RWD skaters play for Jr. Ducks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Ultimately, the Dells Jr. Ducks is hoped to be a spring/summer opportunity for youth hockey players of all ages, but Shaun Falzone, owner of the Ducks USPHL junior hockey team eased in with just a peewee level team this season. 

The team made its competitive debut at the Clash of Sticks event in a couple Chicago arenas, the final event in a busy 2021-22 season for Ultimate Tournaments May 27-29. 

The team, including players from Illinois, Texas along with Landen Uminski, Noah Backeberg and Evelyn Gurney from RWD, played four times, winning once and finishing fourth in its five-team pool.  

The Ducks started out on the Friday night (May 27) at Addison Ice Arena, dropping a 7-2 decision against the Chicago Eagles. 

The Eagles led 2-1 after a period and added four more in the middle period before both teams added one in the final period.  

Pictured from left: Noah Backeberg, Landen Uminski and Evelyn Gurney posed for a picture after one of their games at the Ultimate Tournaments Clash of Sticks event at Fifth Third Arena in the heart of Chicago.

The Ducks returned to play two more on Saturday, beginning with a 4-0 shutout win against Wolverines Hockey. Three of the four goals came in the middle period, including the first, scored by Owen Voller with an assist from Uminski who picked up another point with the lone goal of the third period as well.  

Later the same day, the Ducks came up short 6-2 against the Glacier Ice Dogs as a 1-1 tie after a period turned into a 4-1 deficit by the start of the third. The Ice Dogs added another before the Ducks finally scored its second in the final period. 

The Ducks wrapped up play Sunday with a tough 1-0 loss against the Vipers, the lone goal scored late in the first period. The narrow win was enough to get Vipers into the championship game where the defeated the Eagles 3-2. 

After Friday’s opener, all games were played at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago, the practice facility of the Chicago Black Hawks. 

Jacobsen to don ‘C’ for Ducks again in 2022/23

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Dells Ducks are looking to improve on a tough year and instill a renewed winning culture in the tourist town, but there is one throwback they cannot do without.

Two seasons ago, Jacobsen, then a captain with the DeForest Norskies, turned lemons into lemonade, joining the Dells Ducks. It could not have been a better arrangement between the player and team.

Jacobsen will be the second player in team history (joining Chris Vella before him) to return for a second season as team captain. Despite a pair of rough seasons, Jacobsen’s presence has been an overwhelming positive for the team.

Head Coach Anthony Rohde made the easiest decision of the off season, bringing back Jacobsen as the team captain.

“The work ethic and drive to win is why Bryce has the ‘C’ again, said Rohde in an email interview. “It’s the attitude I want all the players to have.”

Locals were somewhat familiar with Jacobsen before he joined the team in the middle of the 2020-21 campaign as he played for the rival DeForest Norskies in the rival Badger North varsity league that all three Sauk County teams played in at the time.

With the pandemic destroying his final varsity season (Norskies were one of a few teams that decided not to play during that season), Jacobsen shifted his gaze to one of his semi-local junior teams.

“After my first skate, when Coach Falzone asked how I liked it. I told him I loved it,” said Jacobsen in an email interview. “Then, he asked if I wanted to play in the games that weekend. After that, I was all in. I loved how fast the practice was and how we did a lot of skill work.”

Jacobsen played in just 23 games that season but wrapped it up among the team’s leading scorers. The attributes listed above prompted Coach Falzone to select him among several returners to take the responsibility of being captain.

“When Coach Falzone named me captain I was a little surprised,” said the 6’3” 190-pound center. “I was very happy to be named captain. I was one of the captains in high school.”

DeForest’s Bryce Jacobsen, shown in action during the 2021-22 regular season, will be back as the Dells Ducks’ team captain for the upcoming USPHL Premier Midwest West regular season beginning in September.

Jacobsen and the Ducks endured another tough season but through it all, he continued to lead by example with his dedication, hard work and leadership by example. Jacobsen was on the ice in every situation, contributing 12 goals and 31 points. He and his teammates believed they could win no matter who the opponent was.

