Home success carries Mallards to division lead

With eight straight wins at home and a 10-0-1 mark in their last 11 games at iWireless Center, the Quad City Mallards have moved into the top spot in the Midwest Division. Quad City is 11-7-3 overall this season and with 25 points, holds a two-point lead over Cincinnati for the division lead.

After beginning last week with a 4-1 loss at Missouri on Wednesday, the Mallards returned for three games over the weekend, and started the stretch with a 3-1 over Kalamazoo on Friday. Sam Warning led the way for Quad City in the win with a pair of goals while Guillaume Gelinas chipped in with two assists. Steve Michalek picked up the win in goal with 34 saves on 35 K-Wings’ shots.

On Saturday, Quad City edged Cincinnati 2-1 in a showdown of the top two teams in the Midwest Division. Matt Neal and Olivier Archambault provided the Mallards’ offense in the win and Brody Hoffman stopped 30 shots, including 13 in the final period, to earn the win.

The Mallards ended the week with a final minute comeback win over Indy on Sunday. Trailing 2-0 in the closing minute of regulation, Ryan Tesink scored with 30 seconds left to make it a one-goal game and Neal scored with 11 seconds left to force overtime. In the extra session, Austin Coldwell scored his first goal of the season with 46 seconds remaining to give Quad City the win.

Neal has been one of the top rookies in the ECHL this season as he is tied for first among first-year players with nine goals and is fourth among rookies with 18 points. Fellow rookie Zach Pochiro is tied for eighth among first-year players with 13 points (5g-8a). Archambault leads the Mallards, and is tied for 10th in the league, with 19 points (6g-13a) in 17 games.

Michalek ranks 11th overall among goaltenders, and is fourth among rookies, with a 2.22 goals-against average. His .927 save percentage is seventh overall and second among first-year goaltenders.

The Mallards opens a four-game road trip with a pair of games this week, traveling to Cincinnati on Tuesday and Evansville on Saturday.