Discipline issues hurt Ducks in loss to Vipers

By Jim den Hollander



After two weeks of quarantine, the Dells Ducks found it difficult to stay with the Rochester Vipers and fell to 0-5 in USPHL Premier League play on Sunday night at Lake Delton Ice Arena.

The Vipers took advantage of rebound opportunities and some discipline issues on the Ducks’ side rolling to a 9-1 win, one of the biggest victories in the team’s three-season history.

The team appeared to hit stride about halfway through the middle period, but by then the visiting Vipers, who celebrated its first victory of the season the previous evening, had already racked up five goals.

The Vipers opened the scoring in the game’s third minute and never looked back, running to a 4-0 first period cushion. The toughest goal for the Ducks was the fourth, scored with 64 seconds to play in the period.

The Ducks showed its first signs of real offensive power firing three of it’s seven first period shots in a span of about 90 seconds. Not only was the team unsuccessful in finding the mesh, when the Vipers did finally clear the zone it resulted in an odd man rush the other way and ultimately, a goal by Vince Palade.

The Ducks did appear more engaged in the contest from the start of the middle segment and despite going down by another goal in the sixth minute, the team responded just 35 seconds later, Jayden Tkaczuk gathering in the rebound of a shot by Adam Brown and backhanding it into a wide open side of the goal. Dillon Collings also collected an assist on the goal.

That was the end of the offense for the Ducks though and after a tame first period that saw just two minor penalties called, the Ducks went off the rails in terms of discipline collecting two majors and a couple 10-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second half of the game.

The Ducks collected 43 minutes in penalties in the contest, all but four minutes coming after the Ducks’ lone goal. The Vipers were assessed just one minor penalty along with a major and game misconduct that saw ’01 forward Reider Stelzl and ’02 Rochester forward Gus Hughes getting the gate for the game’s lone fight in the second period.

The Vipers carried a 6-1  lead into the third period then added three more unanswered markers to wrap up a big weekend.

Anthony Falzone turned aside 26 first period shots for the Ducks, Brendan Williamson adding another 34 saves in the final 40 minutes. The Vipers also swapped goalies near the halfway mark of the game, starter Patrick Kristo turning aside all but one of the 13 shots he faced and Sean Bolduc unbeaten with 12 saves.

The Ducks will attend its first of three Showcase tournaments beginning Thursday as all nine of the league’s Midwest-West Division teams will take part in an event at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine.

The Ducks will faceoff at 12:20 p.m. on Thursday against the Minnesota Blue Ox, then return for two on Friday – 9:20 a.m. against the Rochester Vipers once again and then returning at 5:40 against the Minnesota Mullets. The Ducks will wrap up on Saturday night with a 6:20 p.m. game against the Minnesota Moose.


Ducks – Vipers to square off Sunday in USPHL contest

Forced to postpone games in recent weeks, the Ducks have scheduled a game for Sunday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Rochester Vipers.

This promises to be an interesting battle as both clubs head into the weekend still searching for their first USPHL Premier League win.

The Ducks have dropped two each against the Chicago Cougars and Steele County Blades and have struggled at both ends of the ice, outscored so far 33-3. The Vipers meanwhile have had a little more success offensively, but still find themselves at 0-5 and outscored by a margin of 55-15. While the Sunday night tilt will be the lone game of the weekend for the Ducks, the Vipers are scheduled to play host to the Minnesota Mullets on Saturday evening.

Last season the Ducks finished eighth in the nine-team Midwest-West Divisoin, ahead of only the Vipers who missed the post season. Both teams are looking to make strides forward this season despite their respective slow starts.

Game time at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Sunday will be 6:30 p.m. The following weekend will see all nine USPHL teams in action at the Midwest-West Division Showcase event at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine, Minnesota.


Ducks alumnus adds prestige to season opening weekend

The Dells Ducks will kick off its 10th season of play in a big way September 25-26 at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

Ducks fans will get a chance to reminisce about the team’s past triumphs while seeing a Dells Ducks 2.0 rebirth under the leadership of the team’s original coach.

Many of the team’s greatest players will be in town for the weekend with a few events planned to include alumni contests preceding the 2020-21 team’s first two regular season contests.

The new Ducks will open the season with a pair of home games against the Chicago Cougars and the opponent couldn’t be better for a night like this.

Behind the bench for the Ducks will be the original Head Coach, Shaun Falzone – now back as the team’s Head Coach/General Manager and Co-Owner. Beside him will be another original – Anthony Rohde, a member of the original Dells Ducks (2011-12) crew and now the team’s Assistant Coach.  Brian Guevara, the team’s Goaltending Coach is also expected to be in town for the opening matches.

