By Jim den Hollander
After two weeks of quarantine, the Dells Ducks found it difficult to stay with the Rochester Vipers and fell to 0-5 in USPHL Premier League play on Sunday night at Lake Delton Ice Arena.
The Vipers took advantage of rebound opportunities and some discipline issues on the Ducks’ side rolling to a 9-1 win, one of the biggest victories in the team’s three-season history.
The team appeared to hit stride about halfway through the middle period, but by then the visiting Vipers, who celebrated its first victory of the season the previous evening, had already racked up five goals.
The Vipers opened the scoring in the game’s third minute and never looked back, running to a 4-0 first period cushion. The toughest goal for the Ducks was the fourth, scored with 64 seconds to play in the period.
The Ducks showed its first signs of real offensive power firing three of it’s seven first period shots in a span of about 90 seconds. Not only was the team unsuccessful in finding the mesh, when the Vipers did finally clear the zone it resulted in an odd man rush the other way and ultimately, a goal by Vince Palade.
The Ducks did appear more engaged in the contest from the start of the middle segment and despite going down by another goal in the sixth minute, the team responded just 35 seconds later, Jayden Tkaczuk gathering in the rebound of a shot by Adam Brown and backhanding it into a wide open side of the goal. Dillon Collings also collected an assist on the goal.
That was the end of the offense for the Ducks though and after a tame first period that saw just two minor penalties called, the Ducks went off the rails in terms of discipline collecting two majors and a couple 10-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second half of the game.
The Ducks collected 43 minutes in penalties in the contest, all but four minutes coming after the Ducks’ lone goal. The Vipers were assessed just one minor penalty along with a major and game misconduct that saw ’01 forward Reider Stelzl and ’02 Rochester forward Gus Hughes getting the gate for the game’s lone fight in the second period.
The Vipers carried a 6-1 lead into the third period then added three more unanswered markers to wrap up a big weekend.
Anthony Falzone turned aside 26 first period shots for the Ducks, Brendan Williamson adding another 34 saves in the final 40 minutes. The Vipers also swapped goalies near the halfway mark of the game, starter Patrick Kristo turning aside all but one of the 13 shots he faced and Sean Bolduc unbeaten with 12 saves.
The Ducks will attend its first of three Showcase tournaments beginning Thursday as all nine of the league’s Midwest-West Division teams will take part in an event at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine.
The Ducks will faceoff at 12:20 p.m. on Thursday against the Minnesota Blue Ox, then return for two on Friday – 9:20 a.m. against the Rochester Vipers once again and then returning at 5:40 against the Minnesota Mullets. The Ducks will wrap up on Saturday night with a 6:20 p.m. game against the Minnesota Moose.