By Jim den Hollander
The young and short-staffed Dells Ducks continue to inch closer to respectability despite a growing number in the loss column.
This past weekend the Ducks dropped all three games in a brief homestand against the Wiscolnsin Rapids Riverkings and Hudson Havoc.
After dropping the first game 10-2 against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, the Ducks welcomed the Havoc on Saturday and Sunday, falling 9-2 and 6-0.
The Ducks fell to 1-17-0-0 with the losses but despite the lopsided scores there are clear signs of progress – albeit baby steps – especially when compared to the previous season.
Riverkings 10 Ducks 2
The Riverkings demolished the Ducks by a combined score of 63-3 in six games played last season. The Ducks grabbed two-thirds of those goals for in their first meeting with the Riverkings Friday and have made strides on offense this season.
Early goals have hindered the Ducks this season and while the Ducks looked sharp through the first five minutes, the Riverkings did manage to notch one in the eighth minute, the only goal of the opening period.
The Ducks’ Waterloo came in the final five minutes of the second period. The Riverkings went up 3-0 but Caden Glamkowski responded with his 12th goal of the season, from Jack Kopfstein and Jayden Tkaczuk less than a minute later.
Teams traded four more goals through the final three minutes of the period, but three of those four came off Riverkings sticks turning a 3-1 lead into a 6-2 margin heading to the third.
Glamkowski notched the other Ducks’ goal was well, help coming from Bryce Jacobsen and Jacob Cartland.
Anthony Falzone stopped all but one of the 17 shots he faced in the opening period, but the Riverkings wore the Ducks’ goaltender down in the middle frame with 28 more shots and he ended up with 47 saves on 55 shots before William Carney took over in the final 15 minutes, beaten twice on 20 shots before the final buzzer.
Havoc 9 Ducks 2
The puck was dropped on Saturday night and the Ducks immediately found itself under pressure from the Hudson squad.
Thanks in part to some standout goaltending from Carney, the Ducks made it into the second half of the period without surrendering a goal, despite a dominant from for the guests who fired the game’s first 21 shots on its way to a 38 shot period and a 3-1 lead on the score sheet.
Ironically, the Ducks cut into a 3-0 Havoc lead with its first shot of the night as Tkaczuk buried his fourth of the season, from Glamkowski.
Tkaczuk added another in the second, from Glamkowski and Kopfstein and the Ducks were still in the game, trailing 5-2 with 20 minutes to go. Four more down the stretch for a Havoc team on its way to an overwhelming 82-19 margin in shots led to the lopsided score
Havoc 6 Ducks 0
After allowing the first 21 shots the previous day, the Ducks came out and put the first shot of the game at the Hudson goaltender, but the lead was short-lived as Drew Moseley kicked out all 18 he faced for the Ducks who remained scoreless entering the second despite an 18-3 edge on shots for the visitors.
The Havoc finally opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the middle period and carried a 3-0 lead into the third where three more put the game out of reach.
In all, Moseley faced 69 shots.
The shots against is an area the Ducks have tried to address since the beginning of the season and while the edge is still lopsided it is general still better than last season. No doubt though, the goaltenders have accepted the role of trying to put the team on its back on many nights.
The Ducks headed back into practice this week to prepare for its first two-game weekend in a month. It wll seem like a break compared to the 10 games placed in the past two weeks. The Ducks will head to Isanti, MN to take on the Rum River Mallards for the final two times this season. Game time will be 7 p.m. on both nights and both games will be available on HockeyTV