By Jim den Hollander
After a pair of tough weekend losses against the Rum River Mallards, the Dells Ducks showed up Monday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena ready to move on and prepare for its next challenge – the Chicago Cougars.
Outscored 21-5 in two weekend contests (13-4 and 8-1), the Ducks players technically had a day off Sunday, but Head Coach Shaun Falzone said he gathered the players to study film and get a jump on the preparations in front of them.
Of course, nobody is pleased after back-to-back lopsided losses, but the improvement from Friday to Saturday and some diamonds in the rough gave an indication the team is on the right track to shaking off the bad habits that have followed the players into a new season.
It’s an uphill battle because everyone else is improving every day as well, but a young Ducks team and the coaches have identified the specific areas that need to be improved and once again, it starts in the team’s own end.
A marked improvement was evident on Saturday night, but there were also stretches where the Mallards set up what seemed a near permanent camp inside the Ducks’ blueline. The Mallards collected two goals on six powerplays, but the Ducks also killed off a major thanks in part to the stellar work between the pipes of ’02 goaltender Drew Moseley on Saturday night. Anthony Falzone also had some bright moments Friday and both goaltenders came on in relief of the other in the weekend contests.
Bright points also included the first goals of the junior careers of Jake Cartland (‘02/East Troy, WI); Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL) and Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Newport Beach, CA) while veterans Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI) — on a penalty shot – and Logan Dineen (‘01/Great Falls, MT) also notched their first goals of the season.
Ejections and suspensions to some key players made life a bit more difficult, but some players took advantage of the opportunity with increased ice time and special teams play, turning in a solid effort. The Mallards did score twice on six powerplays Saturday, but the Ducks looked impressive despite that, including killing off a major penalty at a crucial time.
The Ducks will be back on the ice to face the Cougars, a rival from the Midwest-East Division both Friday and Saturday nights at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. Both games faceoff at 7:30 p.m.
Among the formalities early this week was the appointment of four captains for the Ducks. All four are returners as Jacobsen, Colin March (’03/McHenry, IL); Jayden Tkaczuk (’02/Channahon, IL) and Thomas Howell (’04/Gilmer, TX). As of their appointment, all four will share the leadership responsibility with no ‘C’s or ‘A’s being presented at this time.
Ian Wood joined a Dells Ducks team eager to take the next step after reaching the MNJHL Minnesota Division championship game the previous season when he joined the team in the fall of 2013.
The following season the Pittsburgh, PA native wore the ‘C’ on his chest and helped the team claim the Bush Cup as MNJHL Champions. Both seasons ended with Wood and the Ducks playing at USA Hockey Nationals in the Hartford, CT area.
Also on the team in that second season with Tyler Forest, from Simi Valley, CA.
Wood went on to play four more seasons of hockey at Morrisville State College in the NCAA Division 3 SUNY Conference, once again wearing the Captain’s ‘C’ for his final two seasons there.
Forest also moved on to play in College, spending a season with the ACHA team at Williston State College before moving on to play Division 3 at Becker College in Worcester, MA.
Forest turned 27 on Sept. 13 and Wood also turned 27 on Monday (Sept. 20). Belated as it is, Saukhockey.info and the Dells Ducks hope both of these key players from our championship season enjoyed a Happy Birthday.