“Every week we would prepare for our opponents, and we would always have a positive mindset,” said Jacobsen. “At some points of the season, it was hard, but with the leadership of our veterans, we were able to keep a positive mindset.”

The captain said the frustrations of last season have inspired him and the other returners to make things different this time around.

“The other returners and I have had a long offseason just thinking about how we can’t wait to get back to the Dells to start the 22-23 season. We all feel like we have something to prove. Coach Rohde is bringing in a bunch of great guys that are skilled and ready to put in the work to make it a great winning season.”

Leadership and attitude are Jacobsen’s contributions. On the ice, he plays every shift with ferocity and while he may not win as many style points as some other players, his bull in a China shop approach in front of the net has been a factor in him getting pucks over the goal line.

Perhaps his most notable asset is his contribution in the faceoff circle. Actual statistics were not available but anyone paying attention is aware he wins far more than he loses at the dot. Reflexes and natural ability play a part, but Jacobsen works hard on faceoffs as well.

“Coach Rhode and I spend a lot of time working on faceoffs and how to consistently win them,” said Jacobsen. “We would even watch film on just faceoffs.”

Jacobsen will enter his final season with 17 goals and 40 points to his credit in 66 career games. He seldom missed a game over the previous two seasons and if he is able to continue that trend, he will be wind up in an elite group that includes just five players currently, with 100 or more games played as a Duck.

Rohde and Jacobsen will officially begin the reboot when the team reconvenes in September, but the future skate held at the end of last season and tryouts coming up in the Chicago area in June will give them a chance to get things started. For Jacobsen, an ‘02, this will be one final kick at it and over the course of the season he will also finalize the next chapter of both his education and hockey career.

“There were a few colleges that talked to me in the showcases,” said the captain adding, “When making a decision on where I will go to college, I want to go to a school that has a strong business program, and a good hockey program.”

Aeschlimann backstops Swiss team to third straight win

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Former Dells Ducks goaltender Sandro Aeschlimann has once again put on the jersey of his home country and led the Swiss National team to its third straight win at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in Finland.

Sandro Aeschlimann


Aeschlimann, 27, is one of three goaltenders for the Swiss National team and each have made the most of an opportunity to patrol the crease for Switzerland so far.
Aeschlimann, a native of Zazlwil, Switzerland played for the Ducks in 2014-15, appearing in the most memorable home game to date, a 1-0 win to clinch the Bush Cup Championship (MNJHL). He appeared in 32 regular season games and seven more in the post season, posting a sub 2.00 goals against average and a Save Percentage of .935 in the regular season and .958 in the playoffs.
After the Ducks, Aeschlimann played a season of NCAA Division 3 hockey at Elimira College in New York before returning home to Switzerland where he has played professionally for the past six seasons, five with HC Davos in the top Switzerland Pro League.
On Tuesday, Aeschlimann made his first appearance at the Worlds, providing the team with two periods of shutout hockey to help them build a 2-0 lead against Kazakhstan.
The Kazaks struck for a pair in the third, including one to get within a goal with just over two minutes to play, but Aeschlimann shut the door from there, boosting the team to its third straight win a the tournament behind played in both Tampere and Helsinki, Finland.
The team was back on the ice Wednesday and boosted its record to 4-0 with a 5-2 win against Slovakia.


The 16 nations playing at the Worlds are divided into two eight-team pools. The Swiss currently lead Pool A with its 4-0-0 record while Canada is right behind at 3-0-0. Both have all but guaranteed in the tournament’s Quarter-Finals next week.
Reto Berra, a veteran goaltender from Bulach, Switzerland with several seasons of both Swiss Pro and AHL experience, played in both the first game against Italy and fourth game, against Slovakia for Switzerland and Leonardo Genoni, another vet, from Semlone, Switzerland appeared in game two, a 6-0 shutout against Denmark.
The Swiss has three round-robin matches remaining, taking on Canada Saturday, France on Sunday and arch rival Germany on May 24. If Switzerland sticks with his current goaltending rotation, Aeschlimann will likely hit the blue paint against France.
While the Swiss team has some vets in goal, Nico Hischier from the New Jersey Devils, the country’s only ever first overall NHL draft pick is on the roster along with Pius Suter of the Detroit Red Wings, Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks and Jonas Sigenthaler, also from the Devils.

