By Jim den Hollander
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.