By Jim den Hollander
There are steep learning curves and then there is the Dells Ducks trying to make their way up the Everest-like curve this season.
Making things a little more difficult was the recent health issue that forced the team to the sidelines from practice and/or games for two weeks.
In their latest tests at the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Showcase played at Fogerty Ice Arena October 22-25, the Ducks suffered another four defeats, but found some small consolations.
After facing the Minnesota Blue Ox and dropping a lopsided decision on Thursday, the Ducks turned in its best offensive efforts of the season on Friday. After scoring just six times in its first seven games, the Ducks collected seven goals in a pair of games Friday but ultimately fell 8-4 to the Rochester Vipers and 5-3 to the Minnesota Mullets.
The Ducks headed home after another rough outing falling by a lopsided score again to the Minnesota Moose.
The losses drop the Ducks to 0-9-0-0 on the season so far with a tough assignment against the Hudson Havoc set for the Halloween weekend.
Listed below are some of the positive points from a rough weekend.
As stated above, the Ducks were able to find the net in a couple games and they were competitive in both. Against the Vipers, the Dells were even at 1-1 after the first 17-minute period and still very much in it despite trailing 4-2 with a period to play. Against the Mullets, the Ducks scored first and entered the second period even at 1-1. Trailing 2-1 after two, the Mullets scored early and both teams fired a pair in the game’s final two minutes.
- Despite some lopsided scores, the goaltending is showing signs of brilliance. There are certainly some down times for the goaltenders, but the Ducks continue to be grossly outshot. In the four weekend games, the margin was 191-59 in favor of the four opponents for an average of 48-15 per game. In the game against the Mullets, the Ducks – thanks to some solid work in the blue paint from Anthony Falzone, were in the game from start to finish despite being outshot 35-14. The three goals on 14 shots in not too shabby either.
- The scoring is getting little more spread out and some players – Liam Hogan, Logan Potts, and Aaron Sherlock, who seemed a little snake bit on their chances earlier this season all hit the game sheet. It was a breakthrough weekend for Collin Driscoll, the ’02 from Warwick, R.I. hitting the game sheet three times.
- The players seem to have addressed the discipline issue that plagued its recent defeats. The team sat a total of 38 minutes over the weekend – an average of about four minors per game and there were no majors or misconducts. In the first three games, the Ducks were either even with its opponent in penalty minutes or served less than their opponent.
Make no mistake – there are still miles to cover, but for the young Ducks, looking for positives wherever they can find them, these are all promising signs.
The month of November was already a light one for the Ducks and the postponement of the East Coast Showcase, scheduled for the month gives the team plenty of time to work on their game and prepare themselves for the heart of the season in December and January.