Amery’s Atkins looking to help Ducks take next step

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Once again, the Dells Ducks has plucked a quality player from the roster of a quality Wisconsin-based high school in the off season.
Reece Atkins, a 5’11, 175-pound right-shooting forward collected 10 goals and 31 points for the Amery Warriors in the competitive Middle Border Conference this past season.

He also played a key role for the Warriors in the post season, scoring in each of his team’s three-game run and adding an assist as well. That stands out as a high point in his career so far.
“This is the first time in program history a team (from Amery) has made it that far,” said Atkins on a team questionnaire adding his team earned the Sectional spot with a thrilling overtime win against rival New Richmond Tigers in the Regional championship match.
Atkins enjoyed a breakthrough season in Amery, more than doubling his 13-point total from his junior season.
After impressing the staff, including incoming Head Coach Anthony Rohde at a prospects/player’s camp held in Lake Delton in March, Atkins recently confirmed his intention to help the Dells Ducks as the first signee of the off season.
Coach Rohde had this to say about Reece, when asked his thoughts about his new player: “It’s not often you find someone with his size, ability to see the ice, and hands, all in one. I was very impressed to see his ability to create something in tight areas, it can be game changing.”
While Coach Rohde was impressed with what he saw from Atkins in his visit to the Lake Delton Ice Arena back in March, the coach and team owner Shaun Falzone also made an impression on the ‘03 forward as he counted them as his primary reason for selecting the Dells Ducks on the form.
Atkins is looking forward to making his presence felt as a rookie and feels his ability to set the tone in a game could be valuable. He counts among his strengths “My ability to slow down the game and pick up the pace whenever I want. My ability to find open guys, create space for myself and others and make the right play.”
Jackson Henningsgaard, another player who wrapped up a solid run as a junior player himself this past season has been an influence on Atkins who says he loves to play, especially with the game on the line.
“I enjoy playing on the powerplay. I also enjoy playing when it matters most, whether it’s overtime, when we need a goal or when we need to be defensive and prevent a goal.”
Looking ahead to a first season with the Ducks, Atkins is looking forward to helping the team on a quest to getting north of the .500 mark for the first time in five seasons and he wants to be a regular contributor on the score sheet, but he also knows the step from varsity to junior is a large one.
“For me, coming from high school, the pace and intensity of the game will be the biggest factor,” predicted the forward.
He is looking forward to the billet experience and spending a season in Wisconsin Dells, a community he has visited before. Currently located a stone’s throw from the Minnesota border, it’s no surprise the Wild his favorite hockey team, but he counts Patrick Kane, Patrice Bergeron and Connor McDavid as players he admires and tries to emulate.
A three-sport athlete, Atkins also enjoys football and baseball and he says Chicken Alfredo is a favorite pre-game and/or post-game meal.

Rohde steps behind Ducks’ bench

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

JIMMY D’S NOTES

The Dells Ducks saw its season come to an end in Coon Rapids recently as the overwhelming underdog bowing with back-to-back defeats against the Minnesota Blue Ox despite 120 of the Ducks best minutes of the season. 

Dells Ducks

Its impossible to carry that momentum for five-plus months into Labor Day when the team will head into the 2022-23 season. 

A small, but definite improvement over the previous season leaves room for optimism for a Ducks team that has been the youngest in the Midwest-Division if not the entire USPHL Premier League for both of the past two seasons, since Shaun Falzone stepped in as the owner/GM/Head Coach of the team.  

But big changes that took effect within hours of the end of the 2021-22 season hold promise of a big improvement starting this fall. 

While the changes are recent, they are far from sudden. Falzone has talked about a second phase for this team since the day he came to town and former Assistant Coach Anthony Rohde plays a big part in next generation. 

