Here we go — Ducks faceoff 2022-23 season tonight

By Jim den Hollander  


The Dells Ducks are scheduled to open the 2022-23 USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division tonight with its first of eight straight home games.


The Ducks will entertain geographical rival, the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, a team that has taught the locals some tough lessons over the years, but also at times brings out the best in the Ducks. 

The Riverkings will have a new look this season, most notably behind the bench as Marty Quarters is no longer at the helm as the Head Coach/GM. There are also no returners this season, so make sure to grab a roster when you head into the Lake Delton Ice Arena tonight. 

The Ducks will also play at home on Sunday against the Minnesota Moose at 3:30 p.m. Tonight’s game will be the season opener for both teams but the Moose have a game under their belts, dropping a tough one last weekend on the road against the Minnesota Squatch, the Division’s newest team out of Elk River, Minnesota. 

Last season the Ducks opened the regular season with a stunning overtime win against the Chicago Cougars, then won just three more regular season games, all against teams from other divisions. Matching the start from last season could be tough – the Ducks have won just two of its past 18 against the Riverkings who have won the last 10 straight. The last Ducks win against the Riverkings came on Jan. 12, 2020. 

Despite the long odds, the Ducks head into the 2022-23 campaign with a solid and full roster and a new man at the helm as well. Both Anthony Rohde for the Ducks and Paul Pechmann of the Riverkings will be making their regular season debuts behind their respective benches. 

The Moose may have been even more dominant in past games against the Ducks, collecting 18 straight wins since 2018. 

Ducks will be looking to change modern history at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and both games should be a fun watch. 

Game time tonight (Friday, Sept. 30) is 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s puck drop is at 3:30 p.m. 


Preseason tests for Ducks this weekend at home

By Jim den Hollander
Having arrived in town at the end of the Labor Day weekend, the Dells Ducks will enter a final tune-up on home ice at the Lake Delton Ice Arena this weekend giving locals a chance to get a preview on what should be a turnaround season.
With 30 players on the roster, including former RWD goaltender Cooper Oakes, the Ducks headed to Oshkosh to take on the UW-Oshkosh ACHA squad Friday (Sept. 16) and Saturday with some interesting results.

While the Titans captured 4-1 and 7-1 wins in the game, the Ducks held a wide margin in shots, reportedly topping 50 in both games. It has been a while since a Ducks’ team racked up a total like that.
Rookie Nolan Winkler (’05/Plano, IL) scored for the Ducks in the first game and the second game goal was scored by Associate Captain Adam Brown (’02/Westmont, IL), a forward/defenseman back for a third season with the Ducks with a season in Hershey, PA in between.
Head Coach Anthony Rohde was mostly happy, in particular with several younger players battling nerves in the second game.
“We dressed a lot of rookies in the second game,” said Rohde in a telephone interview. “It took two periods for the team to really start playing.”
Poor ice conditions and a good defensive gameplan for the Titans played a part as well said the coach.
This weekend the locals will play host to a Showcase type tournament with split squads from both the Ducks and the Chicago Cougars a well as a team made up of Wisconsin Riverkings players and college club teams from UW-La Crosse and Aurora University.
The Ducks will kick off the event Friday (Sept. 23) with back-to-back games against the Cougars at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
In all, both Ducks teams (Ducks White and Ducks Purple) will play four times, the finale on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. matching the teams in a Purple vs. White head-to-head match.
In all there will be a dozen games played at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. Admission is free but the team will have a place for donations to help Jacob Cartland, a forward with the Ducks last season and a standout at the varsity level with the Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc club before that.
Cartland is battling hard to recover from some horrific injuries after a car crash earlier this month.
Follow the link below for a full season schedule for the Dells Ducks including all 12 games for this weekend.
— Oakes is one of five goaltenders currently battling for ice time with the Ducks. The team invited members of the RWD varsity team to join them this weekend and it appears junior forward Brady Baldwin will take them up on the offer.

— Ducks will open the USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season a week from Friday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings.

