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Ducks Weekend Review

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Ducks Weekend Review November 12, 2012 1:13 PM

The Dells Ducks bounced back from the disappointment of its previous homestand as perfectly as head coach Bill Zaniboni could have hoped for with perfect six point Minnesota Junior Hockey League weekend on the road.

The Ducks clinched a winning record in its season series with back to back wins against the expansion Steele County Blades Friday (4-1) and Saturday (5-1) night.

Wrapping up the set was the Ducks’ second trip to Edina where the Lakers entered the weekend with a shot at closing in on the third place Ducks, but following a 6-2 Ducks win Sunday evening, the Wisconsin based team returned home with a 10-point cushion.

The Ducks also became the first team in the Minnesota Division to hit the halfway mark on its 50-game schedule, sitting at 16-8-0-1 for 33 points, just four wins shy of its win total from the innagural season in 2011/12.

Ironically, after building up a five point lead on the Ducks with its three game sweep the previous weekend, the Rochester Ice Hawks dropped its opener this past weekend 4-1 against the Maple Grove Energy, its first regulation loss since its season opener.

The Ice Hawks avenged that defeat with a 7-3 decision over the hapless Hudson Crusaders Saturday, but its lead on the Ducks is once again trimmed to a single point. It’s important to note as well though the Ice Hawks have played five fewer games that the Ducks.

The Ducks opened the weekend Friday against the Blades looking to escape a four-game skid and found itself down by a goal in the game’s first minute.

But that was the only shot that eluded goaltender John Sellie-Hanson on this night as he managed to stop 25 of 26 in a 4-1 win.

At the other end of the pond, the Ducks peppered Adam Carlson with 41 shots, finally breaking through early in the second when Skylar Harding and Joey Bower found the mesh a little less than two minutes apart to give the Ducks a lead that held up to the end. Harding’s goal came with the Ducks down a skater and Bower buried one on the powerplay.

Insurance came from Justin Gregory’s tally in the seventh minute of the final period and Bower’s second of the night was a short handed goal into an empty Blades’ cage, just 30 seconds from the final buzzer.

Saturday night the Ducks had a huge offensive night from Dunk Abbott who scored four of the team’s five goals in a much closer game shots-wise, the Ducks with a narrow 24-22 edge.

Abbott, a smooth skating defenseman from Montana who obviously is blessed with a nice shot as well, scored the lone goal of the opening period, 5:35 into the contest but teams were even at 1-1 3:28 into the middle frame.

Abbott put the visitors back in the lead with the game winner 6:30 from the end of the second, then added two more 85 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the final frame.

Brady Heffner’s unassisted goal just 1:52 from the final buzzer rounded out the scoring for the Ducks.

On Sunday at Edina, the Ducks were facing a Lakers team that battled it tooth and nail in its only previous meeting, also at Edina, back on Sept. 15.

The Ducks pulled that one out 5-4 with a breakaway goal by Ian Harris with 4:59 to go standing up as the difference.

This time around there was no late heroics required as a couple of players who weren’t in Ducks’ jerseys back in September – Nick Albergo and Gavin Porter – helped the team roll to a 5-0 first period cushion and roll to a 6-2 win in the weekend finale.

Nick Albergo notched goals on his first two shifts to spot the Ducks a quick lead and the team never looked back.

The Illinois native buried his first just 53 seconds into the contest then added another just past the three minute mark.

Collin Cross notched the third 7:20 into the game then Gregory and Porter rounded out a wild opening period with their goals a little over a part wrapping up a five goals in 12:34 stretch.

The only other Ducks’ goal came from Jacob Stima with 88 seconds left in the contest.

The Ducks will return to the road Friday with its first visit to Rochester looking to avenge the three losses suffered against the Ice Hawks last week before wrapping up with Saturday and Sunday evening games at Hudson against the 3-16 Crusaders.

That will carry the Ducks into an off weekend before it returns for a three-game weekend set against the Edina Lakers, its final home games of 2012.

By Jim DenHollander

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