By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info The Dells Ducks got a good look at what a division championship team looks like Saturday (Jan. 21) because thats about all the Hudson Havoc let them do.
The Ducks made the trek to the Wisconsin/Minnesota border for the first time this season to face off with the Havoc who entered the game riding a seven-game winning streak. The Havoc have dominated with rock solid defense this season and that was evident with a 53-5 edge in shots and a 5-0 win Saturday night. The meeting was the second of the season, the Havoc collecting an 8-0 win in their first game of the season at Lake Delton Ice Arena in October.
The blanked defense Saturday earned the Havoc its second shutout in 24 hours with just five stops. Meanwhile, the true hero in this one…again…was Chris Mazurek, the Duck’s ’03 goaltender saddled with the loss despite a 48 save effort.
The Havoc scored twice in the first period with a 16-1 edge in shots adding two more in the second with an 18-2 margin and one more down the stretch when they outshot its guests 19-2.
The game was the only one of the weekend for the Ducks who will look to snap a four-game losing streak Sunday when the Minnesota Mullets pay a visit to the Lake Delton Ice Arena. The game will again be the team’s only game of the weekend, but it will begin a stretch of four straight on home ice.
The Ducks currently hold down the eighth and final playoff spot in the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division, six points up on the ninth place Mullets who have played one game fewer. The Mullets will be even when they arrive in Lake Delton with a game the previous night on home ice against the Minnesota Blue Ox.
The Dells Ducks rode a promising stretch into the Christmas Break and came out the other side looking to continue its inspired play into the portion of the season that has been its Waterloo in previous years.
Generally, teams come out of the Christmas Break having completed their Showcase events or else have one final Showcase right away in January.
Following that, the Ducks engage in head-to-head Midwest-West Division matches through the season’s homestretch and they have had little success in those games in the past.
This season, the Ducks lost its first 14 games before finally breaking into the win column in early November. Since then, the team has posted a record of 9-12 and for the most part, they have been in every contest.
The highlight of the season so far was likely the opener at the Chicago Showcase on Dec. 15 as goaltender Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL.) kicked out all 45 Chicago Cougars chances and led his team to a 1-0 edge against its Midwest-East Division rival. Captain Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI) scored the lone goal.
The Ducks wrapped up the event 2-2 with a 5-1 win against MHC, a tournament team put together by the Metro Jets along with a 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones from the Great Lakes Division and a 6-0 loss in its finale against the Northern Colorado Eagles from the Mountain Division.
Following the Christmas Break, the Ducks returned on a promising note with a closer than it sounds 4-1 win at home against the Steele County Blades on Jan. 7.
Noah Czech (‘04/Natick, MA) scored first and newcomer Ashot Davyton (‘05/Russia) put the Ducks in front to stay 2-1 in the final period. Ryan Hammer (‘05/Wheaton, IL) and Logan Potts (‘03/Allen, TX) both added last minute empty netters to put the win away.
The following night, the Blades responded with a 4-2 win, Ducks goals fired by Davyton and Ethan Matthews (‘02/South Bend, IN).
This past weekend was a rough one though, after dropping a narrow 4-3 decision at South Wood County Recreation Center (SWCRC) in Wisconsin Rapids Friday night, an on-ice incident sidetracked the team Saturday, and they were pounded 11-4.
Jacobsen fired the lone first period goal and the host Riverkings led 3-1, adding another in the middle period before Hammer and Mikel Ferran Cobo (‘02/Cuernabaca, Mexico) fired late goals to make it interesting.
Major penalties early allowed the Riverkings to pile up six unanswered first period goals and they never looked back
Jack Kopsfstein (‘05/Vista, CA); Matthews; Reece Atkins (‘03/Amery, WI) and Jacobsen fired the Ducks’ goals.
The Ducks will look to improve on its 1-3 record since the start of the New Year but it will be hard with the lone contest this weekend at Hudson Sports and Civic Center against the first place Hudson Havoc.
Below are some interviews from the Chicago Showcase. Not as timely now, but still some great comments from Head Coach Anthony Rohde and goaltender Chris Mazurek.
The Dells Ducks have enjoyed a nice turnaround to its regular season of late but one thing remains the same.