Rohde was forced to step aside this season for personal reasons but his presence has been felt in at the Lake Delton Ice Arena frequently over the past season. Falzone officially passed the Head Coaching reins to his former player and good friend within days of the season’s end. The job has been Rohde’s to take for two seasons and seriously since around Christmas.  

Mario Lachica will also return as the Assistant Coach and the chemistry is big and immediate between these to who have played and coached together. Like Falzone, Lachica’s style of coachng is similar to Rohde’s. One thing that any player suiting up for the Ducks can be guaranteed is icetime and individual attention. Both Rohde and Lachica are tireless and love calling the arena home during the season. The Ducks practiced twice a day through most of this past season but if there was empty ice available, Lachica was willng to work with anything any player wanted.  

Rohde usually has skates on his feet for 8-10 hours or more a day when he is at the rink.

He delayed accepting the position until just recently, but he comes in with a solid gameplan and a list of possibly players he has already been in contact with. Don’t take that to mean the team is set though. As any good coach would, Rohde is searching high and low over the off season for prospects that will make the team better.  

While home in the Chicagoland area, Rohde coached a bantam level team over the season and he has taken advantage of league play to look for talent. He was also on hand at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic. Rohde and Lachica both checked out the WIAA Seniors Tournament this past weekend and their calendars are filling up for what promises to be a busy summer, spent mostly sipping coffee and taking notes in ice rinks across North America. 

Falzone will be no less busy but steps a bit into the background as team owner, looking after paperwork, sponsor hunting and promoting the team.

Ducks fans have remained mostly loyal through the past five tough seasons for the Ducks which has seen mostly 16-17 year old players.  

During that tenure, the Ducks have developed many players for upper echelon Tier 3 and some Tier 2 teams and many have gone on to play at Division 3 or ACHA Club hockey teams at th college level. That will continue but watch for the Ducks to begin its move north n league standings as well.  

Fans will enjoy the rise and local youth players will also be thrilled to have Rohde and Lachica ready to help them improve as well.  

Dells Ducks Head Coach Shaun Falzone introduced the team’s sixth (Including Falzone twice) Head Coach, Anthony Rohde who takes over immediately as the team’s Head Coach.

Havoc, Steele dominate Ducks in final three games

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks wrapped up the USPHL Premier regular season with a tough trio of games but some friendly faces on the finale on Sunday night. 

Back-to-back losses (10-0, 6-1) in Hudson against the Havoc Friday and Saturday and a 7-0 loss in both its home and regular season finale at Lake Delton Ice Arena Sunday against the Steele County Blades wrapped up a stretch of 13 losses suffered by the team since returning from the Christmas Break. 

Some trades in the past few weeks have seen the team’s top two scoring players – Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL) to the Chicago Cougars for Francesco Addante (‘02/Glenview, IL) who scored the previous weekend in Wisconsin Rapids and Jayden Tkaczuk (‘02/Channahon, IL) traded to the Detroit Fighting Irish for Andrew Crawford (‘05/Seattle, WA) heading to teams with a shot at a long playoff run. 

 They would be eligible to return next season which could give them a chance to improve on some strong offensive seasons this time around. Glamkowski became just the third player in the 11-year history of the Ducks to hit the 30-goal plateau in a season, joining Aidan Verbeke (37) in the team’s first season and Ian Wood (36, 34) who accomplished it in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

Tkaczuk was the team’s leading scorer last season, and his 56 points (24g, 32a) ranks him 16th all time, two points and one spot in front of Glamkowski. 

Ducks 0, 1 @ Havoc 10, 6 

Friday night was a tough one for the Ducks in Hudson, the home side scoring twice in the opening six minutes on its way to a 4-0 first period lead, a total it matched in the middle period before rounding it off with two more down the stretch. 

Anthony Falzone (‘03/St. Charles, IL) and Drew Moseley (‘02/St. Louis, MO) were the busiest players on the ice, facing a combined 67 shots while the Ducks challenged Matthew Powell with 19 shots, and he kicked them all away. 

