Posted Online: Dec. 09, 2012, 8:33 pm

Mallards struggle to 4th straight loss

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WICHITA, Kan. -- At least Quad City Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski found one reason to laugh on Sunday.

Following his team's fourth straight loss, a 3-1 setback to the Wichita Thunder, Ruskowski was asked how he was.

"You are really going to ask me that?'' the frustrated coach replied, to which the follow up was a reminder that his team did snap an 0-for-33 stretch on the power play. "Thanks for looking at the bright side. We did finally get one on the power play."

Aside from Patrik Levesque's third-period tally on the man advantage that made it a 3-1 game, Ruskowski saw nothing to make him think his team is ready to win anytime soon.

"I just don't understand our thinking,'' Ruskowski said. "If the opponent takes us out of our system, we don't have players who can ad lib to make things work. (Sunday) we played one man high (in their own zone) and while they did score a goal in the first, they really had no other chances.

"I reminded them between periods to keep doing that and we would eventually find a way to get a goal or two and win this thing. Instead, everyone went back down low and they scored twice and put the game away."

That wasn't Ruskowski's only problem with his team against the Thunder. When QC had the puck, the Mallards seemed to have a hard time connecting on passes and getting anything set up.

"We missed 40 passes in this one, I'm not kidding,'' he said. "That's the kind of stuff you should learn in pee wee, not in the pros. I can't talk for them to tell you if it is a case where our guys are thinking too much because the losing is getting to them.

"I know that I've got to make some moves because this group isn't getting it done and we have got to get better."

That's easier said than done. With the CHL's condensed schedule, tracking down players is difficult to do.

"There is a lot of truth to that,'' Ruskowski said. "There is no time to look for players, so what you are forced to do is take the word of someone else. Up to now, the people telling me about many of these players are lying to me because they can't play."

The Mallards return to the ice Wednesday morning for a game at 10 in Bloomington.