Back to work — Ducks kick off second half in Chicago

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

With a short Thanksgiving break behind them, the Dells Ducks move into the second half of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season this weekend with a trip to the Windy City.  

The Chicago Cougars are easily the team’s biggest out-of-division rival given their history and the fact they meet every season. 

The Cougars are one of the teams in the stable of owner John Schwarz, who up until this season was also the original owner of the Dells Ducks. The teams have had some big meetings in the past including a playoff series to decide which team would move on to the National Championship tournament in the Cougars inaugural campaign.  

In recent seasons, the Cougars have mostly been the dominant squad, posting a 7-2-1-0 record against the Ducks since the 2018-19 season got underway.  

However, one of those two Ducks’ wins came in the season opener this year as the Ducks pulled out a 5-4 overtime win. Jake Cartland and Caden Glamkowski both scored twice in that one and Bryce Jacobsen fired the overtime game winner. 

That win brought an end to an eight-game streak for the Cougars dating back to the 2018 season.  

The following night the Cougars returned and pulled out a 4-2 win and the Ducks have won just twice in 22 games since then. Meanwhile, the Cougars have compiled a 12-5-2-0 record and sit atop the Midwest-East division heading into the weekend. 

Making it tougher, when the weekend series starts at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Glamkowski will be on the sidelines sitting a one-game suspension. He will be back for the Sunday afternoon game, starting at 1 p.m.  

It will be an interesting weekend for the Ducks as they head to Fifth Third Arena near Chicago, the practice facility of the Chicago Blackhawks and the home arena of the Chicago Mission AAA teams. 

The Ducks have a slightly more relaxed schedule this month after some non-stop play7 through the first three months of the season.  

The team will become familiar with the Fifth Third Arena though as after a home game next Thursday against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, the team will head back to the same arena for a four-game Showcase tournament beginning Dec. 16, carrying them into the Christmas Break. 

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. 

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.  

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.  

Ducks entertain Titans in exhibition contest

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks got a midweek tune-up in preparation for its second home weekend of the United States Premier Hockey League Premier Midwest-West Regular season with an exhibition game against the UW Oshkosh Titans at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. 

Dells Ducks

The Titans collected a 4-1 win, carrying a 2-1 margin out of the opening period and adding two more in the third. 

A surprisingly physical and chippy exhibition contest showed a Ducks team not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the older squad, but also a little more disciplined on the night. As a result, the Ducks were assessed 14 minutes in minor penalties while the Titans sat 47 minutes including a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct. 

Trent Bachman, a former member of the Dells Ducks was a captain for the Titans and his younger brother Sam Bachman suited up for the Ducks after debuting for the team this past weekend.  

The Bachman brothers squared off in an exhibition contest at Lake Delton Ice Arena Wednesday night. On the left is Trent Bachman who played with the Ducks last season with his younger brother Sam. Both are defensemen.

Oshkosh hit the scoreboard first 6:44 into the contest but Jake Cartland equalized just 94 seconds later.  

The winning goal came about three minutes later. After a scoreless middle frame, the Titans clinched the win with two more down the stretch. 

The Ducks will be back in action this weekend against the Chicago Cougars in their third and fourth of eight straight home games to open the regular season.  

For a weekend preview, the Ducks are asking fans to join us at Bobbers Island Grill on Thursday night to support former Ducks player Colin Cross who now is a successful Nashville-based County Western musician.  

Happy Birthday Jacobsen

Bryce Jacobsen was looking for a place to play last season as the DeForest Norskies suspended play for its varsity hockey team due to the pandemic restrictions, in particular in Dane County. The Ducks are so happy he came looking in the Dells area.

Jacobsen tested the ice and liked the environment with the Ducks, signing on to play the final 23 games of the season. The center was an instant fit and went to to scoring five goals and add four assists through the remainder of the season.

Back for the 2021-22 season, Jacobsen was recently named one of the four team captains and despite a rough ride on the weekend against the visiting Rum River Mallards, Jacobsen scored a goal on a penalty shot and added an assist.

On Wednesday, Jacobsen celebrated his 19th Birthday. Saukhockey.info and the Dells Ducks want to wish Jacobsen a Happy Birthday

Bryce Jacobsen (middle) celebrates a Dells Ducks goal this past weekend with teammates Logan Dineen (left) and Carter Lewis. — Photo Courtesy Gary Wiles

Back to work for Ducks after tough opening weekend

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

After a pair of tough weekend losses against the Rum River Mallards, the Dells Ducks showed up Monday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena ready to move on and prepare for its next challenge – the Chicago Cougars.

