The Dells Ducks are hoping some solid play at the annual Chicago Showcase can carry over into the final 13 games of the USPHL regular season, beginning with a pair on home ice this weekend against the Minnesota Mullets.
The Mullets, coached by Chris Walby who has Sauk County hockey connections, originally from the Lodi area, but playing his youth hockey in Sauk Prairie, also turned in a nice performance in Chicago and both teams are looking to keep their progress rolling into the new year.
The Ducks currently sit eighth in the eight-team Midwest-West and currently trail seventh place Rum River Mallards by 11 points, so climbing in the standings would be a longshot, but team morale is high with the addition of several new players (see video) and this team is clearly not done fighting.
The Mullets won three of four in Chicago and that builds to 4 of five when considering the team’s 3-1 win against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings on Dec. 11. Overall, the Mullets are sixth in the division with a 12-14-1-0 record, but the recent wins have the team in a position to move higher and home ice in the first round of playoffs is not out of the question.
For the Ducks, build has been slow, but there are a number of benchmarks the team could set in the final 13 games of the season.
As a team, the Ducks have already collected four wins, one more than last season and points-wise, the nine points is also one more than last year. But the team has shown a marked improvement in almost every area.
The Ducks have scored 72 goals this season which is already seven more than last year with 13 games to play. Last season the team allowed 365 goals and the way the team is playing currently (225 GAG), they will likely finish under 300 goals against this year.
The 386 Penalty minutes is third highest in the division, but only a fraction more than half of the 768 it collected a year ago.
A year ago, Jaden Tkaczuk led the team in scoring with 19 points. This season, that would not rank him in the top four as Caden Glamkowski (27g, 19a) leads the way now with 46 points, and on a pace to perhaps break some longstanding team records.
In the Ducks’ opening season, Aidan Verbeke led the team with 37 goals and 76 points in 2011-12. Both records are still intact today, Ian Wood getting within one after a 36-goal 2013-14 season.
The 27 for Glamkowski so far leaves his 10 behind Verbeke’s mark with 13 games to play. If he doesn’t score another goal, the ‘04 from St. Charles, IL will have the sixth highest total. His next goal will move him into a tie for fourth with Sherman Mowery and Jake Stima.
Glamkowski is also in a tie for 15th with his 46 points, a total also reached by David Kaplan in 2015-16.
Tkaczuk has collected 52 points (21g, 31a) in his two seasons with the Ducks so far, ranking him in a tie with Jason Heard as the team’s 16th leading scorer all time and Glamkowski sits 22nd. Both will make their way up that list if they can continue to produce in home stretch.
Perhaps most impressive is Glamkowski’s points per game which this season is at 1.533. That ranks him fourth highest all time behind Verbeke (1.583), Nick Albergo (1.600) and Connor Rickabus (2.00). The leader came up with 12 assists in six games played, so that record might not be beatable, but Glamkowski is on an awesome pace.
If age is considered, Glamkowski’s goals and points totals are the best by a 17-year-old. He is already three points past Billy Warren who collected 43 as a linemate to Verbeke in that first season. His 27 goals are by far the best by a 17-year-old, the next best total 19, also by Billy Warren.
Go down one year and defenseman Jack Kopfstein will wrap up his season tied for the best season as a 16-year-old. The Vista, CA defenseman has put up three goals and a dozen assists for 15 points. That matches the five goals and 10 assists for Jacob Cameron of Oregon, WI in 2017-18. Kopfstein will unfortunately not be able to build on that as a collarbone injury suffered in Chicago has brought his season to a premature end.
There are currently three 16-year-olds playing for the Ducks, Zach Windom and Oliver Cabala joining Kopfstein while two others – Jace Weimer and Sam Bachman have suited up at different times on an interim basis.
That is five out of 15 players that have played for the Ducks as 16-year-olds over the past 11 seasons. Current Ducks Seth Stoutenburg and Thomas Howell also played as 16-year-olds with the Ducks.
All these stats show while overall, there might be some reasons to grumble as the Ducks have been in rebuild mode 2.0 and 3.0 over the past five seasons, this young team is moving in the right direction.
