Quad City Mallards forward Mickey Lang (left) looks in on Bloomington Blaze defenseman Nicolas Rioux during the Mallards' 9-6 win on Friday, February 8, 2013 at iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. (Photo by Sarah Foster/Quad City Mallards)
By Greg Halbleib
MOLINE - The Bloomington Blaze lost their season-longest fourth straight game by giving up seven second period goals in a 9-6 loss to the Quad City Mallards at iWireless Center.
The Mallards opened the scoring 4:06 into the game on a power play goal by Obi Aduba, who took a feed unmolested at the doorstep on a combination from Jason Dixon and Bob Preece.
The Blaze evened the score just 13 seconds into the second period on a power play goal of their own when David Gilbert knocked in a drive from the bottom of the right circle on assists from defensemen Nicolas Rioux and Steve Makway. The Flock took a 2-1 lead with 17:12 left in the first when Anthony Perdicaro patiently lifted a wrister top shelf from the right circle on assists from Preece and Mike Hellyer, and Quad City made it 3-1 just 26 seconds later on a shot from the right point by Shayne Toporowski from Dixon and Mitch McColm. The Mallards scored twice more on an unassisted goal by Perdicaro with 13:18 left and a wraparound tally by Mike Stinziani with 10:24 remaining to build the lead to 5-1 and end the night for Blaze starting goalie Dan Dunn. Mickey Lang registered the fifth Quad City goal of the period on a rebound with 4:35 left to increase the lead to 6-1. David Gilbert scored a rebound goal on a power play with 2:39 left in the period, but the Mallard onslaught continued just 21 seconds later when Perdicaro completed his hat trick. Perdicaro fought Blaze forward Kyle Bochek a short time later to complete a Gordie Howe hat trick in addition to his three-goal hat trick. Bob Preece scored with 18.6 seconds left in the chapter to give the Mallards an 8-2 advantage with a seven-goal period, the most ever given up by the Blaze in a single period.
The Blaze again scored first in the third period with 17:27 left with a rebound goal by Brett Lutes from Jeremy Gates to compress the Mallard lead to 8-3. Matthew Larke drove a goal through the five-hole from the slot with 10:03 remaining to cut the hosts' lead to 8-4. Jared Walker redirected a Travis Granbois wrister with 7:20 left to cut the Blaze deficit to 8-5. The Mallards scored on a power play goal by Mike Hellyer from the slot with 1:33 left, but Matt Puntereri intercepted a pass at the Mallard blue line and scored an unassisted goal with 54.8 seconds left for the final 9-6 tally.
The nine goals is the most ever surrendered by the Blaze. Pelletier took the loss while Mallards netminder John Murray earned the win with 28 saves.
The Blaze return home Saturday for a 7:05 p.m. rematch with the Mallards on OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Heart Association Night, in which the Blaze will wear special jerseys that will be auctioned immediately after the game. The Blaze are also asking fans to "Paint the Coliseum Red" by wearing red, and anyone wearing red gets in for only $10. The Missouri Mavericks then visit U.S. Cellular Coliseum on Sunday for a 4:05 p.m. face-off.