Ultimately, the Dells Jr. Ducks is hoped to be a spring/summer opportunity for youth hockey players of all ages, but Shaun Falzone, owner of the Ducks USPHL junior hockey team eased in with just a peewee level team this season.
The team made its competitive debut at the Clash of Sticks event in a couple Chicago arenas, the final event in a busy 2021-22 season for Ultimate Tournaments May 27-29.
The team, including players from Illinois, Texas along with Landen Uminski, Noah Backeberg and Evelyn Gurney from RWD, played four times, winning once and finishing fourth in its five-team pool.
The Ducks started out on the Friday night (May 27) at Addison Ice Arena, dropping a 7-2 decision against the Chicago Eagles.
The Eagles led 2-1 after a period and added four more in the middle period before both teams added one in the final period.
The Ducks returned to play two more on Saturday, beginning with a 4-0 shutout win against Wolverines Hockey. Three of the four goals came in the middle period, including the first, scored by Owen Voller with an assist from Uminski who picked up another point with the lone goal of the third period as well.
Later the same day, the Ducks came up short 6-2 against the Glacier Ice Dogs as a 1-1 tie after a period turned into a 4-1 deficit by the start of the third. The Ice Dogs added another before the Ducks finally scored its second in the final period.
The Ducks wrapped up play Sunday with a tough 1-0 loss against the Vipers, the lone goal scored late in the first period. The narrow win was enough to get Vipers into the championship game where the defeated the Eagles 3-2.
After Friday’s opener, all games were played at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago, the practice facility of the Chicago Black Hawks.
The Dells Ducks are looking to improve on a tough year and instill a renewed winning culture in the tourist town, but there is one throwback they cannot do without.
Two seasons ago, Jacobsen, then a captain with the DeForest Norskies, turned lemons into lemonade, joining the Dells Ducks. It could not have been a better arrangement between the player and team.
Jacobsen will be the second player in team history (joining Chris Vella before him) to return for a second season as team captain. Despite a pair of rough seasons, Jacobsen’s presence has been an overwhelming positive for the team.
Head Coach Anthony Rohde made the easiest decision of the off season, bringing back Jacobsen as the team captain.
“The work ethic and drive to win is why Bryce has the ‘C’ again, said Rohde in an email interview. “It’s the attitude I want all the players to have.”
Locals were somewhat familiar with Jacobsen before he joined the team in the middle of the 2020-21 campaign as he played for the rival DeForest Norskies in the rival Badger North varsity league that all three Sauk County teams played in at the time.
With the pandemic destroying his final varsity season (Norskies were one of a few teams that decided not to play during that season), Jacobsen shifted his gaze to one of his semi-local junior teams.
“After my first skate, when Coach Falzone asked how I liked it. I told him I loved it,” said Jacobsen in an email interview. “Then, he asked if I wanted to play in the games that weekend. After that, I was all in. I loved how fast the practice was and how we did a lot of skill work.”
Jacobsen played in just 23 games that season but wrapped it up among the team’s leading scorers. The attributes listed above prompted Coach Falzone to select him among several returners to take the responsibility of being captain.
“When Coach Falzone named me captain I was a little surprised,” said the 6’3” 190-pound center. “I was very happy to be named captain. I was one of the captains in high school.”
Jacobsen and the Ducks endured another tough season but through it all, he continued to lead by example with his dedication, hard work and leadership by example. Jacobsen was on the ice in every situation, contributing 12 goals and 31 points. He and his teammates believed they could win no matter who the opponent was.
“Every week we would prepare for our opponents, and we would always have a positive mindset,” said Jacobsen. “At some points of the season, it was hard, but with the leadership of our veterans, we were able to keep a positive mindset.”
The captain said the frustrations of last season have inspired him and the other returners to make things different this time around.
“The other returners and I have had a long offseason just thinking about how we can’t wait to get back to the Dells to start the 22-23 season. We all feel like we have something to prove. Coach Rohde is bringing in a bunch of great guys that are skilled and ready to put in the work to make it a great winning season.”
Leadership and attitude are Jacobsen’s contributions. On the ice, he plays every shift with ferocity and while he may not win as many style points as some other players, his bull in a China shop approach in front of the net has been a factor in him getting pucks over the goal line.
Perhaps his most notable asset is his contribution in the faceoff circle. Actual statistics were not available but anyone paying attention is aware he wins far more than he loses at the dot. Reflexes and natural ability play a part, but Jacobsen works hard on faceoffs as well.
