By Jim den Hollander
With a short Thanksgiving break behind them, the Dells Ducks move into the second half of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season this weekend with a trip to the Windy City.
The Chicago Cougars are easily the team’s biggest out-of-division rival given their history and the fact they meet every season.
The Cougars are one of the teams in the stable of owner John Schwarz, who up until this season was also the original owner of the Dells Ducks. The teams have had some big meetings in the past including a playoff series to decide which team would move on to the National Championship tournament in the Cougars inaugural campaign.
In recent seasons, the Cougars have mostly been the dominant squad, posting a 7-2-1-0 record against the Ducks since the 2018-19 season got underway.
However, one of those two Ducks’ wins came in the season opener this year as the Ducks pulled out a 5-4 overtime win. Jake Cartland and Caden Glamkowski both scored twice in that one and Bryce Jacobsen fired the overtime game winner.
That win brought an end to an eight-game streak for the Cougars dating back to the 2018 season.
The following night the Cougars returned and pulled out a 4-2 win and the Ducks have won just twice in 22 games since then. Meanwhile, the Cougars have compiled a 12-5-2-0 record and sit atop the Midwest-East division heading into the weekend.
Making it tougher, when the weekend series starts at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Glamkowski will be on the sidelines sitting a one-game suspension. He will be back for the Sunday afternoon game, starting at 1 p.m.
It will be an interesting weekend for the Ducks as they head to Fifth Third Arena near Chicago, the practice facility of the Chicago Blackhawks and the home arena of the Chicago Mission AAA teams.
The Ducks have a slightly more relaxed schedule this month after some non-stop play7 through the first three months of the season.
The team will become familiar with the Fifth Third Arena though as after a home game next Thursday against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, the team will head back to the same arena for a four-game Showcase tournament beginning Dec. 16, carrying them into the Christmas Break.