Ducks squad runs out of gas near finish line

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The ninth and final period of a busy weekend was where the understaffed and not entirely well Dells Ducks team hit a wall on Sunday afternoon. 

With a pair of decent, but ultimately unsuccessful efforts in the Twin Cities against the Minnesota Mullets already under its belt, the Ducks stopped at the Four Seasons Center in Owatonna on the way home Sunday afternoon to take on the host Steele County Blades.

 The Ducks entered the weekend with a depleted roster with several team members either battling or just finished with a cold. Even at 2-2 early and down 4-2 with a period to go, the Ducks ultimately succumbed 8-2.

The Ducks were facing a Blades team that opened the season with five wins in its first eight games but coming off an 11-5 win on home ice against the Minnesota Blue Ox who beat them soundly for a second time already this season. 

The Ducks tried to take advantage in the opening periods, staying with the Blades for the most part, but trailing 3-2 after 20 minutes. The Blades added one more in the second and the game was still up for grabs entering the final 20. But the Ducks were running on empty and got beat four more times although the shot clock showed a somewhat closer margin, 15-11 for the host Blades.  

Overall, the Blades outshot the Ducks 53-28, a margin that while still wide, is staring to be narrowed at both ends. Ducks enjoyed its best weekend in terms of shots on goal so far this season.  

Down 2-0 before the game’s three-minute mark, the Ducks fought back with goals from Bryce Jacobsen and Jayden Tkaczuk 18 seconds apart to even the score at the 7:16 mark. Thomas Howell and Jacob Cartland also collected points with an assist apiece.  

Tanner Stendel paced the Blades’ attack firing three goals and adding three assists for his first six points of the season.  

Anthony Falzone started for the Ducks, stopping 38 shots before Drew Moseley mopped up in the third with another seven stops. 

It would be nice to be able to say the Ducks will get a chance to catch its breath, but instead the team is rolling through its shortest off-week of the season, heading back to Blaine, MN for a four-game weekend at the Midwest-West Showcase.  

Ducks will begin play at 12:30 p.m. Thursday with a rematch against the Mullets, then gets a rematch against the Blades on Friday at 9 a.m. The Ducks will play a second game Friday at 5:40 p.m. against the Rum River Mallards, the first meeting since the opening weekend of the season with this rival. Wrapping up play on Saturday, the Ducks will face off against the Minnesota Blue Ox at 5:40 p.m. 

The Ducks enter the Showcase with a 1-10-0-0 record, in eighth place in the division, three points behind the Mallards and a Hudson Havoc team that has played just four games so far. 

Short staffed but strong Ducks hit the road

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

A short-staffed and under the weather Dells Ducks team turned in two solid, if not successful efforts in the first two games of a three-game road trip. 

After a 5-1 Friday night against the Minnesota Mullets, the Ducks turned in an even tougher challenge Saturday evening, the Mullets clinching a 5-2 win with five ticks on the clock into an empty Ducks’ cage at the Augsburg University Ice Arena.

The Ducks welcomed back former team member Jason Heard who collected 50 points (21g, 29a) in 81 games with the team in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Formerly a Georgia resident, Heard now calls Chicago home but has agreed to join the team on weekends to help.  

Heard made his presence felt with a goal and assist Saturday, moving him into a tie with Brett Johnson for 16th place on the Ducks’ all-time scoring leader list. 

Heard was just one of the stories in the two-game set, sharing the spotlight with Caden Glamkowski and Jayden Tkaczuk who both scored as well and the goaltending tandem of Drew Moseley and rookie William Carney, who made an exceptional junior debut.  

Mosely went between the pipes Friday night, getting off to a bit of a shaky start with two goals against in the opening 5:30 of the contest, but then backstopping his team to 28:23 without letting anything past, going deep into the second before the Mullets finally connected on a couple more despite a lopsided 21-8 edge on the shot clock through the middle period. 

Moseley ended up with 43 saves on the night. 

The Ducks gained some consolation in this one as Glamkowski fired his seventh goal of the season with just over five minutes to go, denying Mullets’ goaltender Alex Falkenhagen a shutout. 