“Coach Rhode and I spend a lot of time working on faceoffs and how to consistently win them,” said Jacobsen. “We would even watch film on just faceoffs.”
Jacobsen will enter his final season with 17 goals and 40 points to his credit in 66 career games. He seldom missed a game over the previous two seasons and if he is able to continue that trend, he will be wind up in an elite group that includes just five players currently, with 100 or more games played as a Duck.
Rohde and Jacobsen will officially begin the reboot when the team reconvenes in September, but the future skate held at the end of last season and tryouts coming up in the Chicago area in June will give them a chance to get things started. For Jacobsen, an ‘02, this will be one final kick at it and over the course of the season he will also finalize the next chapter of both his education and hockey career.
“There were a few colleges that talked to me in the showcases,” said the captain adding, “When making a decision on where I will go to college, I want to go to a school that has a strong business program, and a good hockey program.”
By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info Once again, the Dells Ducks has plucked a quality player from the roster of a quality Wisconsin-based high school in the off season. Reece Atkins, a 5’11, 175-pound right-shooting forward collected 10 goals and 31 points for the Amery Warriors in the competitive Middle Border Conference this past season.
He also played a key role for the Warriors in the post season, scoring in each of his team’s three-game run and adding an assist as well. That stands out as a high point in his career so far. “This is the first time in program history a team (from Amery) has made it that far,” said Atkins on a team questionnaire adding his team earned the Sectional spot with a thrilling overtime win against rival New Richmond Tigers in the Regional championship match. Atkins enjoyed a breakthrough season in Amery, more than doubling his 13-point total from his junior season. After impressing the staff, including incoming Head Coach Anthony Rohde at a prospects/player’s camp held in Lake Delton in March, Atkins recently confirmed his intention to help the Dells Ducks as the first signee of the off season. Coach Rohde had this to say about Reece, when asked his thoughts about his new player: “It’s not often you find someone with his size, ability to see the ice, and hands, all in one. I was very impressed to see his ability to create something in tight areas, it can be game changing.” While Coach Rohde was impressed with what he saw from Atkins in his visit to the Lake Delton Ice Arena back in March, the coach and team owner Shaun Falzone also made an impression on the ‘03 forward as he counted them as his primary reason for selecting the Dells Ducks on the form. Atkins is looking forward to making his presence felt as a rookie and feels his ability to set the tone in a game could be valuable. He counts among his strengths “My ability to slow down the game and pick up the pace whenever I want. My ability to find open guys, create space for myself and others and make the right play.” Jackson Henningsgaard, another player who wrapped up a solid run as a junior player himself this past season has been an influence on Atkins who says he loves to play, especially with the game on the line. “I enjoy playing on the powerplay. I also enjoy playing when it matters most, whether it’s overtime, when we need a goal or when we need to be defensive and prevent a goal.” Looking ahead to a first season with the Ducks, Atkins is looking forward to helping the team on a quest to getting north of the .500 mark for the first time in five seasons and he wants to be a regular contributor on the score sheet, but he also knows the step from varsity to junior is a large one. “For me, coming from high school, the pace and intensity of the game will be the biggest factor,” predicted the forward. He is looking forward to the billet experience and spending a season in Wisconsin Dells, a community he has visited before. Currently located a stone’s throw from the Minnesota border, it’s no surprise the Wild his favorite hockey team, but he counts Patrick Kane, Patrice Bergeron and Connor McDavid as players he admires and tries to emulate. A three-sport athlete, Atkins also enjoys football and baseball and he says Chicken Alfredo is a favorite pre-game and/or post-game meal.
The Ducks are closing in on its first meetings with the always tough Minnesota Moose with some cautious optimism.
Early in the pre-season and into the opening pair of games against the Rum River Mallards, on-ice communication was slowly developing, but the team looked sharp in spots against the Chicago Cougars two weekends ago.
After their second practice of the day Wednesday afternoon at the Lake Delton Ice Arena, Head Coach Shaun Falzone and forward Bryce Jacobsen, one of the few Ducks players who has faced the Moose before, discussed what is going on with the team heading into a tough weekend.
Falzone had good news in his interview announcing the return to practice of Caden Glamkowski who has been sidelined for a while and the addition of ’01 forward Alex Hertlein, picked up from the Chicago Cougars.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Dells Ducks moved closer to its second weekend homestand of the season with Coach Anthony Rohde paying his weekly visit to the Dells.
