Bloomington Blaze goalie Ross MacKinnon reaches for the puck during the Quad City Mallards 6-3 win on Friday, March 22, 2013 at iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. (Photo courtesy Sean Flynn/Quad City Mallards)
By Greg Halbleib
MOLINE - The Bloomington Blaze dropped a 6-3 decision to the Quad City Mallards on Friday night at iWireless Center.
The Mallards opened the scoring on a weaving drive through the slot by Patrick Levesque, who completed a wrister on assists from Jason Dixon and Matt Duffy with 16:21 left in the opening period. Nicolas Rioux evened the game with 12:47 remaining in the first period when he found a loose puck and backhanded a wrister at close range, assisted by David Gilbert and Jared Walker. The Flock converted the game's first power play with 5:33 left in the first period when Darren McMillan put a rebound into an open net at the left post, helped by Mike Stinziani and Levesque to put the hosts ahead 2-1.
Quad City opened the lead to 3-1 with 18:26 remaining in the second period on a running drive from the right circle by Jason Kostadine, assisted by Bob Preece and Matt Boyd. Mickey Lang capitalized on a Blaze turnover with a blast from the slot to give the Mallards a 4-1 lead with 11:41 left in the middle chapter assisted by Anthony Perdicaro and Matt Boyd, ending the night for starting Blaze goalie Ross MacKinnon. The Mallards kept the onslaught going just 19 seconds later when Shayne Toporowski beat relief goalie Pier-Olivier Pelletier for a 5-1 lead. The Blaze scored a power play tally with 9:39 left in chapter two on a redirect by Jared Walker from a Jon Booras feed, also assisted by Nicklas Lindberg, to cut the deficit to 5-2 at the second intermission.
The Blaze cut the margin to 5-3 on a Matthew Larke rebound goal assisted by Booras and Travis Granbois just 56 seconds into the third period. The Mallards countered on a double rebound converted by Matt Boyd with 5:00 left in regulation, assisted by Anthony Perdicaro and Mickey Lang, to give the Flock a 6-3 advantage.
MacKinnon took the loss in goal with seven saves, while John Murray earned the win with 32 saves. The Blaze were 1-for-3 on the power play while the Mallards converted their only man advantage.
The Blaze's final home game of the season is Saturday at 7:05 p.m. against the Mallards on Fan Appreciation Night, featuring team end-of-season awards before the opening face-off and an auction of the black game jerseys immediately after the contest. A silent auction is underway for the red game jerseys at the season ticket table at U.S. Cellular Coliseum through the first period with the winners announced during the first intermission. The Blaze then conclude their second season against the Mallards on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. at iWireless Center in Moline.
Junior Blaze fall in playoff opener: The Junior Blaze dropped a defensive affair in Game 1 of the Midwest Junior Hockey League playoffs, falling 1-0 to the top seed Hartland Hounds on Friday in Brighton, Mich. Gavin Carlson made 30 saves for Bloomington. Game 2 of the best-of-three series remains in Michigan on Sunday.