The RWD junior varsity Cheavers extended its current shutout streak to an unreal five game, setting the stage for the varsity goose egg with a 1-0 edge of its own on the road against the Waupaca Comets on Tuesday (Jan. 4).
Alex Griebe once again backstopped the win which has seen him and his defensive teammates playing more than 250 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
For his part, Griebe stopped 16 shots while his Comets counterpart, senior Brody Berens stopped all but one of the 26 shots he faced for what normally be an awesome night between the pipes.
Junior Caleb Eastman fired the first and game winning goal in the sixth minute of the second period with assists for junior Nate Stando and first year Nolan Pope.
The win is the seventh straight for the now 10-2 JV Cheavers who will look to grab another win on home ice Thursday (Jan. 6) when the Oregon Panthers pay a visit.
Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada turned in an awesome effort between the pipes, but it couldn’t help a short-staffed Badger Lightning team who got the post-Christmas Break portion of its varsity hockey schedule underway with a 7-0 loss on the road against the Onalaska Hilltoppers.
The host Hilltoppers outshot the Lightning by a 50-11 margin and Gada turned in a 43-save performance in goal.
The Hilltoppers fired the game winner 8:25 into the match and added another in the first period before piling on another three in the second and two more down the stretch.
Senior Lydia Walz led the Hilltoppers’ attack scoring twice and setting up three others against a Lightning squad that included just a dozen skaters.
The loss dropped the Lightning under .500 for the first time this season at 4-5 and they sit at 3-4 in Badger Conference play. The team will stay on the road with a game Thursday against the Medford Raiders (0-5, Independent).
Next home game for the locals will be on Friday with a rematch against the Rock County Fury at Pierce Park Pavilion at 7 p.m.
The Fury earned a 2-1 in their first Badger Conference match in Beloit Dec. 2.
Inspired by a great performance at the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic tournament over the Christmas holidays, the RWD varsity Cheavers headed into the post-Christmas portion of the schedule with another impressive win.
The Cheavers travelled to Waupaca and collected a 6-0 shutout win against the host Comets, extending its current winning streak to six games.
The potent offense struck quick, senior Trevor Slaght notching his second goal in five games since returning from an off-season injury in the game’s third minute, from senior C.J. Pfaff.
That stood up as the game winner, but the Cheavers added more in the opening 17 minutes. Junior Caden Brandt and senior Tomas Korndorfer fired goals in the middle part of the period before Slaght found the net for another.
Junior John Scott fired the lone middle period goal, his eighth of the season and sixth in the past four games and Korndorfer wrapped it up with his second of the contest and fifth of the season in the final period.
Pfaff and junior Carsen Brandt both picked up a pair of assists in the game with singles for Slaght, senior Grant Marsich and sophomore Brady Baldwin.
Cooper Oakes kicked out all 27 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season and once again smash his own record for career shutouts with his 13th.
The win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 10-5 while the host Comets slipped to 7-6 (2-1 in Great Northern Conference).
Huge test ahead
The Cheavers are hoping to carry some momentum from its recent streak into a massive conference test on home ice Thursday as they kick off the second half of the Badger West Conference against the Oregon Panthers.
Both teams are 3-2, the Panthers collecting a 5-1 win in the first half meeting in Oregon.
The Panthers entered the week ranked second among Division 2 teams in the state according wisconsinprephockey.net.
While the Cheavers are riding a five-game winning streak, the Panthers dropped three in a row after defeating RWD before winning its most recent pair against Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc (KMMO) and Fox Cities at a holiday tournament hosted by KMMO.
Baraboo-Portage hockey fans likely hadn’t heard of Drew Apicella before Tuesday night, but they know the name now.
A natural hat trick by the Black River Falls Tigers first year forward to start the game led the visitors to a 5-1 non-conference win against the host Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 4) night.
After scoring both first period goals, Apicella wrapped up the ‘trick’ with his third, 5:10 into the second period. The three goals give Apicella seven on the season.