Overall, the Mullets held an edge of 48-34 edge on the shot clock, probably the Ducks’ lowest shots against and for sure its most shots for by a country mile. 

On Saturday night, Carney went to the blue paint for the first time and passed a huge test, beaten just once in the first and final periods and twice in a second period that saw him face a 23-shot barrage. With his work in goal, the Ducks remained in contention in this one until the final period.  

The Mullets owned a 1-0 lead after a period and goals by Glamkowski and Heard kept it a one-goal deficit heading to the final frame.  Tkaczuk, Heard and Jake Cartland collected assists for the Ducks. 

Unfortunately, despite a marked improvement in all areas, the Ducks have little to show for the efforts, falling to 1-9-0-0 early in the season.  

The Ducks were scheduled to stop in Owatonna’s Four Seasons Center to play the Steele County Blades on Sunday, then return home to begin preparation for a four-game weekend at the Midwest-West Showcase tournament at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine, MN beginning Thursday. 

Ducks prepare for busy stretch

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks absorbed a couple more losses this past weekend, but the young building squad saw a small, but marked improvement from Saturday to Sunday and individually, a core group is quietly putting up some awesome offensive numbers.  

The task may not be getting tougher, but for sure more frequent as the team is now well into a long and busy stretch that will not relent until Thanksgiving.  

The next two weeks is the busiest of all with 10 games in just over two weeks beginning with a three-game road trip, starting in the Twin Cities, and wrapping up Sunday in Owatonna, MN. The first two games will be against the Minnesota Mullets, a team off to a similarly slow start to the season and equally as desperate to turn things around. On the other hand, the Steele County Blades who will entertain the Ducks on Sunday are off to an awesome 4-1-0-1 start and battling among the division leaders.  

Previously known as the Lakers (out of Edina and Maple Grove), since its transformation to the Mullets, the team coached by Chris Walby, a Sauk County area native has a record of 10-3 against the Ducks. Last season the two teams battled four times; all Mullets wins by a combined score of 32-5.  

This season the Mullets have faced a tough schedule out of the gate and sit at 2-4 and looking forward to a chance to even its record up. 

The Blades have won the past seven meetings against the Ducks including five from last season and as a result, they now have a 9-5 edge in meetings with the local team dating back to the 2018-19 regular season. 

While the Ducks have found it tough to find the win column again this season with just one ‘W’ in its first eight contests, there are some sparkling individual numbers. The team that put up just 65 goals in 43 contests a year ago has already scored 18 in eight games this season.  

Caden Glamkowski, a rookie forward from St. Charles, IL has played a big part, in on all but five of the team’s goals so far. He has six goals and 13 points and is one of a group of players on a pace for an offensive season.  

Bryce Jacobson has three goals and 11 points through the first eight games – two more points than he collected in a half season in 2020-21. Jacob Cartland, another rookie, from Mukwonago, WI, was one of the WIAA’s leading scorers with KMMO last season and has made a seamless transition to the junior level with six goals and nine points. Also, Jayden Tkaczuk, the team’s top scorer with 19 points a season ago has missed half of the eight with a suspension but still has a goal and seven points in the other four. 

The team’s youngest player, rookie defender Jack Kopfstein, an ‘05 from California has shown poise and maturity beyond his years despite playing as part of an understaffed and overworked defense corps. Goaltenders Anthony Falzone and Drew Moseley have handled the bulk of the workload and while facing as many shots in a period as most will in a game, they have remained confident and excited about their work between the pipes. The effort and intensity belie the stats they have been saddled with. 

After this weekend, the Ducks will return home for a few practices before attending its first of three Showcase events before Christmas. This one involves the eight Midwest-West Division teams and will be held at the Fogerty Ice Arena Oct. 22-25. Following that, the team will begin November with a three-game weekend in its final homestand of 2021. 

Bright spots on a rough weekend for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

It was another tough lesson for the Dells Ducks against another of the division’s top teams this past weekend as the team absorbed a pair of tough defeats. 

After dropping a 9-3 decision on Saturday night at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Minnesota Blue Ox on Saturday night, the same two teams returned Sunday for an afternoon matinee contest, the Blue Ox going home happy with a 6-1 win.  

