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The Quad City Ice Eagle Bantam travel team shook off one of its poorest performances of the season in a non-conference game against the Decatur Flames and then roared back in the important league game to claim a 5-2 victory and move another step closer to the CIHL championship.The Eagles can clinch the title with a victory next week in Peoria.


When Decatur came to town Saturday morning, it was with the knowledge that their group of second year bantam players had never beaten the Ice Eagles in ten tries, although they did manage a couple of ties at Decatur in 1998.Perhaps the Eagles also remembered their total domination, and that was definitely to work against them in the first game of the day, which had been designated as the non-league game.With the game less than a minute old, Decaturís Pangrac gave his club a 1-0 when his backhand shot eluded a totally screened Brandon Kruse.The Eagles seemed pretty disinterested in the contest, posting just one shot on goal in the gameís first ten minutes, but they perked up briefly late in the first period when Les Mooney scored with 1:25 left with assists going to Jason Corcoran and Mark Muenstermann.A minute later with the clock winding down, John Carr and Ryne Takacs broke in on a two-on-one break.Using his linemate as a decoy, Carr waited to the last minute and beat the Decatur goalie with a high shot over his shoulder to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead after one period.


The second period was a real yawner, with neither team able to score, and Decatur outshooting the Eagles 4-3.Decatur picked up the pace in the third period, and tied the game at two when Pangrac scored with 6:57 to play, and then took the lead just 18 seconds later as Johnson scored.The Flames then took a two-goal lead when Baker broke loose and beat Kruse on a nice backhand effort with 4:17 left.


Coach Moon left no doubt he was very disappointed in the Eaglesí first game effort which saw them collect a season-low total of nine shots on goal, but the players knew that they could redeem themselves with a better effort in the second game.


The Eagles came out for game two with a lot more intensity, and the teams battled on equal terms until Q-C exploded for three goals in the final four minutes of the first period.The Eagles took the lead when Defenseman Robbie Jacobsen fired a low slap shot from about forty feet that beat the Decatur netminder along the ice, assisted by Jack Hasselbusch and Austin Busch.The Eagles then really got a lift when they scored two more goals in the final 20 seconds of the period.Ryne Takacs got the second Eagle goal at 11:50, assisted by Hasselbusch, and Josh Moon further demoralized the Flames when he scored on a high wrist shot just nine seconds later, with Takacs picking up the assist.


The Eagles continued to pressure the Decatur net in the second period, and put the game away midway through the frame.Takacs got his second of the game at 9:56, assisted by Carr and Welsh, and less than three minutes later, Moon tallied his second of the game at the 7:05 mark.Moonís goal was set up by Jacobsen and Corcoran, and ballooned the lead to 5-0.Decatur put on a brief flurry late in the second, when Vercellinoís long shot deflected off Brandon Balsarís stick and slipped by Goalie Brandon Morgan at 4:41, and then Pangrac scored his third of the day just 11 seconds later to cut the lead to 5-2.But the Eagle defense got back on track, and QC took a 5-2 lead into the third period, but not before a melee in front of the Eagle net sent Corcoran, Moon and two Flames to the penalty box, all with roughing minors.


The third period had no scoring, but the intensity and frustration of the Decatur team was building.With four minutes remaining, Decaturís primary thug, Johnson, took a run at Mark Muenstermann and was nailed for charging.Finally, as the game ended, tempers boiled over and a number of skirmishes broke out, with three Decatur players (Hocking, Nicholls and Vercellino) and two Eagles (Takacs and Morgan) all receiving 5-minute majors for fighting.


The split with Decatur moves the Eaglesí overall record to 28-9-1, but more importantly the conference win improves the CIHL record to 8-1, with one to play against the Peoria Chiefs next Sunday.The season concluded with two games against Ames and then the season ending tournament at Notre Dame.