While cutting down the shots against and improving its own shots total Saturday night, the goaltending of Moseley was tested once again. He stopped 47 of 53 shots including all 19 of the shots he faced in the first period. 

The Havoc found a way past him in the second period though and scored four times before Ducks’ captain Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI), notched his 12th goal of the season, unassisted.  

Hudson added one more in the final period to clinch the win. 

Blades 7 @ Ducks 0  

Sunday’s game saw the Ducks once again outshot by a wide margin on a night that saw the team struggle in all three periods to get the puck beyond its own blue line.  

Falzone got the start and once again faced a barrage from the opening faceoff, the Blades topping 20 shots in each frame while the hosts couldn’t get to double digits. Overall, it was a 74-15 edge for the visitors who scored, three in the first and last periods and once in the middle.  

The seventh goal came against Jadon Mammen (‘04/Grapevine, TX) who replaced an exhausted Falzone through the final few minutes and faced eight shots.  

Playoffs ahead 

The Ducks move on to the post season as a major underdog, the number eight seed in the Midwest-West Division, taking on the top seeded Minnesota Blue Ox who finished the regular season 66 points ahead of the Dells’ squad.  

The Best of Three series will begin Friday at the Coon Rapids Ice Center at 7 p.m. and the second game will be played Saturday night at the same time and place. 

If needed, a third game would be played on Monday at 2:30 p.m., also in Coon Rapids.  

Winner of this series will advance to the second round of four, battling for one of two Midwest-West division berths at the league’s national championship tournament to be played in Hudson, NH March 24-29. 

Falzone stands tall in goal against Riverkings

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks made the short trek to Wisconsin Rapids last weekend (Feb. 17-18) dropping a pair of decisions in the penultimate weekend of the USPHL regular season, 5-2 on the first night before the Riverkings handed them a lopsided 11-0 defeat the following night. 

Looking to snap a long losing streak and gather some momentum heading into the post season. 

The Ducks made some big moves in the time between games with top scorers Caden Glamkowski and Jayden Tkaczuk both wearing new jerseys as of last weekend, giving both a shot at making some post season noise with the Chicago Cougars and Detroit Fighting Irish respectively. 

As they have all season, the Ducks relied heavily on the goaltending this past weekend and Anthony Falzone (‘03/St. Charles, IL) played a big role in keeping the first game close. Falzone faced close to 70 shots while the Ducks triggered just 11 at the opposite end, but Falzone stood tall throughout the 60-minute contest. 

In fact, Francesco Addante (‘02/Glenview, IL) picked up days before in the Glamkowski trade, fired the lone goal of the first period three minutes into the game from Kai Neumaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL). That allowed the Ducks to carry a 1-0 lead into the middle period despite a massive 28-3 edge on the shots board for the home side. 

The Riverkings finally found a way past Falzone near the halfway mark of the second period and that opened the floodgates for three more, giving the Rapids’ crew a 4-2 edge heading to the third period. 

Luca Maislin (‘03/Montreal, QC) fired his fifth goal in nine games since joining the Ducks while Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI), Ducks’ captain and now, team leading scorer, collected his 19th assist and 30th point. 

Riverkings’ fourth goal was scored by Jeffrey Rebman (‘01/Libertyville, IL) a fifth-year junior who played both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with the Ducks. 

The Riverkings held an 18-5 edge in shots in the middle period and pounded the Ducks with a 22-3 edge in the third, resulting in one final goal. 

On Saturday, the Riverkings dominated the shot clock again but this time they found the net early and often on its way to an 11-0 whitewash, the 10th consecutive loss for the Ducks who enter this weekend with three final chances – two in Hudson Friday and Saturday and back on home ice Sunday – to break into the win column. 

The Riverkings were up 4-0 after a period and added another five in the middle period before putting it away with a couple goals down the stretch.

Drew Mosely (’02/St. Louis, MO), Jadon Mammen (’04/Grapevine, TX) and Falzone each took a turn in goal in this one, combining to kick out 57 in the contest.

