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It took 44 minutes for the Quad-City Mallards to find the back of the net.

It took Matt Rupert 29 seconds to answer.

Rupert’s goal gave the Indy Fuel a one-goal lead in the third period, which quickly turned into three as the Mallards fell 4-1 to the Fuel on Friday night.

It was a frustrating night for the Mallards, who outplayed the Fuel for long stretches and outshot Indy 46-33 but had very little to show for it. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak.

"With all the chances we had, I can't believe. The goalie stood on his head. What are you going to do?" forward Matt Pohlkamp said. "We had a ton of Grade A's. I had a few myself. I got one, but it felt like I could have two or three more. Our whole line, everyone else, too."

Pohlkamp scored the only goal of the game for the Mallards, beating Matt Tomkins at the 4-minute, 7-second mark of the third period to tie the game, but Rupert answered at 4:36, burying a rebound after goalie C.J. Motte made a tough save on a deflection.

Stephen Collins made it 3-1 at 12:40, and Ryan Rupert capped the scoring at 14:16.

Motte made 29 saves in the game.

Despite controlling play for much of the first period, the Mallards fell behind 1-0 after the Fuel cashed in on one of their only chances in the frame. Josh Shalla slid a one-timer just past the pad of Motte, scoring on a 3-on-2 rush by Indy.

"When those things happen, when you get all the chances, then they get one and score, it's always a weird feeling," Pohlkamp said. "We were still positive. We were having all the chances. We figured we'd keep going, get a couple and not have to worry about it. Unfortunately that didn't happen."

A big reason the Mallards couldn't bury their chances was the play of Matt Tomkins, who made 45 saves on the night.

"We ran into a hot goalie," head coach Phil Axtell said. "He played unbelievable, stood on his head."

The Mallards also faltered on special teams, going 0-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.

The Mallards now host the Fort Wayne Komets tonight, a team that has handled Quad-City this year. The Mallards are 0-4-1 this season against the Komets and have been outscored 29-8 in those games, including back-to-back shutouts.

"We've just got to stick to the game plan. We got 46 shots, but we probably could have had 55. We had opportunities to shoot, and we tried passing. I thought the last four games we were much better at taking care of the puck when we were at dangerous areas of the ice. The effort was there. We just have to play a little bit smarter."


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times