Jimmy D’s Top 10 Games — #4

Norrman takes over — 2019

The Ducks have won some huge games and come up short a time or two as well. Other than its second season though, there were few upset wins as the Ducks were almost always the favorite.

Emil Norrman changed that in his season with the Ducks – 2018-19 on at least a couple occasions, including the opening round playoff series. The Swedish goaltender gave glimpses a few times through a tough regular season of what he could do, and he loaded the whole team on his back for the opening round playoff series against the heavily favored Hudson Havoc.

Emil Norrman

Favored for good reason actually, with a 31-11-1-1 regular season record, the Havoc finished with 64 points, tied for first, but moved out of the top spot due to one less win than the Minnesota Moose on the final day of the regular season. That left the Havoc 26-points clear of the seventh place Ducks.

They should have dominated the series and they did — everywhere except the scoreboard. The Ducks kept it close in the opener, winning 2-1 as Norrman turned aside 31 of 32 shots, the Ducks outshot 32-24.

The host squad, facing elimination, squeezed a little tighter in the middle game and came away with a 6-3 margin and a shots on goal edge of 38-18.

In the finale, Emil Norrman faced 52 shots and was not beaten, making a third period goal by Connor Aguilar stand up as all the offense in a 1-0 Ducks win.

The dream ended there as the Minnesota Moose threw 51 shots at Norrman in a 3-1 win and wrapped up a berth at Nationals with another 49 shots and a 4-0 win in the clincher.

Jimmy D’s Top 10 Games — #5

Let’s Get it Started – 2011

In the past nine years, I would estimate the Ducks have played somewhere around 500 hockey games – maybe a few more. That includes regular season, playoffs, pre-season and exhibitions against College teams.

But one of their best was regular season game number one.

Matt Rowe

The Ducks opened the 2011-12 Minnesota Junior Hockey League season with a road trip to the Twin Cities, a patch of interstate I have become extremely familiar with in the past decade. The first game was in Bloomington against the Twin City Northern Lights.

Being our first game, we were new to traditions such as the five-minute and three-minute horn and in Bloomington, the Teddy Bear Toss. Hometown fans purchased, or more accurately rented a stuffed animal upon arriving at the game and then threw it on the ice following the team’s first goal.

The game itself was the best part, it seemed a back and forth contest won by the Ducks by a goal (either 3-2 or more likely 4-3) on a goal with about five minutes to play from Nick Brenneman, a native of Fargo, N.D.

But Matt Rowe was the hero in an opener as he backstopped the squad with more than 50 saves in handing a team one of the few defeats it would suffer that season on its way to a league title.

The following day, with time to spare before another thriller in Isanti, the Ducks headed to the annual NAHL Showcase event in Blaine to kill a few hours and found the team and in particular, Rowe, was the take of the rink.

That opening game win propelled the Ducks into the league, and they stayed near the top of the standings for the first few months, ultimately sliding back to a near .500 showing. Not bad at all for a first-year team.