Jimmy D’s top 10 Games — #10

Ducks players celebrate the series winning overtime goal against the Illiana Blackbirds in the spring of 2016. They went on to face another stiff three game series against the Cougars on the road in the next round.

Game 10 – Ducks 3 Illiana Blackbirds 2 (ot) Feb. 29, 2016

The 2015-16 season was ultimately the most successful of the nine Ducks’ seasons so far as it is the only season of the first nine that ended with a win.
However, it almost ended before the good stuff even started.

Despite an awesome 38-8-2 record, the Ducks, finished its first season in the USPHL ranked third in its USP3HL Midwest Western Division. The 78 points put up was two fewer than the 39-7-2 Forest Lake Lakers and one less than the 37-8-1 Chicago Cougars.

The third seeded Ducks hosted the sixth seeded Illiana Blackbirds (23-22-2) at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena and appeared ready to brush them aside with a 3-0 shutout (one of many that season for goaltender Jared Young). In the Friday night contest.

The Blackbirds refused to go quietly, pulling out a 2-1 win on Saturday night and forcing a third and deciding game in the Division quarterfinal to wrap up the weekend.

In the finale, a last-minute goal pushed the game into overtime and suddenly it was a next-goal wins situation for the Ducks and Blackbirds.

The Ducks finally secured the win on a bit of a controversial play as once chance was waved off by the official but without a whistle. As the ref was signaling ‘no goal’ one of the players (I believe David Kaplan, but I could have that wrong) lifted the loose puck over the Illiana goaltender. The official quickly changed the washout to a ‘point’ for the goal and the Ducks survived to move on and play the Chicago Cougars in another thrilling three-game series that ultimately sent them to the National Championship tournament.

The reason my own memory of this goal is so vivid is because I was stationed directly behind the net as the goal judge. It was a rare occasion for me at the switch and it is the last time I ever did it.


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