Baker, Neal returning to Mallards

MOLINE, Ill. – The Quad City Mallards have re-signed defenseman Jake Baker and forward Matt Neal.

Baker, 23, signed with the Mallards just after completing his college career at Norther Michigan University in the spring. The 6’ 5”, 223-pound blue liner recorded one assist along with a plus/minus rating of +5 in seven regular season games. Baker registered another assist while posting a plus/minus of +2 in seven playoff games.

Baker, who served as an NMU co-captain last season, scored eight points (5g-3a) in 36 games as a Wildcat senior. The Port Moody, British Columbia native notched 25 points (8g-17a) in 144 games over four collegiate seasons. Before heading to Northern Michigan, Baker spent three junior seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League where he skated for the Merritt Centennials, Nanaimo Clippers, Victoria Grizzlies and Trail Smoke Eaters.

Neal made an immediate impact after joining the Mallards out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in March. The 23-year-old piled up six points (1g-5a) in seven regular season games before scoring five points (3g-2a) in seven playoff games.

Neal notched 16 points (5g-11a) in 35 games as a senior at R.P.I. last season. In 2013-14, the Minesing, Ontario native set collegiate career highs by scoring 10 goals and recording 27 points in 37 games. Over his four seasons as an Engineer, Neal produced 77 points (25g-52a) in 127 games. Before arriving at R.P.I., Neal spent three seasons with the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Stouffville Spirit. He capped off his junior career in 2010-11 by ringing up 100 points (40g-60a) in 50 games to finish fourth in the OJHL in scoring.