By Jim den Hollander
Dells Ducks vs. Rum River Mallards – Weekend Preview
Rum River Mallards 9-33-2 – 20 points – 7th Place
Dells Ducks 3-28-2 – 8 points – 9th Place
The Dells Ducks will open its 2021-22 USPHL regular season this weekend with two home games against the Rum River Mallards. That will be one more game than the teams played against each other all last season.
The Mallards and Dells Ducks endured similar seasons last year, both enjoying a nice run at the annual Chicago Showcase just before the Christmas Break and hoping for it to be a turning point on the campaign.
The lone game between the two was played at Lake Delton Ice Arena on Jan. 10, the first game back after the Christmas Break, won 3-1 by the host Ducks. That gave the Ducks the upper hand on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Midwest-West Division, but the Mallards got hot down the stretch and took the spot away.
Since the Mallards entered the league in 2018, the Ducks and Mallards have squared off seven times and the Mallards have won six – last year’s win by the Ducks the first against this opponent. Adam Brown came alive with two goals in the win last season, the other scored by Jayden Tkaczuk.
The Mallards may have the edge in returning players, but the Ducks return both its leading scorer (Tkaczuk) from last year and Bryce Jacobsen who was one of the team’s hottest players in the second half.
In goal, the Ducks will likely lean heavily on ’02 returners Anthony Falzone and Drew Moseley on the opening weekend but rookie goaltenders William Carney (’03) and Jadon Mammen (’04) will both be available, and game-tested from the exhibition contests played near Detroit this past weekend.
It will be interesting for Moseley who played for the Mallards last season. All four Ducks’ goaltenders have looked solid between the pipes in practices and the exhibition contests.
Please note, a time change this season. All evening home games will begin at 7:30 p.m.