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Kalamazoo's Eric Kattelus and Quad-City Mallrad's Nolan LaPorte battle for the puck, Wednesday, December 7, 2016, during second period action at the iWireless Center in Moline. The Mallards lost in a shootout 3-2.

It wasn't the start the Quad-City Mallards were looking for, and it resulted in an ending that won't sit well with them.

The worst part of the night was the first goal allowed by Adam Vay, just another example of just how raw the rookie is. The shot from Eric Kattelus was not a dangerous one, and should be stopped every single time. I'm not sure how Vay didn't stop it, but it's something he's going to have to learn and move on from, because even though he went on to play much better throughout the night, it did end up costing the Mallards.

That said, Vay isn't the biggest reason the Mallards lost this game. Frankly, for much of the game, the team seemed lethargic and the game itself was not very entertaining.

Crowd size can be a factor, and with Wednesday crowds never eye-popping, it seems like its hard for the team to get up and play with the energy it does when the stadium is full. That's my opinion, but it's not an excuse. The team has to find a way to bring the same intensity to every game, whether there's 8,000 people in the crowd or just 800. That consistency is a big reason many of these players are at this level, and until they find it, the team will continue to struggle.

The offense tonight simply wasn't there. The Mallards mustered just 25 shots in the game, and many of those came in the last 10 minutes of the game. There were some quality chances, but not nearly enough to trouble Joel Martin and the Wings. Dylan Labbe is the only reason the game went to a shootout, with two goals, which is good for him, but as a team, when a defenseman is the only goal-scorer of the night, that's usually a problem.

This is a very disappointing loss for the Mallards, even though they do get a point. With two games coming up against Cincinnati, one against Indy and another against Kalamazoo, this felt like an opportunity for the Mallards to gain some momentum, put together a winning streak and climb up the standings before a big two games against Fort Wayne and Tulsa before Christmas.

Now, the Mallards have to just settle for a point, which isn't the worst result, but with this being a home game, this really felt like a game the Mallards gave away.

Now, with four straight road games, the Mallards are going to have to reset and put this one behind them to avoid a prolonged stretch of troubles. Perhaps the team meeting will help the team refocus and realize they need to come out with the same intensity from start to finish, but at this point in the season, they should know that by now.

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Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times