It is easy to think there would be some sort of an emotional hangover for the Quad-City Mallards Saturday night.
Less than 24 hours after their game against the Tulsa Oilers was suspended due to a medical emergency suffered by Tulsa head coach Rob Murray, the Mallards fell 5-1 to the Kansas City Mavericks at the TaxSlayer Center.
If there were any lasting effects from the shock of Friday night, they didn't hit until the third period.
The Mallards played right with the Mavericks for the first two periods, trailing by one goal before giving up four goals in a span of four minutes, 40 seconds in the final period.
"We're not making excuses," head coach Phil Axtell said. "It was tough, I was up late, I was thinking about it until the wee hours of the morning and I'm sure some guys were too, but the four minute-lapse was in the third period, not in the first or the second."
Darren Nowick started the run, weaving through the Mallards defense before burying a power play goal past Ivan Kulbakov at the 6-minute, 9-second mark of the period. Mark Cooper added the second goal and Hunter Smith scored the third at 9:09 as the Mavericks scored on three straight shots.
"I think we played a good game, but lost it a little bit there and that's all it takes," defenseman Jacob Graves said.
Mike McMurtry added the final goal at 10:49.
Brayden Low scored the only goal of the game for the Mallards, deflecting the puck past Kansas City goaltender Mason McDonald for a power-play goal at 12:45 in the third period. Low also scored in the suspended game Friday night and is on a six-game point streak with goals in five of his last six games.
"They smelled blood and they went," Axtell said. "I told the guys, take that 4:40 out of the game, it's a 1-1 game and it's probably one of our better efforts as a team. But we've got to play 60 and not 55:20."
The Mallards have to put Saturday night — and in reality Friday night — behind them as they face the Mavericks again today at 4 p.m.
"I don't think we played our worst game by any means," defenseman Willie Raskob said. "We had a five-minute span where they scored four goals and they came out on top ... it's just a matter of playing a complete game, 60 minutes. We may have played 55 minutes, but it wasn't 60 and that's why we lost."
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead into the third period, capitalizing on a period of sustained pressure. The Mavericks kept the puck in the Quad-City zone midway through the second period until Jordan Kwas roofed a backhand past Kulbakov at 11:29 to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead.
Kulbakov made 31 saves in his 11th straight start for the Mallards while McDonald made 21 saves for the Mavericks. Axtell said Branden Komm will be starting in net today, making his first start since being acquired by the Mallards from the Utah Grizzlies on Nov. 8.
Murray discharged from hospital: According to Tulsa Oilers vice president of communications and play-by-play announcer John Peterson, Murray was discharged from the hospital Saturday afternoon.
"Coach Murray is being discharged and expected to make a full recovery," Peterson tweeted at 4:36 p.m. "Thanks to the wonderful staff at Trinity Medical Center for taking care of him. Special thanks to our trainer Steve Lintern and the @myqcmallards doctors on-site for their heroic efforts last night."
Murray spent Friday night at Trinity West after collapsing in the second period due to dehydration and exhaustion. The Oilers stayed in Moline overnight before traveling to Indianapolis where they fell to the Indy Fuel 4-3 with assistant coach Zac Desjardins acting as head coach.
"It's one of those things you hear about but are never a part of," Raskob said. "It's definitely something you don't expect and you hope for the best for their coach and their team."