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. 

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.

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. 

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.