By Jim den Hollander
We’re Number Eight! We’re Number Eight!
The Dells Ducks avenged a Showcase defeat from a season ago and packed up their belongings to move out of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division basement.
The Ducks took on the winless Decatur Blaze from the Midwest-East Division Friday in its first of four games at the Detroit Showcase. Despite missing three players due to suspensions, the Ducks never trailed on their way to a 4-2 win.
The same two teams met in the first game for both at the Chicago Showcase in what might have been the toughest loss of the season for the Ducks. Despite battling back from a 5-1 deficit in the third period to even the score, it was Decatur with the overtime game winner.
This time around the Ducks left no doubt, building a 3-0 lead through the first two periods and adding one more down the stretch.
Ethan Matthews (‘02/South Bend, IN) fired the only goal of the first period for the Ducks.
Adam Brown notched the next for the Ducks in the fifth minute of the middle period and the team’s newest player, Mikel Ferran Cobo (‘02/Mexico City, Mexico) made an immediate impression scoring the eventual game winning marker 24 seconds from the end of the period. Cobo’s goal was a tip on a shot from the point by Brown.
Backing up the players in goal was Anthony Falzone (‘03/Prosper, TX) who collected his third junior victory and first of the season, stopping all but two of 27 shots faced. Ryan Zeno scored the first Blaze goal but Logan Potts (‘03/Allen, Texas) responded with just over three minutes to play.
The Blaze added one more just 29 seconds from the final buzzer.
The win is the fourth in the past six games for the Ducks who have resurrected a dismal start to the campaign. After playing through 14 games without a win, the locals have not just hit the win column, but now have officially moved into playoff contention, moving by the Minnesota Mullets into eighth place in the division.
It’s worth noting the Mullets, the only team in the division the Ducks have yet to play against, have played fewer games. The Mullets have dropped six straight including this afternoon (Friday, Nov. 18) with a 3-0 loss to the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings.
The Ducks sit at 4-13-2-1 for 11 points, now two up on the 4-13-0-1 Mullets and just one point behind the seventh place (6-11-0-0) Steele County Blades.
The local squad will be back on the ice at 2:30 EST Saturday to take on the 10-9-0-1 Motor City Gamblers from the Midwest-East and return at 8:30 EST against the 6-10-1-0 Columbus Mavericks from the Great Lakes Division.
Wrapping up the weekend Sunday is a game against the Fort Wayne Spacemen, another Midwest-East team at 3:30 p.m.
Players will disperse for their first break since Labor Day weekend, heading home for Thanksgiving. After returning the Ducks will play the Mullets twice at Augsburg University Ice Arena Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.