Fogerty Ice Arena is no fun for them.
Coming into a weekend set with the host Minnesota Moose riding a modest two-game winning streak and looking much better of late, the Moose brushed them aside in the first of two games by an 11-1 score. The following night the Ducks came out looking to turn the tables and led 2-1 late in the game in what would have been its biggest victory in several seasons.
But the Moose, a team the Ducks have never defeated, spoiled the day for them again, tying the game with 3:30 to play and snatching the win away just over a minute later.
The Moose fired two more in the game’s final minute, the first into an empty goal to rub a bit more salt into the wound, wrapping up a 5-2 win.
Despite the tough losses in Blaine, a win in the Twin Cities Thursday night against the Minnesota Mullets widened the Ducks in the final playoff position and the ninth place Mullets who wrapped an 0-3 weekend.
HIghlights of Thursday included another win in goal for Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL) as he stopped 26 of 28 Mullets’ shots and Austin Holmberg (‘03/Amery, WI) fired the game winner early in the final period. Holmberg’s goal was the first of three helping the Ducks rally back from a 2-1 deficit for a 4-2 win.
Friday’s game was a mismatch from the opening faceoff as the host Moose peppered Anthony Falzone (‘03/St. Charles, IL) and Jadon Mammen (‘04/Grapevine, TX) with a combined 68 shots including the game winner notched before the halfway mark of the opening period.
MIkel Ferran Cobo (‘02/Curernabaca, Mexico), a former Moose player fired his third goal since joining the Ducks just before Thanksgiving, the lone bright spot on an otherwise rough night.
If the Ducks were down after the loss to the Moose, it didn’t show Saturday as the team came out looking to prove something in its fourth and final meeting of the season with the Blaine-based squad.
Moose got on the board with the lone goal of the first period but defenseman Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Vista, CA) responded with the lone second period tally.
Mazurek turned in his best outing of the season, kicking out 45 of 46 to keep the game even after 40 despite a 46-17 margin for the home side on the shot counter.
A brilliant neutral zone takeaway sent Bryce Jacobsen in alone and he buried a go-ahead goal right after the Ducks killed a minor penalty with just under four minutes goal in the third giving the Ducks their first lead of the season against the Moose.
The Moose kept up its barrage against Mazurek until netting the equalizer just 3:30 from the final buzzer and breaking Ducks hearts with the game winner just over a minute later. The clincher was slid into an empty net and the Moose fired one more meaningless goal with four seconds to play.
The Ducks will be hoping the goaltending effort of Mazurek who should be the Goaltender of the Week for the division, will give them momentum as they head to the Windy City Thursday for its third and final Showcase event of the season.
The Ducks will start out Thursday at 12:40 p.m. (CST) at the Canlan Arena in Romeoville against the Chicago Cougars who they played in a couple of pre-season exhibition contests in Lake Delton. The Cougars are from the Midwest-East Division.
On Friday the Ducks will face two opponents at the Leafs Center in Elgin, IL. First up is the Cincinnati Cyclones from the Great Lakes Division at 10:10 a.m. and later they will play the MHC club, made up of Metro Jets players, also from the Great Lakes Division.
Wrapping up the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule, the Ducks will return to Romeoville Saturday to play the Northern Colorado Eagles from the Mountain Division at 7:50 p.m. Because the games are being played in a tournament format, starting times may not be exact.
After the Showcase, players will scatter around the globe to celebrate the holiday with their respective families, then return to prepare for its first home series since November Steele County Blades pay a visit to the Lake Delton Ice Arena Jan. 7-8, 2023.
Those games will kick off the 13-game homestretch for the Ducks who will wrap up the regular season on Feb. 26.
Jackson Jones (‘04/Bloomer, Wis.) couldn’t have picked a better time to score his first goal for the Dells Ducks.
The defenseman’s shot from the blue line went off a Mullets player and gave the Ducks its first and only lead on the way to a 3-1 win for the visitors at Augsburg University Ice Arena Thursday night.
The goal was the middle tally of a three-goal second period for the Ducks, charging back from a 1-0 deficit and snapping a three-game losing streak.
The team started December coming off its best month of hockey in three seasons though and picked up right where the boys left off before Thanksgiving Break.