The Blue Ox outshot the Ducks 67-22 on Sunday but that was a slight improvement in both shots for and against for the Ducks over the previous night’s numbers.  

It might be hard to hear once again, but this is a Ducks team in a developing stage. The team has more 18 and young aged players and finds itself once again with Justin Green as the lone 20-year-old. The Ducks have a majority of players 18 and under.

The losses dropped the Ducks to 1-7 on the season so far which is one-win better than last season at this point and while the overall results have been rough, there some brightly shining diamonds in the rough so far as well.  

Caden Glamkowski, an ‘04 from St. Charles, IL scored three times on the weekend and he continues to lead the team with 13 points in eight games. Jayden Tkaczuk who has made it clear he wants to go after the team’s single season scoring record, played his first full weekend since the opening series and he was in on all three goals the first night. He has seven points in four games played and gives the two teams two lines that can score. Jacobsen has racked up 11 points, two more than he collected in more than 20 games played last season. Jacob Cartland has a share of the goal scoring lead for the team with six goals and nine points. 

The weekend series brought an end a set of eight straight games on home ice to open the regular season. The Ducks will make its first road trip of the season Friday, playing at Augsburg University Ice Arena in the Twin Cities at 7:30 p.m. The Mullets are coached by Chris Walby, a long tenured coach who played as a youngster in Sauk Prairie. On Sunday the Ducks will stop off on the way home at Owatonna to meet the Steele County Blades at the Four Seasons Center.

This begins an extremely busy stretch for the Ducks as they follow up this weekend set with four games in three days at the Midwest-West Showcase Tournament at Fogerty Ice House, home of the Minnesota Moose in Blaine, MN, Oct. 28-30, then return home Nov. 5-7 for another three-game weekend. All totalled, that’s 10 games in two weeks. 

Duck Feathers – The Ducks welcomed a half dozen players on a temporary basis on the weekend. The next new player to suit up for the Ducks will be number 250 in team history. 

  • – Tkaczuk boosted his all-time points total with the Ducks to 12 goals and 26 points, moving him into a tie with Colton Maynard for 53rd spot on the Ducks list. He has a good shot at climbing inside the top 50 with another good weekend at Augsburg. He has also crossed the 120-minute mark in penalties and is on pace to become just the third player in team history to go over 200 minutes. 
  • The November 5-7 homestand will be th final homegames for the team in 2021. 

Moose provide tough lessons for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

A young team with few returners, the Ducks knew this season, or at least the first part, would be mostly about learning and improving.  

This past weekend the team endured a painful  lesson against a Minnesota Moose team no Ducks’ squad has yet been able to solve. Since joining the league in the 2017-18 season, the Ducks have defeated the Ducks 16-straight times and this past weekend they showed the local side what it takes to rule the Midwest-West Division.  

A brutally lopsided edge in shots helped the Moose wrap up an 8-0 shutout win in the opening game Saturday, following it up with a 13-2 decision Sunday afternoon, the second time in three sets of games the Ducks have surrendered 21 goals. 

Both games featured a stretch or moment where it seemed the game could turn but it ended up slipping further away.  

On Saturday night, the Ducks were outmatched, but managed to get a chance to pull close, when Caden Glamkowski got open behind the Moose defense and was hauled down. Awarded a penatly shot with the Ducks down just 2-0 into the second period, Simon Johnson in the Moose goal came up with a huge stop. 

The Moose added another goal later in the middl period and put this one away with five more in the third. Anthony Falzone, in goal for the Ducks did a standout job, kicking out 36 of 39 shots through those first two periods and the Moose took its shots total past 60 in the game, topping it by going north of 70 on Sunday. 

The Moose picked up where it left off Sunday, but once again a rough stretch in the middle period almost let the Ducks get even.  

Up 3-0, the Moose, who wore out a path to the penalty box in both games, found themselves down two skaters.  

The Ducks not only took advantage as Jake Cartland fired his sixth of the season with help from Jayden Tkaczuk and Bryce Jacobsen to make it a 3-1 game, the Ducks took it to the Moose with its best pressure of the weekend for the next few minutes. 