Sunday’s game will give local fans one final chance to get a look at the Ducks this season as they take on the Steele County Blades in a 6:30 p.m. start at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. 

The playoff match ups have been determined, at least for the Ducks who face a tough assignment, going into battle next weekend against the Minnesota Blue Ox. Dates and times for that Best-of-Three series are still to be announced. 

Learning curve still steep for improving Ducks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks have shown a marked improvement over the course of the season, but the Minnesota Moose showed them in games Saturday and Sunday, the road to the top half of the USPHL’s Premier Midwest-West Division still features several cutbacks up the side of a steep mountain. 

Recent games against the fifth place Steele County Blades showed the Ducks who for a second season are by far the youngest team in the division are closing in on being more than competitive with mid pack teams.  

But back-to-back 11-2 defeats at the Fogerty Icehouse in Blaine, MN against the Moose were a tough pill to swallow for the locals.  

In the opener on Saturday night, the Moose fired nearly 80 shots at Anthony Falzone (‘03/St. Charles, IL) and Drew Moseley (‘02/St. Louis, MO). 

Again, the Ducks showed promise, staying with the Moose through the opening 20, but a 2-1 Moose cushion turned into a 5-1 lead in the second period and the Moose exploded for a half dozen down the stretch.  

There have been some bright spots and one is the play of Samuel Soltes (‘04/Trnava, Slovakia). He scored his third goal in six games since joining the Ducks on a feed from Justin Green (‘01/Fort Worth, TX). The other goal came from Ethan Matthews (‘02/South Bend, IN) making his debut with the Ducks. 

On Sunday, the start was similar, the Moose carrying a 1-0 lead into the second period before Jayden Tkaczuk (‘02/Channahon, IL) tied it with his 12th goal of the season early in the second period from Caden Glamkowski (‘02/St. Charles, IL) and Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI). 

The Moose responded with the next 10 goals, five in the second period and five more in the final 20 before Tkaczuk notched his 13th, again with help from Glamkowski and Jacobsen 47 seconds from the final buzzer.  

Falzone and Jadon Mammen (‘04/Grapevine, TX) shared the work in this one, sharing the workload against another 70-plus shots on goal. 

The losses in Blaine extended the team’s current losing streak to eight games with five games to play. 

The first four are on the road in Wisconsin with a pair at the South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids Friday and Saturday (Feb. 18-19) against the second place Riverkings and a week later in Hudson against the third place Havoc. The Ducks will wrap up the campaign at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 27 with one last chance to get by the Steele County Blades before the playoffs start. 

Glamkowski reaches milestone for Ducks in loss

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks opened a three-game weekend Friday (Feb. 4) night with a 6-3 loss to the Steele County Blades at the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna, MN. 

Coming off a 3-2 loss on home ice to the Blades the previous Sunday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. This time around the Blades grabbed a 2-0 first period lead, but saw it trimmed to 4-3 by the end of the second. 

Two more unanswered down the stretch padded the lead for the Blades and extended the Ducks’ current losing streak to six games.  

There was some reason to celebrate though as the Ducks’ first goal came off the stick of Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL) for his 30th goal of the season. He is only the third player in team history to record 30 goals in a season. The others were Ian Wood (twice) and Aidan Verbeke. 

Assists on the Glamkowski goal went to Gage Senio (‘04/Red Deer, AB) and Alex Grove (‘02/Waldorf, MD). 

The Blades scored the next two to go up 4-1 but the Ducks struck back with two in the final 5:05 of the period to get within a goal again.  

Samuel Soltes (‘04/Trnava, Slovakia) fired his second goal since joining the Ducks a few weeks ago and another newcome, Luca Maislin (‘03/Montreal, QC) notched his fourth. Glamkowski had set ups on both goals, pushing his team leading points total to 52, Grove and Oliver Cabala (‘05/Kezmorok, Slovakia) adding the other assists.  

Drew Moseley (‘02/St. Louis, MO) handled 38 of 44 shots in goal for the Ducks who were outshot by a margin of 44-17. 

