By Jim den Hollander
The Dells Ducks will return home for its third straight weekend of three or more games with visits from the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings on Friday and the Hudson Havoc Saturday and Sunday.
After this weekend, the Ducks, who enter with a 1-14 record will have played all seven of its USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division opponents at least once. While a core group of players are enjoying stellar individual campaigns, the young team has found it difficult to find the win column.
After a thrilling overtime win against the Chicago Cougars in the third game of the season, September 24, the Ducks dropped a dozen straight.
Making things a bit more difficult, the team has played short-staffed the past couple weeks, but the defense corps got a needed boost at the Midwest-West Showcase with the addition of Evan Haddeman (‘04/Hudson, IA), who came to the Ducks after starting the season with the Lake Tahoe Lakers in the Premier Pacific Division.
Also in the lineup was Zachary Windom, an ‘05 defenseman from Allen, TX who has been with the team since opening day but recovering from an ankle injury. Easily the youngest defense corps in the division if not the league, the Ducks enter the weekend with two ‘05’s (Windom and Jack Kopfstein) and three ‘04’s (Haddeman, Thomas Howell and Lucas Taylor).
Once again, the upcoming tests will be difficult as the Riverkings and Havoc are perennial top-four finishers although a quick look at the division history books shows a Havoc team that made its own way up from rock bottom about five seasons ago.
Since 2018, the Ducks have won just twice in 14 starts against the Riverkings and both – a 1-0 win in 2019 that saw Emil Norrman kicking out all 47 shots he faced, and a 4-3 edge in 2020 that saw Jason Heard scoring a pair of goals. Heard has returned to the Ducks on a part time basis whenever his job commitments in Chicago allow.
Last season, the Ducks squared off with the Riverkings five times and scored just one goal….total. The Riverkings meanwhile hit double digits on the scoreboard in three of the games. Needless to say, the Riverkings have had the Ducks’ number in recent seasons.
The Ducks have posted a 2-9-2-0 record against the Havoc since 2018 but the Havoc has claimed the last 11. The Ducks last win came Nov. 3, 2018.
Game time on both Friday and Saturday will be 7:30 p.m. with a 1:30 p.m. Matinee contest on Sunday.