On the opposite bench, the Chicago Cougars will have Josh Dallman as its Head Coach. Dallman of course, was the Ducks Head Coach for the 2019-20 season and scouted for the team before that. Along with Dallman will by Johnny Schwarz, another of the Dells Ducks original team members. Schwarz went on to play 125 games over three seasons with the Ducks.

Game time for both contests will once again be 7 p.m.

On both Friday and Saturday, a pair of Alumni teams will hit the ice for some fun contests starting at 5 p.m. Many of the fans favorites from the past decade will be in town for these contests. While most of our players have found success at the College level and beyond in the business world, there are a pair of players that have garnered legit ‘celebrity’ status heading into the weekend.

Alex Radcliffe, 24, from Randolph, Mass. Played some college hockey after playing

Alex Radcliffe

for the Ducks in 2015-16 but is likely more known as part of the crew on the Reality Television show, Below Deck Mediterranean.

Colin Cross, 26, was one of the best penalty killers and defensive players through the first 10 seasons, playing for the Ducks in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Cross pretty much wrapped up his hockey career with the Ducks and has taken the next step in his life, as a recording artist living in the capital of County Western music, Nashville, Tennessee. ‘Crosser’ is scheduled to perform after the Ducks-Cougars first game on Friday night just down Progressive Drive at Bobber’s.

The game will include five former team captains: Kevin Salinas; Tyler Jacobson; Jake Stima; Ian Wood and Chris Vella.

Colin Cross

Here are the rosters (subject to change for the two Alumni matches at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Sept. 25-26. As of this moment, there are no names for the teams yet but there are special jerseys being made for the contests.

Team 1: Forwards – Brian Holappa; Cory Schwarz; Tyler Forest; Kristian Casella; Anthony Rohde; John Recek; Matt Raimondi; Chris Vella; Kevin Salinas.

Defense – Alex Radcliffe; Dylan Parshall; Alex Gunnar; Josh Krueger (only Wisconsin Dells resident to play for the Ducks, actually played a forward with the junior team).

Goaltenders – Dan O’Leary

Team 2: Forwards – Ian Wood; Joey Bower; Colin Cross; Brady Hefner; Layne Martin; Brett Johnson.

Defense – Johnny Schwarz; Tyler Jacobson; Chuck Marcoe; Jake Stima; Bradley Hefner; Connell Totten; Danny Roe and Mike Sullivan.

Goaltenders – Robbie Meadows and Jared Young.

Along with the two games and the music at Bobber’s there is a plan in the works for a golf outing, likely on Saturday.

Honorary Coaches for the Friday night game will be Ducks’ superfans Chris Pelisek and Bill Pettit. Coaches for the second game are still TBA.

There will be a small supply of the special jerseys at the facility for fans to purchase. If supplies run out, orders can probably be made for others.

In keeping with the way the world is operating now, the Ducks will ask fans to wear masks and practice social distancing as much as possible. A couple masks featuring the new Dells Ducks logo ill be available for sale at the game as well.

Admission prices have not been announced but it is expected the prices will be the same as last season and one admission cost will gain entry to both games.

Ducks down, but not out in USPHL playoff race

While showing some signs of snapping out of a funk that has plagued the Dells Ducks junior hockey team since early November, the team was definitely limping when it headed into the USPHL Premier League playoffs.
Certainly, the wins Nov. 2-3 against the Midwest-West division leading Hudson Havoc had to be a high point for the local club as the Havoc has only dropped three other games in regulation through the entire regular season – 28 games, to date.
When they followed it up with back to back wins in Chicago against the host Cougars the following weekend, things were looking up for the Ducks, but that’s where the season kind of fell off a cliff.
After the Chicago wins, the Ducks headed to Beantown where it dropped all four games played in a Showcase tournament. The woes continued on its return, the losing skid opening up to seven games before the Ducks finally picked up a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Blue Ox on the road Dec. 15. The Ducks fell the following day to the Minnesota Mullets and dropped three of four at the Midwest Showcase tournament heading into the Christmas Break.
The 117 goals against the Ducks is second highest in the Midwest-West Division behind only the massive 172 scored against the Kasson Vipers.
The Ducks challenged as a division front-runner early this season but now the team enters its final 11 games 10 points away from garnering home ice advantage in the opening round of the post season. In fact, if the post season started today, the Ducks would rank seventh and face the challenge of finding a way to defeat the Minnesota Moose, the same team that ended its season two games into the playoffs a year ago.
The season is far from over. The Ducks have shown it can win against the league’s top teams and that will be put to the test immediately after returning as the Ducks will being in Hudson against the division leading Havoc – the same team it earned that sweep against in early November. Of its final 11, only three will be on home ice, but the final four will all be against the two teams that currently trail the Ducks in division standings.
Getting home ice advantage might be a longshot now, but the team could still gain some momentum through the final weeks and use it to advantage as a playoff underdog.
The final six weeks will be a crucial time for the Ducks to become playoff ready.