The team hit the road after the game for Saturday and Sunday games in Blaine, MN against the Minnesota Moose to wrap up the team’s final three-game weekend of the season. 

More tough lessons for Ducks in Minnesota

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks junior hockey team hit the ice for the first time in three weeks with a three-game weekend Jan. 28-30. 

After a pair of tough losses on the road against the USPHL Midwest-West Division’s top entry, the Ducks returned home Sunday afternoon to wrap it up with a narrow 3-2 loss to the visiting Steele County Blades.  

Sunday’s game went past chippy, teams combining for more than 70 minutes in the sin bin – more than half of those in the third period. 

The Ducks spent a large part of the third period shorthanded. The good news for the Ducks was it was able to successfully kill every second of the infractions in the final period and the bad news was it left no time for the team to mount a counterattack to tie the score. 

There was no scoring in the third and the Ducks saw a 2-1 lead after a period taken away with two unanswered goals for the Blades in the middle 20. 

Jacob Cartland (‘02/Mukwonago, WI) opened the scoring for the Ducks with a shorthanded tally after taking a feed from Justin Green (‘01/Fort Worth, TX) 8:01 into the contest but the Blades struck back less than a minute later on the same powerplay. Cartland’s goal was his 11th of the season. 

Kai Neumaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL) scored on a solo effort with 4:35 to play in the opening period to give the Ducks a lead at the break. 

Blades scored before the end of the opening minute of the middle period to knot the score and fired the game winner 6:24 from the end of the frame. The tying goal was a shorthanded effort for Seva Bannikov (‘01/Minsk, Belarus) and the game winner came from Jake Miltko (‘03/Colorado Springs, CO). 

Once again, Ducks’ goaltender Drew Moseley (‘02/St. Louis, MO) stepped up in a huge way, stopping all but three of 60 shots faced in goal for the Ducks. 

Ducks 2, 3 @ Blue Ox 15, 9 

The Blue Ox showed the Ducks on Friday and Saturday nights why they are not only the leaders in the Midwest-West Division but a legit threat at capturing the League’s National Championship in March. 

The Ducks opened and closed the scoring in the opening period Friday but in between was five Blue Ox markers, the first three coming together in a span of 53 seconds.  

That was the story of the two-game set as the Blue Ox frequently scored in bunches. With a number of new faces in the lineup, it was a tough assignment trying to work the chemistry in a game situation against a team that turned nearly every Ducks’ miscue into a goal. 

Cartland started a solid weekend of play with the Ducks’ first goal, the other Ducks’ goal scored by Samuel Soltes (‘04/Trnava, Slovakia) in his first game in North America. Defenseman Gage Senio (‘04/Red Deer, AB) had an assist on both Ducks goals. 

Saturday’s game saw a Ducks team determined to keep the game closer and they were successful through the first half of the game.  

Down 2-0 after a period, the team went to work and pulled even with goals from Luca Maislin (‘03/Montreal, QC), his third in four games with the team since being acquired from the Florida Eels and defenseman Luke Taylor (‘04/Chandler, AZ).  

Assists came from Cartland giving him a point in all three games and Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL). 

The tying goal came three minutes into the second period and stayed in place until the Ox fired four in the final seven minutes of the period and added three more in the third. 

The Ducks could take the first two games in stride. Although the first game was its most lopsided loss of the season to date, it chalked up to learning against a solid team that has returned a huge number of players from last season’s team that reached the National Championship tournament. 

The loss to the Blades was tough to take, Ducks facing some adversity in the contest with some tough calls on the ice. 

They get an immediate shot at redemption though as the team kicks off another three-game weekend with a trip to the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna, MN to play the same Blades on Friday night (Feb. 4). Following that, the team will head north to Blaine for Saturday and Sunday matches against the Minnesota Moose. 

The Ducks have eight games remaining in regular season play. This weekend will wrap up its season series with the Moose, leaving two-game weekends in both Wisconsin Rapids and Hudson before wrapping up the campaign on home ice against the Blades Feb. 27. 

Below are interviews done before weekend series. For some reason, the preview story and photos did not upload.