By Jim den Hollander
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.