By Jim den Hollander
A short-staffed and under the weather Dells Ducks team turned in two solid, if not successful efforts in the first two games of a three-game road trip.
After a 5-1 Friday night against the Minnesota Mullets, the Ducks turned in an even tougher challenge Saturday evening, the Mullets clinching a 5-2 win with five ticks on the clock into an empty Ducks’ cage at the Augsburg University Ice Arena.
The Ducks welcomed back former team member Jason Heard who collected 50 points (21g, 29a) in 81 games with the team in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Formerly a Georgia resident, Heard now calls Chicago home but has agreed to join the team on weekends to help.
Heard made his presence felt with a goal and assist Saturday, moving him into a tie with Brett Johnson for 16th place on the Ducks’ all-time scoring leader list.
Heard was just one of the stories in the two-game set, sharing the spotlight with Caden Glamkowski and Jayden Tkaczuk who both scored as well and the goaltending tandem of Drew Moseley and rookie William Carney, who made an exceptional junior debut.
Mosely went between the pipes Friday night, getting off to a bit of a shaky start with two goals against in the opening 5:30 of the contest, but then backstopping his team to 28:23 without letting anything past, going deep into the second before the Mullets finally connected on a couple more despite a lopsided 21-8 edge on the shot clock through the middle period.
Moseley ended up with 43 saves on the night.
The Ducks gained some consolation in this one as Glamkowski fired his seventh goal of the season with just over five minutes to go, denying Mullets’ goaltender Alex Falkenhagen a shutout.
Overall, the Mullets held an edge of 48-34 edge on the shot clock, probably the Ducks’ lowest shots against and for sure its most shots for by a country mile.
On Saturday night, Carney went to the blue paint for the first time and passed a huge test, beaten just once in the first and final periods and twice in a second period that saw him face a 23-shot barrage. With his work in goal, the Ducks remained in contention in this one until the final period.
The Mullets owned a 1-0 lead after a period and goals by Glamkowski and Heard kept it a one-goal deficit heading to the final frame. Tkaczuk, Heard and Jake Cartland collected assists for the Ducks.
Unfortunately, despite a marked improvement in all areas, the Ducks have little to show for the efforts, falling to 1-9-0-0 early in the season.
The Ducks were scheduled to stop in Owatonna’s Four Seasons Center to play the Steele County Blades on Sunday, then return home to begin preparation for a four-game weekend at the Midwest-West Showcase tournament at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine, MN beginning Thursday.