By Jim den Hollander
Logan Potts’ goal with under three minutes to play put Dells Ducks up 3-2 and an empty netter later clinched a 4-2 win at Augsburg University Ice Arena in the Twin Cities, kicking off a busy weekend.
The win was the second straight against the Mullets and boosted Ducks’ overall record to 6-16-2-1 for 15 points, now four points up on the Mullies who have played two fewer games.
While the object in the rearview mirror is getting a bit smaller, the Ducks can see the pack of seven in front of them a little clearer now as well.
With Friday and Saturday games in Blaine, MN in front of them against the Minnesota Moose, the Ducks sit just two points behind the sixth place Minnesota Blue Ox, albeit with a slew of extra games played, but a solid showing in the final half dozen games before the Christmas Break could see the team inch a bit closer.
Suddenly, Head Coach Anthony Rohde’s bold prediction that his team is looking for a top four spot and home ice advantage in the opening round of playoffs – while still a longshot currently – suddenly starts to look a little more realstic.
Ducks scored first, Jaxson Armstrong (‘05/Kimberley, BC) slamming it home from Jackson Jones (‘04/Bloomer, WI) and Alex Grove (‘02/Waldorf, MD) and that lead carried into the middle period when the host Mullets fired a pair to snatch the lead away.
The Ducks pulled even again with 7:47 to play in the contest, Austin Holmberg (‘03/Amery, WI) burying one with help from Potts (‘03/Allen, TX) and Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Vista, CA), setting the stage for Potts who slammed in the rebound of a shot by Ethan Matthews (‘02/South Bend, IN) on a play started by Adam Brown (‘02/Westmont, IL)
The Mullets pulled their goaltender and tried to apply pressure in the final minutes but Braydan Kirchmann (‘04/Waterloo, IA) ended the threat sinking an empty net goal 34 seconds from the buzzer with an empty net goal assisted by Ryan Hammer (‘05/Wheaton, IL) and Kopfstein.
Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL) stopped 26 of 28 to pick up the win in goal.
The win pushed the Ducks to 2-0 against the Mullets this season with a pair of road wins. The series will continue Jan. 29 at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and the final game of the regular season on Feb. 26, also in Lake Delton.
The Ducks hope to continue the latest streak, but it will be tough as they move on to Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine, MN., perhaps the unfriendliest rink they have ever played in, whether its against the host Minnesota Moose or at the annual Showcase tournament there.
The Ducks will play the Moose at 7:05 CST Friday and Saturday night at Fogerty. They previously dropped a pair against the Moose in Lake Delton, 6-1 on Oct. 2, during their opening weekend and the other 3-0 a week later.