The Ducks pressure came to a sudden gut punch of a halt when Jared Topil carried the puck through the neutral zone and fired the fourth Moose goal. Emotional turn was hard on the Ducks who surrered another goal to Topil on the same shift and two more before the end of the second period.  

The other Ducks goal came from Tkaczuk who celebrated his return from a four-game suspension with a a goal and assist. Glamkowski and Jacobsen collected set ups on the goal.  

The Ducks had a day off to lick wounds and returned to the rink ready to prepare for another tough weekend against the Minnesota Blue Ox on Tuesday. The Blue Ox joined the Moose at the National championship tournament at the end of last season. After dropping some early games the Blue Ox come in hot after a sweep against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings on home ice this past weekend. 

Playing Moose a tough assignment for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info  

The Ducks are facing an opponent so tough in the Minnesota Moose, they added a week of preparation. 

A hockey team faces tests all through its season, but facing the Moose this weekend is on part with a Harvard entrance exam. 

The Moose have been among the toughest opponents for the Ducks since joining the USPHL at the beginning of the Fall of 2018. Actually, they don’t come any tougher. The Moose have compiled a perfect 14-0 record against the Ducks with 14 straight regulation defeats. 

Five of those losses came last year by a combined score of 49-5.  

A few Ducks players remember those (or at least some of those) contests well, but coming off a win in its series against the Cougars two weeks ago and a solid chemistry that has the team communicating better every time it steps on the ice, there is some genuine confidence heading into this weekend.  

The Moose have played three games so far this season and come into action this weekend sporting a 2-1 record. They were scheduled to play the Minnesota Mullets on home ice at Fogerty Ice Arena. 

Among the offensive leaders for the Moose heading into the weekend were captain Chase Solberg with seven points with Hunter Barto and Ike Frankel next at four points apiece.  

Those are some familiar names for the Ducks. Solberg collected 13 points against the Ducks last season including three goals and three assists in the first meeting of the season at the Midwest-West Showcase. 

Frankel also feasted on the Ducks with five goals and five assists, Barto adding a goal and four helpers.  

The Only current members of the Ducks to score against the Moose are Jayden Tkaczuk and Carter Lewis.  

However, the Ducks have put up some much better offensive numbers through the opening four games including nine points already from Caden Glamkowski (3g, 6a) while fellow rookie Jake Cartland (5g, 2a) and returner Bryce Jacobsen (2g, 5a) both have seven points through four games. That offense has been collected mostly without help from captain Jayden Tkaczuk who will be absent Friday, but returns to action Saturday hungry to get involved with his teammates on the score sheet.  

In goal, Luke Buza was selected as Goaltender of the Week at the end of September, the same week Cartland collected Top Forward honors. Buza has played all three games for the Moose so far and had a 3.00 Goals Against Average along with a .902 Save Percentage heading into play this weekend.  

For the Ducks, Anthony Falzone and Drew Mosely have split the work evenly. A dismal weekend for the entire team against the Rum River Mallards on the opening weekend left the goaltenders with some big statistical numbers. A week later through, both played again and both took a big chunk out of their Goals Against while raising their Save Percentages. Falzone collected his first junior win in goal and Mosely has looked good in both of his starts and is not far from joining Falzone in the win column. 

The task this weekend will be to play a disciplined game and take advantage of manpower advantages while limiting powerplay opportunties for the Moose, staying hot on defense while at the same time keeping up the steady improvement in its own end, limiting chances, especially rebounds for the Moose and transitioning quickly from defense to offense. 

Game time Saturday night is 7:30 p.m. with a quick turnaround for Sunday seeing teams back on the ice at 1:30 p.m.  

Glamkowski’s return a big plus for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Ducks are closing in on its first meetings with the always tough Minnesota Moose with some cautious optimism.  

Early in the pre-season and into the opening pair of games against the Rum River Mallards, on-ice communication was slowly developing, but the team looked sharp in spots against the Chicago Cougars two weekends ago.  

Dells Ducks

After their second practice of the day Wednesday afternoon at the Lake Delton Ice Arena, Head Coach Shaun Falzone and forward Bryce Jacobsen, one of the few Ducks players who has faced the Moose before, discussed what is going on with the team heading into a tough weekend. 

