NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas – The Fort Worth Brahmas took a two games to none advantage in their series with the Quad City Mallards thanks to an overtime goal by veteran John Snowden that capped off a 3-2 come from behind win.
The Mallards came out flying and looked like a team that badly wanted to earn the split before heading home while the Brahmas seemed flat to open the game. Quad City’s tenacity finally payed off when they took the 1-0 lead 14:56 into the first period. An ill-timed pass by Snowden was snatched up by the Mallards’ Jason Dixon. Dixon took it into the Brahmas zone before hitting Darren McMillan with a great pass and McMillan did a spin-o-rama and beat Kristofer Westblom for the shorthanded goal.
Fort Worth didn’t waste any time getting tying goal. With Quad City’s Obi Aduba back in the box for his second straight penalty, Tomas Klempa took a pass from Sy Nutkevitch and beat the Mallards’ Neil Conway high blocker side. Ross Rouleau got the secondary assist on the tying goal.
The Mallards regained the lead less than two minutes later with a controversial goal. A long shot by Matt Carlson was tipped by Mickey Lang. All of the Brahmas immediately began protesting to referee Zak Blazic that it deflected off of a high stick but Blazic emphatically said it was a good goal. McMillan got credit for the other assist on the goal.
The second period ended up being scoreless. Quad City came out flying just like they had in the first period but the Brahmas came alive as time wore on and turned a 10-7 shot disadvantage after the first into a 21-15 advantage after 40 minutes.
Late in the period there was a scrum in the corner with a few face washes and some jabs. There was a little more drama after things got split up but the only penalties that resulted were coincidental roughing minors to the Mallards Lang and Fort Worth’s Sy Nutkevitch.
The Brahmas struck early into the third period when Cal Wild ripped a shot from the left side of the slot that went top shelf over Conway’s left shoulder to tie the game at two goals apiece. Adam Hogg and Rouleau got the helpers on Wild’s first goal of the post season.
As the third period drew on, the Brahmas continued to get the bulk of the scoring chances but were unable to convert for various reasons.
After things still weren’t settled following 60 minutes of play, the game headed to overtime. Both teams got decent chances early but Conway and Westblom were there to make the saves.
The Brahmas were sustaining some pressure when they finally broke through as Conway was expecting a rebound jammed his way, the puck found its way onto John Snowden’s stick. Snowden fired a shot that hit a Quad City player in front of the net before going under Conway’s leg and into the goal 4:47 into overtime. Brendon Hodge and Colby Pridham assisted on the tally.
Wildfong liked what he saw from his team and the game.
“I thought it was a playoff hockey game,” he said. “It was tight all the way though. I thought we had a little bit of a slow start but other than that it was very defensive out there.”
Wildfong made sure to note that the series is not just two game and when asked if he was glad the Mallards were unable to get their goal of a split.
“Definitely,” he said. “We make sure we have home ice advantage but they’re a tough team in their building so we’ve got to focus on that.”
The series will continue at the i wireless Center in Moline, Ill. on Wednesday evening.
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