Ethan Matthews (‘02/Granger, IN) had the first Ducks’ goal tying the game in the fifth minute of the middle frame, from Mikel Ferran Cobo (‘02/Mexico City) and Adam Brown (‘02/Westmont, IL) setting the stage for Jones who got help from Logan Potts (‘03/Allen, TX) and Gabe Krueger (‘03/Blaine, MN).
Jones scored with 4:44 to play in the period and Kai Neumaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL) added an insurance tally a little over three minutes later from Brown and Braydan Kirchmann (‘04/Waterloo, IA).
The lone Mullies goal was scored by Ben Willcoxson (’03/Scottsdale, AZ) with 7:11 to play in the opening period.
From there it was up to the goaltenders as Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL) collected his second win with 25 stops and Alex Falkenhagen (02/Thornhill, ON), one of the league’s busiest goaltenders stopped 35 shots for the Mullets.
The Ducks outshot their host in all three periods, including a 16-9 margin out of the gate and 15-8 through the three goal second frame.
After a busy November that saw three and four-game weekends before the norm, the Ducks enjoy a rare weekend off after this Thursday night contest that boosted the team’s record to 5-16-2-1 for 13 points, already four points more than they collected in 2021-22.
More importantly, they widened the gap between them in eighth place and the ninth place (4-15-0-1) to four points while creeping to within four of the seventh place Minnesota Blue Ox. Both teams have played fewer games (the Ox several fewer) but the Mullets will make up a couple this weekend with other games in Isanti against the Outlaws Saturday and Owatonna Sunday against the Steele County Blades
The Ducks can prepare a little more for a rematch with the Mullets back at Augsburg next Thursday night – the first of a three-game weekend and seven games in nine days carrying the Ducks to the Christmas Break.
Numbers – The three goals on Thursday run the team’s total to 57 on the season so far with 20 games to play. That’s just 37 shy of last season’s 94 goal total. At the other end, Ducks allowed 333 goals last season compared to 118 so far this season. The team is on pace to shave a large number off the total.
Individually, Matthew leads the team in points with 20 while Jack Kopfstein has the most goals with eight, one more than Matthews and Potts.
In goal, Jadon Mammen (‘04/Wheaton, IL) and Mazurek both have two wins and Mammen leads the way in Save with a .900 showing so far. Mazurek leads in minutes with 498 and shots against with 346.
After a promising start Friday, the Dells Ducks ran into a couple tough opponents Saturday at the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Detroit Showcase.
Once again, goals were hard to come by for the Ducks who were shutout by the Motor City Gamblers Saturday afternoon and dropped a 5-2 decision against the Columbus Mavericks Saturday night, bringing the team to the halfway mark on its regular season.
Gamblers 5 Ducks 0
The Gamblers, formerly known as the Detroit Fighting Irish from the Midwest-East Division dominated the Ducks with a 37-17 edge in shots including a 16-5 margin in the first period.
Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL) was beaten three times in that opening period but limited the Gamblers to just two more goals on 21 shots the rest of the way. One of the Gamblers’ goals came from Jayden Tkaczuk who played the previous two seasons with the Ducks and led the team in scoring in 2020-21.
Mavericks 5 Ducks 2
Saturday night, the Mavs opened the scoring with two goals 1:42 apart but Ducks’ defender Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Vista, CA) pulled one back later in the period with his eight of the season from Logan Potts (‘03/Allen, TX) and Mikel Ferran Cobo (‘04/Mexico City, Mexico).
The Mavericks, from the USPHL’s Great Lakes Division, added another a few minutes later to carry a 3-1 lead out of the opening period and that stood up until the final frame when two more had the Mavericks up 5-1 before Kai Neumaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL) pulled one more back late in the contest.
Anthony Falzone went to the blue paint for the second time on the weekend, facing 38 shots in the contest.
The Saturday losses dropped the team’s overall record to 4-15-2-1 at the 22-game mark, leaving 22 to play in the regular season.
The Ducks have one game left in Detroit, wrapping up the pre-Thanksgiving portion of its schedule today (Sunday, Nov. 20) against the Fort Wayne Spacemen from the Midwest-East Division.