CINCINNATI — Though the result hasn't changed, the Quad-City Mallards like the way they're progressing on the road.
The Mallards fell behind by three goals, a deficit they couldn't make up in a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones at U.S. Bank Arena.
Though the team is winless away from the TaxSlayer Center, 0-3-0 on the road, head coach Phil Axtell feels the team is continuing to make strides.
"I think it was our best performance on the road," he said. "We've just got to build off it, a lot of good things and we've got to build off it."
The game started at 9:30 a.m., but the early start time didn't affect the team's preparation or start in the eyes of Axtell.
"They were great, they were here, they executed for the most part, just got to play 60, not 55," he said.
The Mallards fell behind late in the first period on the first of Eric Knodel's three goals, the first coming at the 17-minute, 56-mark of the first frame.
Following a goal from Shawn O'Donnell, Knodel grabbed his second goal on the power play at 8:47 to give the Cyclones a 3-0 lead.
"We had some chances, some point blank shots," Axtell said. "Just couldn't capitalize and we had some breakdowns at their blue line that led to odd-man rushes for a couple of their goals."
Tyler Wong put the Mallards on the board with a 5-on-3 marker, his first goal in three games since joining the team from the Chicago Wolves. Cincinnati countered in the third period with a goal from Arvin Atwal. Kyle Follmer scored on the power play as the Mallards went 2-for-5 on the man advantage but Knodel's empty net goal sealed the game and gave Knodel the hat trick.
Tristan King had two assists while Sam Warning and Brayden Low each added an assist for the Mallards. Ivan Kulbakov made 20 saves as the Mallards outshot the Cyclones 26-25.
The Mallards return home to host the Tulsa Oilers Friday at 7 p.m.