ST. CHARLES, Mo. — The Quad-City Mallards sealed their playoff destiny Saturday with a 5-0 win over the St. Charles Chill at The Family Arena.
The win clinches the fifth overall seed for the Mallards in the Central Hockey League playoffs. The Mallards open up the playoffs Friday at Rapid City.
"It's good knowing we got the fifth place wrapped up," coach Terry Ruskowski said. "You never know what hockey does. Underdog teams that aren't supposed to win can win ... you never know."
Gergo Nagy scored bookend goals and goalie Thomas Heemskerk made 22 saves to record his third shutout of the season — all against the Chill — and third-straight win after losing his previous nine games.
"We needed him and he came up large and answered the call," Ruskowski said. "Like everything else, when you have confidence going into the game ... (the puck) looks like a watermelon coming at you."
Nagy started the scoring at the 10-minute, 19-second mark of the first period to give the Mallards a 1-0 win over the last-place Chill, who ended their season with just 11 wins on the year.
Mike Stinziani scored just before the first intermission at 19:57 to give the Mallards a 2-0 lead after the first period.
"That was really big," Ruskowski said. "It took the wind out of their sails."
The Mallards added three more goals, capped by a breakaway power play goal at 19:09 in the third period.
The Mallards wrap up the regular season today hosting the first-place Missouri Mavericks at the iWireless Center at 4:05 p.m.
"It's important to play well tomorrow and keep what we're doing in the right direction," Ruskowski said. "Not dwell on what we did. Yesterday's goals don't win today's games."