1/25/2013 10:26:00 PM Quad City 5, Sundogs 0 Mallards thrash Sundogs, close in on tying Arizona for last playoff spot
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
The Sundogsí Matt Register (4) heads down the ice with Mike Hellyer of the Mallards in pursuit Friday night at Timís Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Johan Ryd looks for an opening Friday night at Timís Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
Three Sundogs returned from the injured reserve Friday, including forward Jake Hauswirth, and defensemen Karl Linden and Mario Larocque.
Arizona moved defenseman Gord Burnett from the 14-day injured reserve list to the 30-day IR on Friday. Forward Andrew Coles was waived.
The Daily Courier
Holding a narrow lead for the eighth and final Central Hockey League playoff spot heading into Friday, the Arizona Sundogs knew they were in for a challenge at home against the hungry ninth-place Quad City (Ill.) Mallards.
The Sundogs were no match for the Mallards on this night, though, as Quad City shut out Arizona 5-0 on the strength of three second-period goals in front of an announced crowd of 2,424 at Tim's Toyota Center.
Arizona, whose record dipped to 18-20-4 overall, became only the second squad in the 10-team CHL with 20 losses. The last-place Tulsa (Okla.) Oilers have 26 setbacks.
The Sundogs (10-9-2 at home) remain in eighth place with 40 points, but Quad City's nipping at their heels with 38 points.
Forward Obi Aduba staked the Mallards to a 2-0 lead with back-to-back goals 12 minutes and 9 seconds into regulation, and 18:46 into the first. Aduba scored on the power play via assists from Bob Preece and Matt Duffy and followed with an even-strength strike on helpers from Patrik Levesque and Michael Monfredo.
In the second, Patrik Levesque made it 3-0 Quad City only 19 seconds into the period on an assist from Aduba. The Mallards' Gabriel Boutin-Gagnon and Jason Kostadine iced the victory with even-strength goals at the 12:46 and 18:04 junctures of the second, respectively. Jason Dixon assisted Boutin-Gagnon, and Matt Boyd and Mitch McColm provided helpers for Kostadine.
The Sundogs out-shot the Mallards 36-28 for the game. But the hosts could not manage to break through against Quad City goalie John Murray, the league's eighth-best net minder whose record improved to 9-8-4 overall with a 2.69 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.
On Friday, Arizona went 0-for-4 on the power play. Forward Chad Nehring, who leads the CHL with 25 goals, has not lit the lamp in his past three games. He went on a CHL-best 13-game scoring streak from Dec. 18 to Jan. 19.
Arizona goalie Adam Russo also struggled, stopping just 23-of-28 Mallards shots. His record dipped to 10-7-3 with a 2.91 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.
Russo has now lost his last two decisions after racking up three straight wins from Jan. 8-18.
Friday night's loss was not the worst the Sundogs have suffered this season, however. Arizona has lost twice by six goals in 2012-13, including 6-0 at the Denver Cutthroats on Nov. 14, and 7-1 at home against the Allen (Texas) Americans on Nov. 23.
The Sundogs have now been shut out three times this season, although until Friday it had not happened since Nov. 30 in a 3-0 loss at the Fort Worth (Texas) Brahmas.
Arizona returns to the ice Saturday to finish off a two-game series against the Mallards. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.