— A third member of last season’s RWD club will also be playing in the tournament. Rookie forward Trevor Slaght has been in Chicago since Labor Day weekend with the Cougars and last weekend made a successful junior debut with a goal on the team’s opening weekend at the Fifth Third Arena in Chicago on a two-game weekend against the visiting Motor City Gamblers.

Rohde leads Ducks into 22-23 USPHL campaign

By Jim den Hollander
The Dells Ducks are back in town and early indications show a team ready to return to the upper echelons of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division.

After five seasons with mostly young and inexperienced players trying to learn on the fly, the Ducks have a full roster of nearly 30 players — some returners, some with previous junior or college experience and some high-quality prospects making the jump from successful high school careers.
The team has returned to its roots in recent seasons with the return of Shaun Falzone, the team’s original (2011-12) Head Coach who is now the new team owner. This season Falzone has kicked himself upstairs to the office allowing him to look after the business side of things while one of his former players steps in as Head Coach.

Team owner Shaun Falzone, flanked by Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby and new Ducks Head Coach Anthony Rohde, welcomes players to the Dells area on the opening day of training camp for the Ducks at Bobber’s Sept. 6

Anthony Rohde was a player on that original squad and in two seasons since returning as an Assistant Coach and advisor he has become a popular local figure as his tireless efforts have seen him help not only the Ducks, but many of the local varsity and youth teams as well. This is much is certain to anyone who has watched Rohde in the past few seasons, he will be tireless and relentless in carving out a winning team in the Dells.
The loosely tied, heck, practically untied skates are generally on his feet from sunup to sundown and when he is not on the ice, he is standing in the lobby, cup of coffee in hand, talking hockey with anyone who wants to strike up a conversation.
Rohde’s hockey connections in Illinois and Wisconsin have helped him put together a lineup that will compete hard on weekends after being forced to compete equally as hard through the week just to earn a spot on that roster.
Back for a second season with Rohde is Mario Lachica, cut from the same mold as Rohde. They played college hockey together in Aurora and are more than familiar with each other’s styles having spent much of the last decade working together with different teams. Another former college teammate and former Ducks player, Kevin Salinas, the team’s second captain (2012-13) will also be on the bench this season.
This trio may appear mostly soft spoken in public, but make no mistake, they are here to construct a winning team and with the number of players currently signed, they have options if they don’t like what they see.
The Ducks enjoyed one day of relaxation, the day after Labor Day when they arrived in town. Since then, they have been working hard, first off the ice, and as of Monday (Sept. 12) on the ice as well.
The first pre-season test for the Ducks will take place this weekend when they head to Oshkosh to play games Saturday and Sunday against the UW-Oshkosh Titans ACHA squad. The first game will be at 7 p.m. Saturday with a second game at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The following weekend, the team will host a pre-season tournament at the Lake Delton Ice Arena with both junior and college teams taking part. The Chicago Cougars from the Midwest-East Division along with Midwest-West rival Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings will take part along with ACHA college squads from Aurora University in Illinois and UW La Crosse.
Both the Ducks and Cougars will split their team into two squads for the tournament so there will be plenty of chance to see the team in action.
The Ducks will also open its regular season and as has been custom in recent seasons, there will be a healthy helping of home games out of the gate.
Beginning September 30 against the Rivkerkings, the Ducks will open the USPHL Midwest-West schedule with seven straight home games in 16 days.
Among the differences this season, the team will not make a trip East for a Showcase in New England, instead playing three Showcase tournaments all in the Midwest.
The first will be Oct. 27-30 at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, MN and new this season will be trip to the Motor City for another four games Nov. 18-20.
The final Showcase will be the Chicago event, once again sending the Ducks into the Christmas Break, Dec. 16-19.
The Ducks have traditionally returned from the Christmas Break and headed straight to the Boston area for its third tournament, but with that out of the way, the team will be able to focus on the regular season homestretch with its final 13 games, all against Midwest-West rivals.
Watch this space in the days ahead, including the announcement of team captains and possibly some other big news for the local fans.

Dells Ducks team owner Shaun Falzone welcomes players, parents and billets to the Dells area on the first day of camp with a dinner at Bobber’s
First Shoe Check of the season.