The Quad-City Mallards will chase a Central Hockey League championship with the majority of the current roster intact.

The team did not make any moves ahead of the CHL trade deadline, which expired at 3 p.m. Monday.

Coach and general manager Terry Ruskowski cited team chemistry as his main reason for not making any moves.

"This team is pretty close-knit, they like each other," he said. "There's no cliques, they like each other, and we've got guys who can play with anybody."

The roster assembled by Ruskowski has produced a 19-10-8 record and sits in sixth place in the standings. The Mallards, though, have played the fewest games in the league and boast the fourth-best winning percentage (.622).

"You win together, you lose together," Ruskowski said. "That's their mentality. Even though somebody might have made a mistake, it's always the team, not the individual, and that's good to have."

There weren't many needs for the Mallards before the trade deadline, but recent call-ups — forward Jim McKenzie has spent a month with the Iowa Wild of the AHL — led to holes that the Mallards decided to fill by looking to the lower-level leagues. They signed Justin Fox of the Southern Professional Hockey League on Jan. 15.

With the European signing deadline set for Feb. 10, Ruskowski said moves still could be made depending on production.

"If we find a guy who's not playing up to his potential, and I give him the warning to pick it up and he doesn't, then we're going to find, somehow, someway another guy who can take his spot," he said.

Goalie Thomas Heemskerk was called up to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat on Monday. This is the fourth call-up this season for Heemskerk, who hasn't seen any AHL playing time with Iowa or the Worcester Sharks this year.

"It would be more valuable experience if he played and he could get in some games to show them he can play up there," Ruskowski said. "For me, trying to have to find another goalie to fill his spot. It's probably getting more monotonous for him than it is for me."

Ruskowski said the team plans on signing goalie Alex Kangas pending a physical. This season, Kangas has played in three games with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL as well as three games with the San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL before the team folded. He has a 2.94 goals against average and .864 save percentage in those six games.


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times