The Dells Ducks will be putting perfection on the line when it plays host to the Maple Grove Energy in an event-filled home opening weekend at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena beginning Friday night.
The team enjoyed a weekend off and some of the players who live close enough took advantage with a quick dash home and some valuable family time. Others stuck around and several made the trek to Stevens Point on Saturday to check out teammates Colin Perley, a 20-year-old from Marysville, WA and 17year-old Christian Vella in action.
The Ducks pair was loaned to the short staffed Central Wisconsin Saints for a weekend set against the Marquette Royales. The Marquette side collected wins in all three games – 3-1 Friday, 7-2 on Saturday night, and then 5-3 in the getaway game Sunday to move into top spot overall in the Great Lakes Division.
Perley and Vella played on a line together in the physical weekend set and Perley picked up in an assist in the finale.
The focus returns to the coming weekend at practice beginning Monday as the Ducks in a weird schedule quirk will line up against the Maple Grove Energy for the third, fourth and fifth consecutive times this weekend.
The Ducks captured 3-1 and 7-2 wins on Maple Grove’s Olympic sized sheet Sept. 20 and 22, ending a three game losing streak in that arena. But the Ducks have never been defeated by the Energy at the Poppy, taking seven straight wins. Technically, last season’s games at the Waterman went into the books as a trio of 1-0 wins for the Energy as the result of a technicality, but the Ducks actually took all three handily.
The two defeats against the Ducks earlier wrapped up a busy 2-2 split for the Energy on the weekend and they followed that up with 2-1 wins against both the Steele County Blades on home ice this past Friday and the Edina Lakers at Edina Saturday.
That boosts the Energy record to 7-3 overall and they enter weekend play on top of the Minnesota Division. The Ducks however remain as the league’s only undefeated team carrying a perfect 6-0 record into the weekend.
Robbie Meadows: The 20 year old Shelby Twp, MI native and goaltender for the Ducks enters the weekend series undefeated in goal for the Ducks with a personal 5-0 record in goal. After coming in to replace Mike Ambrose early in the team’s third game of the season against the Wisconsin Rampage, Meadows has played 230:19 straight in goal for the Ducks and stopping 86 of 93 opposition chances.
Over the past two seasons Meadows has a 5-0 record against the Energy and a save percentage of .958 based on 137 saves against 143 Energy chances.
Ian Harris: The 18 year old center from Fort Wayne, IN has owned the Energy. He scored four goals in the first two meetings this season, including a short handed goal, running his career totals to eight goals (two shorties) and three assists against Maple Grove.
Brady Hefner: A 19-year old from Billings, MT, Hefner has also had some of his top games against the Energy, racking up a couple of goals and five assists so far this season.
Others that have put up good numbers early this season including Ian Wood from Allison Park, PA. Wood celebrated his 19th birthday with a goal in the first game at Maple Grove and wrapped up the weekend with two goals and a helper and 20-year-old Jake Stima (Roscoe, IL) notched a goal and three helpers in his only regular season game played so far this year, after returning from the Janesville Jets.
The Ducks have a special event with each game. Friday night, the returning players will be honored as the team raises a Minnesota Division Finalist banner to the Poppy Waterman rafters before the 7 p.m. faceoff.
On Saturday, the team invites anyone who wants to enjoy the recent good weather to attend a pre-game tailgate at Captain Bob’s Park, right beside the Poppy Waterman. Local musicians will provide entertainment and grilled burgers and hot dogs will be available at a reasonable price. The festivities should begin around 4 p.m. and the opening faceoff will again be at 7 p.m.
This weekend is ‘Parents’ weekend for the Ducks and Sunday’s game will see parents honored in a ceremony on the ice, either before the game or between periods. Game time in the Sunday getaway game is 1:30 p.m.