Despite strong defense and great goalie play in the first period – and much of the second — the game between the Quad-City Mallards and Fort Wayne Komets had the feeling of a game a team on a long losing streak would eventually lose.
That’s exactly what happened at the TaxSlayer Center Saturday.
The Mallards lost their 10th straight game, falling to the Komets 5-0. The Mallards also lost 7-0 to the Komets last week.
The Komets took command in the second period, breaking a scoreless tie by scoring two goals in the final five minutes of the period, one by Mason Baptista and the other by Louick Marcotte.
Marcotte’s came off a nice pass at the 17-minutes, 10-second mark ofthe period from Dan Maggio that found him about 10 feet out directly in front of the net for the shothanded goal. At the 15:02 mark, it was Baptista who scored the game’s first goal on a rebound shot tap-in.
After that Garrett Thompson’s 15th goal of the season put the game seemingly out of reach, 7:30 into the third period as he slapped it in from the crease. Then with 10:43 left Shawn Szydlowski’s tap-in put it away off assists from Baptista and Thompson. It was Szydlowski’s 16th goal of the season. He also had two assists Saturday.
The fans began to leave when the Komets went up 5-0 shortly thereafter on Marcotte’s second goal of the game.
“Once again, it was our biggest deficiency, which is not playing a full 60 minutes,” Mallards coach Phil Axtell said. “That’s what it boiled down to.”
The first period was definitely a battle of the goalies. The Mallards’ Eric Hartzell had a variety of saves among his 17 in the first period including catching three, stopping a couple with his shin pads and a few with his stick.
The defense in front of him was not bad either. The Mallards survived one power play, too. The only problem really was the Komets’ goalie, Garrett Bartus, had 14 saves of his own. Matt Pohlkamp had three shots in the period for the Mallards. He later missed a break-away in the second period that was blocked by Bartus, who had 25 saves in the first two periods and got the shutout.
When the Mallards look back on this one, they will remember their inability to take advantage of five power play opportunities in the game
“Yeah, we had opportunities,” Axtell said. “We gave up the shortie. It’s frustrating. The first one squeaked in. We were standing still. We watched the play.
“The second one, the same thing on the shorthanded goal. The third one, a rebound right to his stick and into the net.”
For the game, Fort Wayne put up 52 shots to the Mallards’ 34.
“We have to get better,” Axtell said of what he would tell his team. “We need to execute and do it for 60 minutes. We can do it. We did it tonight for half the game. And then we got away from the game plan and didn’t play team hockey on the ice. We’ve got to pay attention to details.”
The Mallards hit the road to try and break the streak, facing Kalamazoo today at 2 p.m.