Friday, October 24, 7:05 p.m.
iWireless Center, Moline
Rapid City Rush vs. Quad City Mallards
Saturday, October 25, 7:05 p.m.
iWireless Center, Moline
Rapid City Rush vs. Quad City Mallards
2013-14: 33-23-10, 76 points
5th place, Central Hockey League
Coach: Terry Ruskowski
2013-14: 39-23-4, 82 points
4th place, Central Hockey League
Coach: Joe Ferras
The Mallards moved to the ECHL from the Central Hockey League earlier this month along with the Allen Americans, Brampton Beast, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers and Wichita Thunder to form the ECHL’s Central Division. The ECHL is the fourth different league in which the Mallards have played, following the Colonial/United Hockey League (1995-2007), International Hockey League (2009-2010) and Central Hockey League (2010-2014).
Nine Mallards have previously played in the ECHL: Kevin Baker, Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel, Matt Duffy, Evan Haney, Darren McMillan, Parker Milner, Kyle Thomas, Garrett Vermeersch and Ben Woodley.
The Mallards Friday meet the Rush for the first time since April 30 when the Mallards won the seventh and deciding game of the opening round Central Hockey League playoff series between the two clubs 3-2 in Rapid City. This also marks the second straight season and third time in the last four years the Mallards will open against the Rush. The Mallards dropped their 2013-14 CHL curtain raiser to the Rush 6-4 on October 19 of last year and lost their first game of the 2011-12 campaign 5-1 to Rapid City.
Home Sweet Home
The Mallards play their first two games and four of their first five at home. After this weekend’s two game set against the Rush, the Mallards will travel to Rapid City for a rematch next Tuesday. The Mallards will return home to host the Cincinnati Cyclones- who last year reached the ECHL Kelly Cup finals- on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1.
Blink of an Eye
Mallards coach and general manager Terry Ruskowski Friday night will step behind an ECHL bench for the first time in 7,510 days. Ruskowski’s final game as coach of the ECHL’s Columbus Chill was a 6-4 second round playoff loss to the Toledo Storm on April 2, 1994. Since then he has coached in the International Hockey League (Houston Aeros), United Hockey League (Knoxville Speed) and CHL (Mallards, Laredo Bucks and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees).
Return, Take 2
Kevin Baker returns to the ECHL with the Mallards this season. Baker, the 2008-09 ECHL Most Valuable Player, spent the last season plus in the Central Hockey League with the Arizona Sundogs. Baker last played in the ECHL for the Evansville IceMen in 2013. Baker has scored 190 goals and added 202 assists for 392 points in 367 career ECHL games for the IceMen, Texas Wildcatters, Florida Everblades, Stockton Thunder and Orlando Solar Bears.
Jeff Lee returns for his second season with the Mallards after leading the team in points (60) while playing in all 66 regular season games last season. Lee will face some old friends when the Mallards meet the Rush this weekend. He skated for Rapid City as a rookie in 2012-13.
Mac is Back
Defenseman Darren McMillan during the offseason announced his plans to retire after the coming campaign. McMillan’s final season in professional hockey will be his sixth with the Mallards and his fifth as team captain. Should he, as expected, take the ice this Friday, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native will become the only player who has skated for the team in each of the six seasons since the Mallards returned to the ice in 2009. McMillan, 34, has played 261 games for the Mallards, sixth most in team history. He is three games away from catching Rick Emmett- who played 264 times for the Mallards between 1996 and 2001- and moving into a tie for fifth place. McMillan has missed just three games over the last four seasons.
Back on the Blue Line
McMillan is, along with Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel, Matt Duffy, Nick Grasso, Darren McMillan, Mike Monfredo and Nicholas Rioux, one of six defenseman returning from last season’s Mallard squad. In all, nine players are back from last year. Forwards Lee, Justin Fox and Joe Perry join the blue line sextet in re-upping with the Flock.
The Mallards have added a pair of Europeans in Russian-born Finnish forward Antti Pusa and Danish defenseman Jannik Christensen. Pusa split last season between Herning in Denmark and TuTo in Finland after previously playing in France and Austria. Prior to making the move across the Atlantic, Christensen spent the bulk of his career in his home town with the Esbjerg Energy.
Between the Pipes
The Mallards’ two goaltenders are new to the team this season. Parker Milner joins the Mallards after turning pro last season with the Stockton Thunder- and also seeing action for the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Milner’s highly decorated collegiate career climaxed when he backstopped Boston College to the 2012 NCAA title. Rookie Evan Mosher was named to the All-Canadian second team after shining for Acadia University last season.
The Mallards have suffered regulation defeats in each of their five home openers since the team returned to the ice in 2009 following a two year interregnum during which the Quad City Flames competed in the American Hockey League. The Mallards are winless (0-5-1) in their last six home openers. The Flock last started its home slate with a win on October 21, 2005 while in the United Hockey League when it downed the Motor City Mechanics 4-3 in a shootout.
Home Sweet Home, Take 2
The Mallards went 19-11-3 at home last season after winning exactly 20 home games each of the prior two seasons.
The Mallards finished last season fourth in the CHL in penalty killing (83.7 percent) and ranked ninth on the power play (14.3 percent). The Mallards, who scored shorthanded 12 times last season, led the CHL in shorthanded goals each of the last two seasons.
Head to Head
The Mallards went 3-2-1 against Rapid City during the 2013-14 regular season. The Mallards went 2-1-0 against the Rush on home ice. All time, the Mallards have gone 12-8-2 overall in the regular season and 7-4-0 at the iWireless Center against the Rush. Last spring’s seven game battle was the first playoff match-up between the two clubs.
UPCOMING HOME GAMES
Friday, October 24, 7:05 p.m.- Mallards vs. Rapid City
$1 Dog/$1 Beer Friday presented by 97X and MetroLINK
Beginning with opening night, fans again this season will enjoyed $1 hot dogs and beers from iWireless Center concession stands during all Friday home games. 97X will follow in the spirit of the evening by presenting hot dog-themed intermission entertainment.
Saturday, October 25, 7:05 p.m.- Mallards vs. Rapid City
The Mallards and Rush will no doubt ramp up their rivalry when they meet for the second time in as many nights.
ON THE AIR
Fox Sports Radio 1230 is the radio home of Mallards Hockey Presented by Genesis Power Sports Performance. Mallards games broadcast on AM 1230 also stream live online at www.wfxn.net. A limited number of Mallards games will not air on Fox Sports Radio 1230 due to conflicts with University of Illinois basketball and football and Green Bay Packer football. ECHL-TV pay-per-view video webcasts of all Mallards games are also available at myqcmallards.net.
Single Game Tickets
Single game tickets for all Mallards regular season contests are now available. Fans can contact the Mallards at (309) 277-1364 or
for more information about tickets. Single game tickets are also available at the iWireless Center box office, at Ticketmaster outlets, through www.ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free. The box 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.
Groups of at least ten receive savings off the walk-up price and a host of group benefits. Mallards group tickets are a great fit for youth organizations, friends, co-workers, family groups, religious groups, school functions and business events. For more group ticket information, fans can contact the Mallards at (309) 277-1364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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