#13…Quad City Mallards @ Fort Wayne Komets
2000 United Hockey League Semi-Finals…Game 1.
I must admit, I missed nearly the entire game. From what I heard, it was quite a matchup of scoring chances and end to end rushes. In fact, I’m not even sure what the final score was, but I think it was 4-3.
The 1999-2000 season was something new to Fort Wayne Komets fans. It became a time where for the first time in franchise history, we dropped to AA hockey, forever leaving the IHL they had been a part of for close to 50 years. The United Hockey League was without question a lower level, but at the time was quite an exciting league to watch (that certainly changed later on unfortunately).
The Komets finished 4th in their 5 team division but still managed to make the playoffs. After rolling past their first two opponents, they met up with a minor league hockey mecha, the Quad City Mallards. Quad City had a huge fan base, they had some of the best players in the league, and were a part of something that would get them into the NHL hall of fame, winning 50 games in 5 consecutive seasons, the first pro hockey team to accomplish that feat.
Led by 50 goal scorers Kevin Kerr and Glenn Stewart, with 26-4 Martin Villeneuve backstopping the team in net, the Mallards were going to be a true test. What really helped bring out the big rivalry with Fort Wayne, was Komets longtime enemy in the IHL, Kerry Toporowski.
As I finally arrived at the end of regulation time, I get to my seat to meet with my friends. I hadn’t witnessed an overtime game in a few years and this one was to upset the almighty Mallards.
While the crowd wasn’t more than about 50% capacity, it was an exciting time as you could feel everyone creeping closer to the edge of their seat in anticipation to explode.
Then about 10 minutes into the period, Keli Corpse (If I remember correctly) fed a pass up to Bruce Ramsay, yes Bruce Ramsay, the UHL’s all time penalty minute leader who probably had no business being on the ice in overtime. Ramsay came in on Villeneuve all alone and put on an absolutely sick side to side deke and placed the puck into the net on the ice the whole way.
It was an amazing moment at the time mainly because of how exciting this playoff run was, but because I was around a lot of relatively new hockey fans that I helped turn on to the great sport. I know it was a thrill for them to see what they had just witnessed as well.
We also knew that we had just gone up 1 game to 0 on the Quad City Mallards.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last as the Mallards went on to win the series and play for the Cup.
Bruce Ramsay’s Overtime goal for the Komets to beat the Mallards in the 2000 UHL playoffs is #13 on my top sports moments.