Jr. Blues provide inspiration for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander



Game Week!

While last week was also billed as a Game week, it was for exhibition contest. Today (Sept. 14), the Dells Ducks hit the ice at the Lake Delton Ice Arena for games one and two of 44 on the USPHL Premier Midwest-West schedule against the Rum River Mallards.

Dells Ducks

After returning in the wee hours of Sunday night from a busy and distant exhibition weekend near Detroit, the lone activity Monday was a team meeting and a visit from the trainer for the players nursing bumps and bruises.

On Tuesday, Coach Mario Lachica said the team ran a practice with flow drills and most stayed near the rink for a treat in the early afternoon as the Springfield Jr. Blues, a North American Hockey League (Tier 2) team stopped by to run a practice at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

The Blues ran a good practice and looked good in its first two games, back-to-back 4-1 wins in Janesville against the host Jets Friday and Saturday. The Blues stopped off on their way to the annual NAHL Showcase tournament at National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn. All things considered, the season has started well for the Jr. Blues, who sat out the 2020-21 NAHL seson.

That event will begin Wednesday (Sept. 15) with the Blues facing off against the Jamestown Rebels at 7:30 p.m. with its first of four games in four days. Other opponents include the Odessa Jackalopes, Aberdeen Wings and Bismarck Bobcats for the Blues who will then return home and prepare for their own home opener against the Minnesota Magicians Oct. 1-2.

Coaches and players both enjoyed watching the Blues’ practice. It was a valuable experience for the young Ducks team who now know the level of play required to play at the Tier 2 level and for the coaches who were able to chat with Springfield coaches, make some friends and possible contacts for the future as well.

But the real focus for now is on the Rum River Mallards who will be in two for Friday’s season opener at 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow Saukhockey.info will run a preview on the series.


Thunderbirds hockey varsity hits the ice

By Jim den Hollander



The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds hit the ice for the first time Monday (Sept. 13) night at Lake Delton Ice Arena.

With regular coaches unable to be a part of the practices, Mark Tylka a local hockey enthusiast and one time member of the ACHA Division 1 Oklahoma Sooners stepped in to run a high paced practice and scrimmage in the first of several one-hour pre-season skates for the Thunderbirds.

In a post practice interview senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl said the solid turnout of 15 or so skaters and two goaltenders came despite short notice of the practice taking place and the turnout could be even better in the weeks ahead. Of course, like every team, there are a core of players involved in fall sports as well.

Thunderbirds will begin regular practices in early November and the first regular season game will be Nov. 23 at Pierce Park Pavilion against the Viroqua Blackhawks.