Ducks looking for finish strong in USPHL

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.



South-Central WEHL squad collects Wheels of Fire title

By Jim den Hollander 


With a week off in the middle of its short season schedule, the 14U South Central Wisconsin Elite Hockey League (WEHL) squad took several team members to the Chicago area for a weekend tournament. 

Clearly the class of the field, the South-Central squad which uses the Lake Delton Ice Arena as a home-base, didn’t just pick up four wins, but surrendered just a single goal on the weekend at the Wheels of Fire Tournament

Starting out against THEM Girls. South-Central collected a 6-0 win with Tomah’s Shelby King (Blue Devils AAA) leading the way with a four-goal game, Anna Phillips of Black River Falls and Julia Purinton from McFarland (Madison Mavericks) notching the other goals.  

Against the Metro Jets from the Detroit area, South-Central rolled to a 10-0 goose egg with Phillips and King notching two more apiece and others for Waunakee’s Olivia Dull; Leah Grudzinski from Verona (Madison Mavericks); Maizy Fonseca of Warren (Monroe Youth Hockey Avalanche); Abby Hollfelder of Sun Prairie (Madison Mavericks); Carolina Cutrano from Waunakee (Madision Mavericks) and Payton O’Neill from Black River Falls (WI TNT/Blue Devils) and Reedsburg’s Paige Othmer (Badger Lightning/RWD/Blue Devils) collected an assist on the game winner. 

RWD/Badger Lightning defender hustles back to her own end to gather a puck against the WEHL SouthEast team at the Wheels of Fire Tournament in Darien, IL. While helping defensively on a weekend that saw just one goal against in four contests, Othmer also contributed an assist for South-Central.

Against a familiar opponent, the WEHL SouthEast team (for the fifth time in two weeks), the South Central squad kept rolling with a 4-1 win. This time Brynn Brinkmeister is from Sun Prairie (Madison Mavericks/Wisconsin Jr. Stars) paced the attack with two goals and othes came from Phillips and Grudzinski. 

The weekend finished where it started as South Central lined up Sunday against THEM Girls once again, getting a tougher challenge but still blanking the oppostion 3-0. 

Othmer drew a penalty and it was on that powerplay the South-Central squad notched the game winner, Grudzinski pulling the trigger for her second of the weekend.  

Insurance came late as Phillips stayed hot, scoring the clincher wrapping up a weekend that saw her score in every game, notching the easiest one of the stretch into an empty THEM Girls cage. Another empty netter from King put an exclamation point on it. 

While the goals piled up for the South-Central squad, goaltending has been unreal this season so far as the goaltending trio of Lily Rosenthal from Sun Prairie (Madison Mavericks/Jr. Wisconsin Stars); Tomah’s Alexa Moore (TNT Hockey/Blue Devils) and Diana Hanson from Holmen (Coulee Region Stars/Jr. Chill/River Valley Fuse) have kept a clean crease five times in 10 games. 

The 14U South-Central squad will be back in Lake Delton on Wednesday to prepare for a return to WEHL play this weekend as they travel to Cornerstone in Green Bay Sunday for a pair of games against North-Central/NorthEast at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  

The South Central team is 2-2-2 in WEHL league play and 6-2-2 overall heading into this weekend, but they have not played this team yet. 

The WEHL South-Central squad took a minute after four games in Darien, IL to show off their medals and championship pennant won at the Wheels of Fire 14U Hockey Tournament this past weekend. The team will head into its second and final month of the WEHL season in Green Bay Sunday.

Steep learning curve for Ducks in Motown

By Jim den Hollander


The Dells Ducks dropped another test in the third of four games at Southgate Civic Ice Arena, near Detroit, falling 7-4 to the Detroit Fighting Irish.

Dells Ducks

Offensively this was the team’s best game of the weekend as rookie Jacob Cartland (‘02/Mukwonago, WI) and Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL) worked together to erase a 2-0 deficit. Cartland notched the first on a feed from Glamkowski, then returned the favor, setting up Glamkowski for his second of the weekend.

The host Irish fired a pair of unanswered middle period goals and clinched the win with three more in the third.

Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI) fought back with a goal inside the final eight minutes, then set up Seth Stoutenburg (‘03/Roseville, Minn.) on the same shift to make the final minutes a little more interesting.

Jadon Mammen (‘04/Grapevine, TX) managed the work in goal for the Ducks who were outshot in the contest.

Ducks were playing without the services of forward Jayden Tkaczuk and goaltender Anthony Falzone, sidelined with a suspension for an altercation in Friday’s game against the same squad.

