By Jim den Hollander
The Dells Ducks made its return to action from a brief Thanksgiving Break and got a rude reintroduction in the Windy City.
Playing at Fifth Third Arena, the practice facility of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, the Ducks entered the weekend with some hope, having stunned the Chicago Cougars in the season opener back in September with a 5-4 overtime win.
The Ducks opened and closed the scoring in the opening contest, but the Cougars piled up seven in between to rack up the 7-2 win on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the Cougars tightened its grip a little further and captured a 12-0 shutout win.
In the Saturday contest, Jayden Tkaczuk (02/Chanahon, IL) responded to anyone wondering if he would be ok following a brutal hit from behind in the team’s last game at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase in November in the games first two minutes.
Tkaczuk collected his seventh goal of the season, converting a Kai Neuemaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL) feed for the game’s opening goal 90 seconds into the contest.
The Cougars tied the game 50 seconds later and the Ducks never got a sniff of the lead again. The home team was up 3-1 after a period and sank four more unanswered in the middle period, led by TJ Haas who fired three.
Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI) rounded out the scoring with the lone goal of the final period, his ninth of the season, from Jack Kopfsetein (‘05/Vista, CA) and Gage Senio (‘04/Red Deer, AB)
The Cougars held a massive 54-27 edge in shots including a 28-3 margin through the middle period.
On Sunday, the second period was again a lopsided stretch as the home side turned a 4-0 first period cushion into a 10-0 gap on its way to a 12-0 win and a 60-18 margin on the shot clock.
The wins wrapped up the four-game season series between the Ducks and Cougar, 3-0-1 in Chicago’s favor.
The Ducks will play its first home game in a month and its final home game of 2021 Thursday night when the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings pay a visit for a rare Thursday night contest at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.
Opening faceoff on Thursday will be 7:30 p.m.