Falzone had good news in his interview announcing the return to practice of Caden Glamkowski who has been sidelined for a while and the addition of ’01 forward Alex Hertlein, picked up from the Chicago Cougars.

Ducks return from break and prepare for Moose

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Following its first off weekend of the season the Dells Ducks returned to work at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Monday, beginning a long stretch that won’t see them off again until Thanksgiving.  

Dells Ducks

October and November will see the team in action for seven straight weekends including two three-game sets and two four-game Showcase events in Blaine, MN and Merrimack College in New England. 

In all, the 20 games played in the next seven weeks will carry the team past the halfway mark on its 44-game USPHL Premier schedule. 

The last action for the Ducks was an encouraging weekend split with the Chicago Cougars. The team clearly is hoping to build on that momentum with two of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division’s perennial frontrunners next on the itinerary. 

Head Coach Shaun Falzone said there was a little rust to shake off in the first of two practices Monday, but added the team already looked better for the second session. All areas need improvement of course, but the transition game and limiting chances for the opposition is still the primary concern and likely will be for most of the season. 

The team looks more organized and confident in its own end, but still has some lengthy lapses and counted on some stellar goaltending performances to counter a pair of games this past weekend both surpassing 60 shots against. 

This weekend’s series will begin Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and wrap up with a matinee contest Sunday at 1:30 p.m.  

Player of the week honors for Ducks’ Cartland

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks wrapped up the midpoint of its first off-weekoff week of the young season and got some good news along the way. 

Jacob Cartland scored four goals in two games this past weekend and was named as the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division Forward of the Week.  

Jacob Cartland has made a great debut as a rookie with the Ducks this season. The Rookie forward has five goals and seven points in four games and was named as the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Forward of the Week — Photo Courtesy Gary Wiles.

One of the top scoring forwards in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) as a forward with Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc, Cartland has made a seamless transition to the junior game. 

Playing mostly on a line with fellow rookie Caden Glamkowski, the pair have played a part on almost all 12-goals scored by the Ducks so far this season, they combined to total 16 points on the season so far.  

Players have been either working towards the season or competing for the past six-weeks and will be rewarded with their first break this weekend, giving many of the Midwest players a chance to dash home to see their family, pets and taste some home cooking.  

Hopefully, they get the most out of this weekend as they will return to play every weekend following until Thanksgiving – a total of 20 games, beginning with four more on home ice, then continuing with trips to the Twin Cities, Owatonna, MNMN, and Merrimack College near the border of Massachusetts and Maine. 

In his meeting with the media today, Head Coach Shaun Falzone said the players have earned the break with the pace they have been on so far – two practices a day for the past several weeks and a busy weekend both on and off the ice.  

The team will wrap up Friday, then return Monday to begin specific preparations for the Minnesota Moose, a perennial contender for the top spot in the division and one of the two division reps at Nationals this past season. 

First break in busy schedule for Dells Ducks

By Jim den Hollander

Saukhockey.info

Editor/Publisher

With four games behind them (1-3-0), the Dells Ducks head into its first off weekend of the regular season.

Dells Ducks

While the team will continue twice-a-day practices at the Lake Delton Ice Arena, the carrot of Friday/Saturday games on the horizon will be removed for this week, but Assistant Coach Mario Lachica the team is working hard with ‘flow drills’ run at game tempo to improve on timing and communication.

This past weekend was a busy one for the Ducks who not only wrapped up a stretch of eight games in two weeks but also adhered to a busy off ice schedule that included heading to Bobber’s Island Grill Thursday to check out former Dells Ducks forward Colin Cross, now a Nashville-based country-western artist in town on a short Midwest tour, promoting and selling tickets for a local outlet mall that had an open house type event Saturday and finally, attending the final day of a big championship points weekend at Dells Raceway Park on Sunday.

Colin Cross in the middle of back row, took a minute away from his four-hour show at Bobber’s last Thursday (September 23) to stand with his new Dells Ducks brothers. In front are Cross’ bandmates Tim Angsten (left) and Mac Watts on the right.

Monday seemed like a break despite a pair of practices.