Ducks leave it all on ice at Nationals
In the spring of 2014, the Dells Ducks made its first trip to USA Hockey Tier 3 Junior Nationals in Simsbury, Conn.
Playing in one of three four-team pools, the Ducks
needed a big effort in its round-robin finale against the Florida Junior Blades.
After opening the event with a hard-fought 3-1 win against the Boston Bandits the Ducks dropped a 5-1 decision to the North Iowa Bulls in the second round and was in a position where it needed to win with as wide a gap as possible to grab the lone Wildcard spot for the tournament semi-finals.
Despite peppering the Florida goaltender with 50 shots in the contest, the Ducks were unable to pull away from its opponent until the final couple minutes when Brett Johnson converted an Ian Harris feed to clinch a 5-3 win and open up its first lead of more than a goal.
The Ducks threw all it had at the Blades in the opening 20 minutes but entered the second period deadlocked at 0-0.
Ducks grabbed a lead three times in the middle period on goals by Ian Wood, Joey Bower and Layne Martin but on all three occasions, the Blades battled back to even the score.
Bower’s second goal 8:53 into the final period finally put the Ducks in front to stay. Following the game, the team had to wait to find out if the goal scoring differential was enough to play another day.
The team enjoyed a fun night at a local Off-Track Betting/Restaurant spot where, among other things, they watched the UW-Badgers basketball team fall in a Final Four Showdown. Ironically, the UConn Huskies played the earlier game and as a result the Hartford Area watering hole was packed upon their arrival, emptying quickly though as the local fans returned home to celebrate their team’s victory.
Head Coach Bill Zaniboni received the bad news later in the evening, the Ducks denied a shot at their own final four by fractions of a goal.
But the team knew it had left all it had on the ice that weekend.