By Jim den Hollander
The Dells Ducks absorbed a couple more losses this past weekend, but the young building squad saw a small, but marked improvement from Saturday to Sunday and individually, a core group is quietly putting up some awesome offensive numbers.
The task may not be getting tougher, but for sure more frequent as the team is now well into a long and busy stretch that will not relent until Thanksgiving.
The next two weeks is the busiest of all with 10 games in just over two weeks beginning with a three-game road trip, starting in the Twin Cities, and wrapping up Sunday in Owatonna, MN. The first two games will be against the Minnesota Mullets, a team off to a similarly slow start to the season and equally as desperate to turn things around. On the other hand, the Steele County Blades who will entertain the Ducks on Sunday are off to an awesome 4-1-0-1 start and battling among the division leaders.
Previously known as the Lakers (out of Edina and Maple Grove), since its transformation to the Mullets, the team coached by Chris Walby, a Sauk County area native has a record of 10-3 against the Ducks. Last season the two teams battled four times; all Mullets wins by a combined score of 32-5.
This season the Mullets have faced a tough schedule out of the gate and sit at 2-4 and looking forward to a chance to even its record up.
The Blades have won the past seven meetings against the Ducks including five from last season and as a result, they now have a 9-5 edge in meetings with the local team dating back to the 2018-19 regular season.
While the Ducks have found it tough to find the win column again this season with just one ‘W’ in its first eight contests, there are some sparkling individual numbers. The team that put up just 65 goals in 43 contests a year ago has already scored 18 in eight games this season.
Caden Glamkowski, a rookie forward from St. Charles, IL has played a big part, in on all but five of the team’s goals so far. He has six goals and 13 points and is one of a group of players on a pace for an offensive season.
Bryce Jacobson has three goals and 11 points through the first eight games – two more points than he collected in a half season in 2020-21. Jacob Cartland, another rookie, from Mukwonago, WI, was one of the WIAA’s leading scorers with KMMO last season and has made a seamless transition to the junior level with six goals and nine points. Also, Jayden Tkaczuk, the team’s top scorer with 19 points a season ago has missed half of the eight with a suspension but still has a goal and seven points in the other four.
The team’s youngest player, rookie defender Jack Kopfstein, an ‘05 from California has shown poise and maturity beyond his years despite playing as part of an understaffed and overworked defense corps. Goaltenders Anthony Falzone and Drew Moseley have handled the bulk of the workload and while facing as many shots in a period as most will in a game, they have remained confident and excited about their work between the pipes. The effort and intensity belie the stats they have been saddled with.
After this weekend, the Ducks will return home for a few practices before attending its first of three Showcase events before Christmas. This one involves the eight Midwest-West Division teams and will be held at the Fogerty Ice Arena Oct. 22-25. Following that, the team will begin November with a three-game weekend in its final homestand of 2021.