Games: The Mallards trade home dates with Bloomington, hosting tonight at Moline's i wireless Center and visiting Saturday at Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Both games start at 7:05 p.m.|
Radio: WFXN-AM 1230 & wfxn.net. Webcast: myqcmallards.com (pay-per-view CHL TV). Twitter updates: @DanTomlin (Friday only).
Special: Military Appreciation Night, with $5 tickets for current and former military personnel. Mallards fans and local businesses also have donated "Seats for Soldiers" to the annual event. Email (email@example.com) or call (309) 277-1364 for more information.
Also: $1 beers and $1 hot dogs at the concession stands.
Storyline: In a battle for postseason position, the Mallards meet Bloomington thrice over the next five days. The Flock (19-19-5, 43 points) trail their arch-rivals by three standings points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Central Hockey League. Bloomington (22-19-2, 46 points) is 4-4-1 against QC this season, having dropped three of the last four meetings, including an 8-2 thrashing at the i-wi in the most-recent game on Jan. 29. After this stretch, the two clubs meet seven more times in QC's final 20 regular-season games.
News: League scoring leader Bloomington has dropped three straight and five of its last six. A two-and-a-half week road stretch has been unkind to the Blaze. The NHL's Chicago Blackhawks also haven't helped, reassigning high-scoring forward David Gilbert to Triple-A AHL Rockford a couple of times in the last month. Defenseman Ryan Palmer also became the fifth Bloomington player to make a lateral midseason move to the Double-A ECHL earlier this week. To help counter, the Blaze made a splash at Monday's CHL trading deadline, acquiring veteran center Brett Lutes from Denver for rookie defenseman Michael Trebish.
Notes: Since returning from a brief AHL promotion with Rockford, QC scoring leader Mickey Lang has seven points in three games. ... Lang has 21 points in the Mallards' longest scoring streak of the season, 11 games dating back to Jan. 5. ... Lang ranks among the CHL's Top 5 in points (54) and goals (24). ... QC's Mike's — Hellyer (37 points) and Stinziani (36) — are two of the CHL's top three rookie scorers. ... QC's Jason Dixon played in his 200th career game Tuesday. ... Once the CHL's worst power play, QC has scored on the man-advantage in seven straight games for a 9-for-33 success rate.
Around the league: QC rival Missouri has lost goalie Mathieu Corbeil to a Triple-A call-up with the AHL's Chicago Wolves. ... The Mavs also waived former Mallard defenseman Taylor Vichorek before Tuesday's win in QC. ... League-leading Allen got Jamie Schaafsma from AHL Houston to replace promoted Ryley Grantham. The Americans have won just once since Jan. 8, going 1-5-5 in that time. ... Arizona has yet to name a new coach in the wake of David Lohrei's shocking resignation last week. Injured player Jeff Kyrzakos has guided the team to three road wins in the interim, including last weekend at Allen. ... League-worst Tulsa has won four straight, scoring 20 goals in the streak.
Next: The Mallards finish off this three-game stretch with Bloomington at home Tuesday.
-- By Steve Tappa, firstname.lastname@example.org