lukacevic, 30, started the season in Poland with GKS Katowice, where he scored six goals and added four assists for 10 points in 10 games. In his career, Lukacevic has scored 145 goals and added 210 assists for 355 points in 510 games. Lukacevic was also teammates with Mallards captain Chris Francis on the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers from 2010-12.