Dells Ducks

Outscored 21-5 in two weekend contests (13-4 and 8-1), the Ducks players technically had a day off Sunday, but Head Coach Shaun Falzone said he gathered the players to study film and get a jump on the preparations in front of them.

Of course, nobody is pleased after back-to-back lopsided losses, but the improvement from Friday to Saturday and some diamonds in the rough gave an indication the team is on the right track to shaking off the bad habits that have followed the players into a new season.

It’s an uphill battle because everyone else is improving every day as well, but a young Ducks team and the coaches have identified the specific areas that need to be improved and once again, it starts in the team’s own end.

A marked improvement was evident on Saturday night, but there were also stretches where the Mallards set up what seemed a near permanent camp inside the Ducks’ blueline. The Mallards collected two goals on six powerplays, but the Ducks also killed off a major thanks in part to the stellar work between the pipes of ’02 goaltender Drew Moseley on Saturday night. Anthony Falzone also had some bright moments Friday and both goaltenders came on in relief of the other in the weekend contests.

Bright points also included the first goals of the junior careers of Jake Cartland (‘02/East Troy, WI); Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL) and Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Newport Beach, CA) while veterans Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI) — on a penalty shot – and Logan Dineen (‘01/Great Falls, MT) also notched their first goals of the season.

Ejections and suspensions to some key players made life a bit more difficult, but some players took advantage of the opportunity with increased ice time and special teams play, turning in a solid effort. The Mallards did score twice on six powerplays Saturday, but the Ducks looked impressive despite that, including killing off a major penalty at a crucial time.

The Ducks will be back on the ice to face the Cougars, a rival from the Midwest-East Division both Friday and Saturday nights at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. Both games faceoff at 7:30 p.m.

Captains named

Among the formalities early this week was the appointment of four captains for the Ducks. All four are returners as Jacobsen, Colin March (’03/McHenry, IL); Jayden Tkaczuk (’02/Channahon, IL) and Thomas Howell (’04/Gilmer, TX). As of their appointment, all four will share the leadership responsibility with no ‘C’s or ‘A’s being presented at this time.

Pictured are Dells Ducks 2021-22 Captains including from left: Thomas Howell, Jayden Tkaczuk, Colin March and Bryce Jacobsen.

Recent Birthdays

Ian Wood joined a Dells Ducks team eager to take the next step after reaching the MNJHL Minnesota Division championship game the previous season when he joined the team in the fall of 2013.

The following season the Pittsburgh, PA native wore the ‘C’ on his chest and helped the team claim the Bush Cup as MNJHL Champions. Both seasons ended with Wood and the Ducks playing at USA Hockey Nationals in the Hartford, CT area.

Ian Wood

Also on the team in that second season with Tyler Forest, from Simi Valley, CA.

Wood went on to play four more seasons of hockey at Morrisville State College in the NCAA Division 3 SUNY Conference, once again wearing the Captain’s ‘C’ for his final two seasons there.

Forest also moved on to play in College, spending a season with the ACHA team at Williston State College before moving on to play Division 3 at Becker College in Worcester, MA.

Forest turned 27 on Sept. 13 and Wood also turned 27 on Monday (Sept. 20). Belated as it is, Saukhockey.info and the Dells Ducks hope both of these key players from our championship season enjoyed a Happy Birthday.

Tyler Forest

Ducks land KMMO sniper Cartland for 2021-22 season

By Jim den Hollander

Publisher/Editor

Saukhockey.info

The Dells Ducks added a top-notch Wisconsin player to its lineup as Jake Cartland (‘02/Elkhorn, Wis.) signed his contract at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Sunday (May 2).

Cartland was the leading scorer for Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc in WIAA varsity play this past season with 25 goals and 46 points in just 23 games. He helped the team reach the Sectional Championship game where its progress was impeded by the University School of Milwaukee.

The lanky winger might be one of the best forwards to sign for the Ducks in the team’s 10-season history and Coach Shaun Falzone, a family friend of the Cartlands said in a video interview he was confident Cartland will transition well to the junior game.

Falzone has been busy since the end of the season, but particularly in the past couple weeks as he scouted at the NCDC Combine held near Detroit the previous weekend and has been watching the 2021 Chipotle USA Hockey Tier II 18U Nationals in Green Bay since Thursday. He dashed to Lake Delton to show the facilities at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

Watch for more announcements in the days and weeks to come – Cartland is the fourth new signing of the off season as Falzone plans to make some big moves in the standings in his sophomore season since taking over the Dells Ducks last spring.

After signing his contract, Cartland and Falzone took a few minutes for a video interview.