News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Brian Lavelle   
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 14:28
MOLINE, Ill. (January 27, 2014) – Goaltender Thomas Heemskerk and defenseman Nicholas Rioux have returned to the Quad City Mallards from the American Hockey League and goaltender Nick Niedert has been waived, the Mallards announced today.

Heemskerk, 23, rejoins the Mallards from the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, with whom Heemskerk signed a professional tryout agreement on January 15.  The 6’ 0”, 210-pound Chilliwack, British Columbia native served as back-up in a half dozen games without seeing any action for the Sharks.  With the Mallards, Heemskerk has suffered just one regulation loss this season, going 9-1-4 in 15 games.  Heemskerk ranks second in the Central Hockey League in goals against average (2.45) and save percentage (.920).  He is unbeaten in regulation in his last five CHL games, a stretch during which he has posted a 4-0-1 record, a 1.57 goals against average, a .944 save percentage and two shutouts.

His tour with the Sharks was Heemskerk’s third AHL call-up this season.  The third year netminder joined the Iowa Wild for a pair of stints as a back-up earlier in the campaign.  Heemskerk is no stranger to Worcester, having seen action for the Sharks each of the last two seasons.  Over two games last year with the San Jose Sharks’ top affiliate, Heemskerk turned aside 27 of the 29 shots he faced in 67 minutes, turning in a 1.79 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.  In four games with Worcester in 2011-12, he went 0-1-0 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.

Heemskerk spent the bulk of his first two seasons in the ECHL.  Last year he went 14-17-3 with a 3.10 goals against average and a .906 save percentage in 38 games with the San Francisco Bulls.  Heemskerk began his professional career in 2011-12 with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder, for whom he posted a record of 13-12-0 along with a 3.27 goals against average and a .893 save percentage in 25 games.

Rioux, 27, comes back to the Mallards after a second successive stint with Iowa.  The Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, product was first signed to a P.T.O. by the Wild on January 6, briefly returned to the Mallards last Monday and last Tuesday was called up to Iowa for a second time.  In all, he played six games for the Wild during which he went without a point and registered a plus/minus rating of +1.

Rioux has scored twice and totaled 12 points while posting a plus/minus of +11 in 28 games with the Mallards this season.

Rioux joined the Mallards after spending last year with the CHL’s Bloomington Blaze, for whom he scored seven goals and totaled 27 points while turning in a plus/minus rating of +3.  The 6’ 1”, 205-pound blue liner played in each of the Blaze’s 66 regular season games and, before moving up to Iowa, had missed just a single CHL game over his first three professional campaigns.

This season is Rioux’s second under Mallards coach and general manager Terry Ruskowski.  Rioux first skated for Ruskowski as a rookie with the CHL’s Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in 2011-12.  Rioux scored five times, produced 21 points and posted a plus/minus rating of +5 in 65 games with the Killer Bees.

The 31-year old Niedert, who signed with the Mallards for the second time this season when Heemskerk departed for Worcester, made his debut for the club on January 17 in Wichita, making eight saves and giving up two goals after entering what proved to a 7-1 Mallard loss to the Thunder at the beginning of the third period.  Niedert has spent most of the season with the Danville Dashers of the Federal Hockey League while also tending goal in one ECHL game for the Utah Grizzlies this year.  The.  The 5’ 8”, 185-pound native of Hudson, Iowa, has gone 3-9-1 with a 5.05 goals against average and a .874 save percentage in 13 games with the Dashers.

Niedert played for five teams in four leagues last season- the Gwinnett Gladiators and Reading Royals of the ECHL, the Bloomington Blaze of the CHL, the August RiverHawks of the Southern Professional Hockey League and the Danbury Whalers of the FHL.  Over the course of his nine-year career, Niedert has played for 23 teams in nine different leagues after competing for five teams over three seasons of junior hockey.  He first wore the Mallards’ colors during the club’s 2011 training camp.

The Mallards next play at home Friday night at 7:05 p.m. against the Tulsa Oilers.  Friday is another $1 Dog/$1 Beer Night presented by 97X.  $1 hot dogs and beers will be available at iWireless Center concession stands during each of the Mallards’ 11 Friday night home games this season.

Tickets for Friday night’s game and all Mallards regular season home games can be purchased at the iWireless Center ticket office, Ticketmaster outlets, through ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000.  The ticket office is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the second period.
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