Head Coach Shaun Falzone is not as concerned with wins or losses this weekend as he normally would be as that is not the overall purpose of the weekend.

“It’s all about a learning experience,” said the Coach adding, it should reduce the stage-fright in the younger players before they head into the regular season at home on Friday.

“This whole weekend is to learn, how to take a hit and to get these guys some experience. It’s a wake-up call to pull our own weight and get through.”

The Ducks will try to salvage a win in its fourth and final contest in the Detroit area, but it won’t be easy as they will once again be facing the Metro Jets – perennial champions from the Midwest-Great Lakes Division. Game time for that one is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the same rink. The broadcast will be available on LiveBarn and on the DFI facebook page —

Happy Birthday Blue!

Despite a loss, there was some celebrating to do for the Ducks on Saturday as Dawson Blue (‘03/North Richland Hills, TX) celebrated his 18th Birthday.

A second-year member of the Ducks, Blue learned the ropes playing both defense and forward last season. This season he has been a key member of the ‘Red Line’ for the Ducks and looks forward to providing a stronger impression as a forward.

Cartland goal
Glamkowski goal
Jacobsen goal
Stoutenburg goal

Kopfstein goal highlights solid performance

By Jim den Hollander


The Dells Ducks kicked off a four-game weekend that will both start and conclude its pre-season exhibition contests Friday afternoon with a 5-1 loss at the hands of the mighty Metro Jets.

Coming off a six-win season, the Ducks are looking for improvements in virtually every area and despite the loss against the perennial USPHL Great Lakes Division Champion Jets, the Ducks showed several positive signs.

Dells Ducks

At this time a year ago, the Ducks played exhibition games against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings and lost by a double-digit total.

The team looked confident and not afraid of its opponent. The biggest positive signs were play in its own end and a solid looking transition game. Shot totals were unavailable but while the Ducks were outshot it wasn’t by an extreme margin as was the case so often last season.

The Ducks trailed 3-0 early in the second period when ’05 defenseman Jack Kopfstein slammed home a pass from Dawson Blue for what was the only Ducks’ goal in the contest.

Ducks were scheduled to play another game Friday with a 7 p.m. (EST) puck drop against the Detroit Fighting Irish. Saturday at 6:30 p.m. the Ducks will play the Fighting Irish once again at 6:30 p.m. although the teams could be different as the Irish is mixing players from its USPHL Premier team and a U-18 squad the team is operating this season as well.

The final game of the weekend will be Sunday with an 11:30 a.m. faceoff against the Jets.

Following that, the Ducks will return home and begin preparation for its first USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season tests Sept. 17-18 vs. the Rum River Mallards.

Jack Kopfstein converted a pass from Dawson Blue for the lone Ducks goal in a 5-1 loss against the Metro Jets in Southgate, Mich. on Friday (Sept. 10) afternoon.

Final tuneup before Ducks exhibition matches

By Jim den Hollander


On the eve of its first road trip of the season, the Dells Ducks continued its work on special teams as well as general preparations for a four-game getaway starting Friday.

The Ducks will get one last morning workout on Thursday (Sept. 9) and hit the road around lunch time for the long drive to the Motor City. The schedule will see the Ducks playing twice on Friday – at 11:30 a.m. EST against the Metro Jets and then play Detroit Fighting Irish Friday evening. Exact start times will be updated as the weekend gets closer.

There are two options for anyone wanting to follow the Ducks on the weekend. First, the games will all be at Southgate Civic Ice Arena in Southgate, Mich. The Fighting Irish will be offering all games on Facebook live using this link — or anyone with Facebook Live can follow along on that as well.

Following this weekend series, the Ducks will begin preparing for its USPHL regular season opening weekend on home ice as they host the Rum River Mallards Sept 17-18. The team will play its first eight games of the season on home ice.

Hockey Talk Sept. 7 — Happy Birthday Pawlak

By Jim den Hollander


The Labor Day behind them, it’s game on now for the Dells Ducks heading into the USPHL Premier Midwest-West season.

The first two weeks of camp were geared primarily toward conditioning and getting fit for the season. After Labor Day, the team headed into it’s first game week, albeit exhibition contests.

It will be a busy weekend, beginning with two games on Friday, then one each on Saturday and Sunday. That will give the Ducks a taste of competition ahead of their first regular season contests the following weekend against the Rum River Mallards.

It was interesting to see the team in practice on Tuesday with a little more jump in their step, the carrot being the games to be played on the weekend.

