Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2013, 6:27 pm

QC Mallards this weekend

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By Steve Tappa, stappa@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
The Denver Cutthroats' Brad Smyth and the Quad City Mallards' Mike Hellyer collided with Mallards goalie Neil Conway at the i wireless Center in Moline on Friday, January 4, 2013.
Games: The Mallards host Fort Worth tonight and Denver on Saturday at Moline's i wireless Center. Game time is 7:05 each night.

Radio: WFXN-AM 1230 & wfxn.net. Webcast: myqcmallards.com (pay-per-view CHL TV). Twitter updates: @ASandoval_DA (tonight) & @SteveTappa_DA (Saturday).

Friday special: "College Night" offers $1 beer and $1 hot dogs. The Mallards also will be auctioning off game-worn jerseys to benefit the Genesis Flu Free QC program.

Saturday special:Fans receive a coupon good for one free bag of concession stand popcorn.

Storyline: The Mallards open the weekend two points behind Arizona for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Central Hockey League. Fort Worth (20-13-4, 44 points) and Denver (19-13-4, 42 points) both rank ahead of QC (15-17-4, 34 points) yet own two of the Double-A circuit's worst road marks, each with only six wins away from home. The Mallards are 0-1-1 against Fort Worth, but tonight marks the Brahmas' first-ever visit to QC. Expansion Denver dropped its first and only other meeting with the Mallards on Jan. 4 at the i wi.

News: Former Mallard John Snowden earned the CHL's Player of the Week honor Monday for Fort Worth. Since joining the Brahmas just before Christmas, the veteran forward has 11 goals, 8 assists and a +14 plus/minus rating in 12 games. The Brahmas are 8-4-0 in that time to move up to third. Included were three wins in four games last week, two over league-leading Allen, with Snowden scoring at least a goal in each contest.

Notes: The 3M Line of Mickey Lang, Mike Stinziani and Mike Hellyer scored six of QC's nine goals last week. ... QC's scoring leader, Lang rides a six-game point-scoring streak and is tied for sixth league-wide in points (40) and goals (19). ... In 25 fewer games this season, Lang has matched his rookie production from last season. ... Stinziani (12 goals) and Hellyer (11 goals) rank among the CHL's top five scoring rookies with 26 points each. ... QC's Matt Duffy shares fifth league-wide among defensemen with 20 points, 17 via assist.

Around the league: Denver has activated CHL All-Star Brett Lutes from the injured reserve list. ... AHL Lake Erie also assigned Ben Wilson to Denver this week. ... Denver goalie Kent Patterson set the CHL's season high with 50 saves in a 2-1 win last Saturday over Arizona. ... Rapid City coach Joe Ferras moved into fifth in CHL history with his 320th victory last weekend. QC's Terry Ruskowski ranks just ahead of him with 393 CHL wins and counting. ... Fort Worth coach Dan Wildfong became the CHL's 14th 200-game winner last weekend. ... Brahmas defenseman Ross Rouleau has posted a +13 plus/minus mark in his last eight games.

Next: The Mallards visit Arizona next Friday and Saturday.

— By Steve Tappa, stappa@qconline.com