Personal and work commitments are keeping the skating and stickhandling expert in the Chicago area permanently this season, but he makes the most of weekly visits to the Dells area. His practices are known to be the toughest and most specific in terms of areas that need improvement and the players love his ability to get the most out of them.
Before hitting the ice on Tuesday, Rohde said in an interview (see below) he discussed the areas of concern with the coaches and not only found the drills for a pair of Tuesday practices, but also mapped out the rest of the week with Head Coach Shaun Falzone and Coach Mario Lachica.
The Ducks continue to work back to front, working hard to lower enemy shots on goal and devise a plan for a quick transition from defense to offense in their own zone.
The Cougars are generally known as a high-octane offensive machine and the perennial Midwest-East will prove a formidable opponent this weekend.
Game time Friday and Saturday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena is 7:30 p.m.
Happy Birthday Seth
The Ducks are happy to have reaquainted with Seth Stoutenburg this season. A young team member in the 2019-20 season, the Roseville, MN native is back with the team this season and has made his presence felt on the ‘Blue’ line as a winger.
Held off the board on the opening weekend it’s just a matter of time before Stoutenburg hits the scoresheet. He plays a regular role on special teams as well as at regular strength and will be a big addition to the Ducks’ offense this season.
On Tuesday (September 21), Stoutenberg celebrated his 18th Birthday with teammates. Happy Birthday Seth!
Crosser back in town
Old School throwback hockey player Colin Cross was a fan favorite for his on-ice effort and sometimes pugilism when he starred with the Dells Ducks in 2013-14 and 2014-15, both ending with a return trip to Simsbury, CT which just happened to be the site of the USA Hockey National Championship tournament.
Both a fan favorite and popular with his teammates, everyone was aware of ‘Crosser’s’ love of Country-Western Music. In recent years, Crosser went all in on his passion and he has become a regular on the Nashville Music Scene where he now makes his home. In the midst of a tour that has taken him back to New England already, Cross will make making several stops in the Dairy State, including Bobbers Island Grill on Thursday night.
Please join us in welcoming Crosser back to town. Check out the set a Bobber’s, support a former Duck and a Ducks’ sponsor. You won’t be disappointed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Head Coach Shaun Falzone beginning working towards the start of the 2021-22 regular season since the day the previous season ended.
After a brief break to shake off a tough season completed, Falzone began attending Showcase and tournament events to begin the task of getting players locked up for a new season. A big step in that process was the first Futures Weekend held right at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.
That was a great opportunity for local varsity players to rub shoulders with juniors and junior hopefuls from across the country and by the time the weekend – played the same weekend as the USPHL National Championship tournament – Falzone had a few new players lined up four months ahead of training camp.
Travels to other events and some help from scouts and friends had a group that travelled to the Dells/Delton area at the end of August. They started out without ice in place, doing dryland workouts and training while the players themselves got involved with Lake Delton Ice Owner Aaron Kirby, installing the ice for the 2021-22 season.
That means when the players step on the ice, they are skating onto a surface they had a part in creating. The team has taken ownership of the arena in a couple ways, helping with the upkeep of the arena at times and also helping area coaches who can use a hand running youth practices.
The team worked toward this weekend with on ice workouts as well as regular yoga and fitness sessions. Last weekend the youngsters got a taste of USPHL junior competition with a trip to Detroit for some pre-season tests and all of that has prepared the Ducks for this weekend.
The Rum River Mallards will be in town Friday (Sept. 17) for a 7:30 p.m. game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and the same two teams will tangle at the same time and place Saturday.
A season that seemed so far away in the late spring is finally here.
The Dells Ducks junior hockey team wrapped up a set of exhibition matches in Detroit over the weekend and returned home Sunday night, ready to get on with the season.
The weekend tests were tough, but valuable said Head Coach Shaun Falzone (see video interview below), in particular for the rookies who got their eyes open to how fast and physical the junior game is.
Some players met with the trainer on Monday with minor injuries and the team held its first regular season game week meeting on what was otherwise a recovery day.
Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday practices will prepare the Ducks for its first regular season opponent, the Rum River Mallards who will visit on Friday and Saturday.
This will be the first of eight straight home games to open the regular season for the Ducks. The following weekend the Chicago Cougars from the Midwest-East Division will be in town followed by the Minnesota Moose and Minnesota Blue Ox in October.
A note to fans – start times for Ducks’ home games this season have been changed from 7 to 7:30 p.m. That means warm-ups would start at 7.