The Tigers added another middle period goal and a fifth in the third period before first year T-Bird Nathan Gneiser sank an unassisted powerplay goal at the nine-minute mark to shatter the shutout bid of Black River Falls’ sophomore goaltender Christopher Muir.
It was a well-earned goose egg as Muir stopped 38 shots and carried his team to the win despite a 39-32 edge on the score sheet for the Thunderbirds.
The loss to the Tigers extended Thunderbirds’ current losing streak to five games and they sit at 2-11 heading into its next game, a Badger West Conference home test against the Oregon Panthers (9-5, Badger West 3-2) on Saturday night. In between the Panthers will be at RACA to face the RWD Cheavers on Thursday night.
The Tigers are heading in the opposite direction, 9-2 overall and 0-1 in Coulee Conference play.
The Sauk Prairie Eagles and Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds returned from a brief holiday break to face each other at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Monday (Jan. 3) night.
The Eagles collected a 9-0 win, its third straight goose egg to wrap up its first round of Badger West Conference play at 3-2, snapping two conference losses in a row.
Teams played through seven minutes without a goal, but the Eagles wrapped up four in the final 10 minutes of the opening period and piled on three more in the middle frame before wrapping it up with two down the homestretch.
Seniors Hakon Peterson and Micah Hanson and junior Luke Mast fired two goals apiece, Peterson adding two assists and Mast setting up one. Seniors Nick Mast and Erik Peterson both notched a goal and two assists, the other goal fired by junior Landon Clary.
Luke Mast boosted his season points total to 46, fourth best in the state behind only the Oregon trio of Kyle Rohrer (57), Andrew Jicha (51) and Joe Roemer (47). He is also third in assist. Nick Mast’s goal was his 26th of the season, boosting him to second in state, tied with David Emerich of Waunakee and just two behind state leader, Jicha.
The Eagles held a 44-8 edge in shots on goal. Junior Brooks McInerney picked up the shutout in goal and first year Burke Schweda was the busiest man on the ice, in goal for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds returned home to Pierce Park Pavilion where it was scheduled to play host to the Black River Falls Tigers on Tuesday and the Eagles head straight into the second half of its Badger West Conference schedule with a trip to SLICE in Monroe to play the host Cheesemakers on Thursday night.
The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds turned in some solid efforts but were unable to snap its losing streak in a couple games at a four-team holiday event hosted by Arrowhead Warhawks Dec. 29-30.
Playing at the Howard G. Mullett Ice Center in Hartland, the Thunderbirds dropped its opening contest 4-2 against the host Warhawks, then fell 2-0 in the Consolation final the following day against the Sheboygan Red Raiders.
In the opening game, sophomore Carson Zick pulled the T-Birds even at 1-1 from junior Peyton Sloan and first year Jordi Beale 4:49 from the first period buzzer. The Warhawks moved in front again though 38 seconds later and added another before the end of the opening period for a 3-1 cushion.
After a scoreless middle frame, senior Oliver Scanlan made it a one-goal game again 7:40 into the third with help from juniors Landon Olson and Luke Schweda. The Warhawks restored its two-goal edge a couple minutes later.
The close score flattered the Thunderbirds a bit, thanks to a standout effort in goal by senior Andrew Schaetzl who kicked out 33 of 37 in a game that saw the Thunderbirds outshot by a 37-8 margin.
The other game was also close, the Homestead Highlanders earning a 4-3 edge against the Red Raiders. With that result, the Thunderbirds moved on to play Sheboygan while the Highlanders moved on to face the Warhawks the following day.
Thunderbirds managed to keep the shots a little closer, but the Red Raiders held a 32-18 edge overall. But the result was not clinched until the Red Raiders nailed its second of the game with 1:46 to play. The game winner was scored two seconds from the end of the second period.
The Championship game saw the host Arrowhead squad taking a 3-1 win against Homestead.
The loss against Sheboygan was the fourth in a row for the Thunder who fell to 2-9 on the regular season.
Thunderbirds head into the New Year with a quick flurry, playing a Badger West Conference match at Sauk Prairie Monday (Jan. 3) and a home game against Black River Falls Tigers the following night.