Dells Ducks Weekend Review Call Ups Coming

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Dells Ducks Weekend Review – Call Ups Coming September 25, 2012 7:50 AM

Back from taking two out of three in its third straight three-game weekend to open the Minnesota Junior Hockey League campaign, the Dells Ducks enjoyed a day off of on Monday.

But that doesn’t mean the office of head coach Bill Zaniboni was quiet at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena.

When he took time out for this reporter late Monday afternoon, all four coaches were huddled in the office with players coming and going as well.

The Ducks split a pair at Isanti, a suburb of the Twin Cities against the Minnesota Owls, winning Friday, but falling 3-2 in a tough one Saturday before bouncing back in the wrap up with a 5-1 win at Hudson, Wisconsin against the first meeting against the Crusaders who eliminated the Ducks from the post season last February.

While Meatloaf made millions telling us all two outta three ain’t bad though, coach Zaniboni isn’t about to plan any parades.

“Two out of three is…acceptable,”said the coach in his office Monday. “With the group we have though. I think we’re looking to win every game possible. It hurts more because we had that game on Saturday night. Indeed the Ducks opened up a 2-0 second period lead in the middle period and carried a 2-1 edge into the final frame, only to see it all go away two goal 4:13 apart down the homestretch.

“You know, we were up 2-0 on the road and, took some penalties. They capitalized on one and they actually got a ‘shorty’ (shorthanded goal) that bounced off the boards.”

All four of the team’s losses have been by a single goal and three of them – all but the Northern Lights loss a week ago, were games the team should have brought to the finish line.

“It was nice though to see us come out and win on Sunday and just get that monkey off of our back.”

Looking at this first stretch, Zaniboni said “Everyone had different expectations. Personally, I figured we’d be at 7-2 right now. I think we’re underachieving.”

But the wins are hard to come by for sure because other teams have their own plans as well.

“Right now parity is showing. I haven’t seen a team roll over and die yet. Everyone’s going to scratch and claw for all they can. Right now is the time to get your points. I’ve been in situations…my first year at Montana where you’re waiting til the last weekend to see what we had to do and we weren’t really controlling our own destiny.”

But the good news is the team rallied on Sunday and that made for much sweeter ride home on the I94/90.

“There were a lot of upsides to Sunday’s game. Johnny Schwarz was playing defense and he did a really, really good job. Robbie Meadows came in and played phenomenal for us.”

In the Friday night contest, all of the scoring came in the middle frame; Justin Gregory and Collin Cross sandwiching the lone Owls’ tally with their goals and John Sellie-Hanson picked up the win in goal, handling 23 of 24 Owls’ chances.

The scenario was similar Thursday, the Ducks getting goals from Colin Perley and Koen Bakker in the first half of the second before Vincent Curao’s shorthanded tally was the first shot to get by Sellie-Hanson just 3:26 from the end of the period.

But two more in the third carried the Owls back to the win despite being outshot in a crazy back and forth contest 50-42.

The Ducks counted two goals 28 seconds apart in the game’s fourth minute at Hudson, then added two more in the second before the home side robbed Meadows of the goose egg near the five minute mark of the third period.

Ian Harris scored two with others by Dunk Abbott, Cross and Joey Bower for the Ducks.

Changes

Zaniboni is constantly working to make his team better and if this week is any indication, the outside of the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena in Lake Delton would be a good spot to erect a bus stop.

The coach’s efforts to make t he team a little tougher up front played a part in a cash deal that brought Charles Marcoe aboard from the Rochester Ice Hawks and Zaniboni said he was impressed with his play all weekend.

At the other end of the spectrum. While making time for this interview Monday, Zaniboni and the other coaches were shaking hands and wishing the best for defenseman Dunk Abbott and forward Justin Gregory, both invited to a workout with the Soo Eagles of the Tier II Junior A North American Hockey League. It was unclear at press time if the team would stick, but clearly Zaniboni’s players are getting noticed by the powers that be.

Gregory, an assistant captain with the Ducks, is among the league scoring leaders this season with two goals and six assists through his first nine games while Abbott is among the top scoring defensemen with four goals and three helpers.

Written By: Jim DenHollander

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