Unfortunately, there will be no Hockey TV available for this weekend’s contest. The various Ducks’ facebook pages and this website will be the place to check out for details on all four games.

Happy Birthday – Derek Pawlak

Derek Pawlak played three full seasons with the RWD Cheavers varsity team from the fall of 2016 to the spring of 2019.

Derek Pawlak

Pawlak played 71 games with the Cheavers and scored 70 goals, the highest total amassed by anyone since the RWD team was formed in 2010-11. He also notched 52 assists for a total of 122 points, second best total, behind only the 164 of Dylan Brown.

Pawlak turns 26 today. and the RWD program would like to wish Pawlak a Happy Birthday.

Derek Pawlak

Hockey Talk Aug. 30 — Ice is in!

By Jim den Hollander


After a somewhat relaxed weekend that included an overnight stay at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Sunday, the Dells Ducks hit the ice for the first time Monday afternoon, taking training camp to the next phase.

Dells Ducks

Dryland workouts have played a part in getting the team in shape for the start of the season, but the on-ice sessions are imperative for preparations, figuring out lines and starting to work on team systems heading into the season opening weekend Sept. 17-18 when the Rum River Mallards pay a visit.

The Ducks will get a tune-up the previous weekend when they head to Detroit for three exhibition matches – two against the Detroit Fighting Irish with on in between against the Metro Jets.

Thanks Billets

For the opening few weeks of the season, the Dells Ducks billets, including Penny Lobentstein, Sharon Fiske, the Morris family the Wilcox family and the Barney family who already provide an essential service for the Ducks family throughout the season, have stepped up, taking a few extra players in during a crisis situation for the team.

The situation will be rectified in the days ahead, but anyone interested in become a billet for the team can contact Aaron Kirby at; Coach Falzone at or Jim den Hollander at

Before and After underway

While the Ducks are working toward their season, varsity and youth hockey players of all levels are on the ice early as well with Before and After teams and tournaments well underway.

Stories on a few of those players have already appeared on and more are on the way as early as tonight.

Hockey Talk Aug. 21 — Ducks Training Camp — Day 1

By Jim den Hollander


The Dells Ducks officially opened the 2021-22 season Saturday (August 21) with what will certainly be remembered as their easiest day of the campaign.

Ducks open training Camp – Day 1

The opening day for Ducks players involved paperwork, orientation and an opening meeting with players, parents and billets on hard at Bobber’s, a primary sponsor for the Ducks once again.

Coach Falzone talks to the players. families and billets at Bobber’s on the opening day of training camp for the 2021-22 season.

Sunday will be the team’s first ‘workout’ with testing and a field trip to Devil’s Lake. The team will do strictly dryland training for first week or so, part of the training including helping Lake Delton Ice Arena owner Aaron Kirby with installing the ice, beginning late in the first week. The process will take about a week with the rink ready for practices about Sept. 3.

Jack Kopfstein, a Dells Ducks rookie from California became the team’s first ‘Shoe Check’ victim of the season just minutes into the team’s first get together of the season at Bobber’s. Luckily his teammates helped him out on the chorus.

The Ducks will prepare for a trio of pre-season tests Sept. 10-12 in Detroit with the pair of games against the Detroit Fighting Irish and one against the Metro Jets from nearby Fraserville. The regular season will open the following weekend with a pair of home games against the Rum River Mallards from Isanti, Minn.

Seth Stoutenburg, a rookie with the Ducks in 2019-20 is back with the club for the 2021-22 season. The Roseville, Minn. native returns to the team as a third-year junior veteran.

Ducks Birthdays

A pair of former Dells Ducks celebrated birthdays today (August 21). David Kaplan turned 24 today and Cory Schwarz is also celebrating his 24th Birthday.

, David David Kaplan

Kaplan was an Assistant Captain and played a big part in the team’s USP3HL National Championship in the spring of 2016. He scored 25 goals and collected 46 points in 46 games that season before making the jump to Tier 2 with the Kenai River Brown Beas of the NAHL the following two seasons. In the fall of 2018, Kaplan moved to Superior, Wisconsin as a member of the Superior Yellowjackets in the NCAA Division 3 WIAC Division. He will return in September for his senior season with the Jackets.

Cory Schwarz

Schwarz began his junior career with the Chicago Cougars but moved to the Dells for the 2016-17 campaign, scoring 14 goals and collecting 29 points in 44 games with the Ducks. He later spent time in Wisconsin Rapids and back in Chicago the following season before moving on to Illinois State University where he just wrapped up a three-year college run this spring.

The Ducks want to wish a Happy Birthday to family members, David and Cory!