By Jim den Hollander
After collecting its first two wins of the season against a pair of United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) Midwest-East opponents, the Dells Ducks continued to look strong against a top-notch Great Lakes Division opponent Saturday (Dec. 19) at the USPHL Chicago Showcase.
Smedley turned in another brilliant effort between the pipes and the other players were clearly inspired, turning in the best 200-foot effort of the season despite dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Pittsburgh Vengeance
Playing a team locked into an intense battle for top spot in its own division, the Ducks were outshot by a margin of 34-29 in the overtime contest. But, for a team routinely outshot be 40, these numbers – both the 34 against and the 29 for, are remarkable and testament of a team that appears to have chosen the pre-Christmas tournament as its turning point on the season.
Teams were even at 1-1 after a period and the Ducks actually led early in the middle frame but needed a late goal from Trent Bachman (‘00/DeForest, Wis.) to send this one to overtime.
The other Ducks’ goals came from Andrew Wilkinson (‘03/Crystal Lake, Ill.) and Justin Ely (‘01/Fayetteville, N.C.) and assists were added by Luke Marks (‘00/Andover, Minn.); Adam Brown (‘02/Westmont, Ill.) with a pair; Liam Hogan (‘02/West Greenwich, R.I.) and Liam Donovan (‘03/Commack, N.Y.).
Nick Tessier ended it for the Vengeance 1:48 into the extra period so, while the Ducks’ first winning streak of the season ended at two games, the Ducks entered the final game of the weekend against MHC, another Great Lakes Division team the following day, it was unbeaten in regulation through three games.