This past week, the Point Mallard Ducks headed down South on a four game swing that would take them through College Station, Texas and Lafayette, Louisiana. It was a tough 4 games in 4 days road trip that would require quite a bit of bus time. After departing on Wednesday the 5th and driving through the night, the Ducks would play the College Station Spirit at 5:15pm on the 6th. The first game proved to be more than the Ducks were ready for, and so was Spirit forward Denis Kusy. Kusy lit the Ducks up for 5 goals and he was the difference in the game. “He scored timely goals and we gave him way to much ice. If you give any skilled player that much time and space to create plays, they will. It was an exceptionally frustrating game,” stated Ducks GM/Head Coach, Tom Winkler. Jake Cox had three goals to pace the Ducks, but it was not enough as the Ducks fell 6-4.
After getting a solid night’s rest and regrouping from Thursday’s frustrating defeat, the Ducks came out and played a much more inspired game. “We played more physical and more with a purpose, we got pucks deep and were able to establish our forecheck. We also made a few line changes which seemed to give us the jump we needed. We had a balanced attack and got balanced scoring,” stated Winkler. Ian Precht, Cameron Hamblett, Joe Polcaro, and Jake Cox all had goals for the Ducks and Joey Bernardini made 19 saves on 21 shots for the 4-2 win.
After completion of the College Station game, the boys were back on the bus heading over to Lafayette, Louisiana. Another crazy travel day as the team arrived in Lafayette at 5:00am and had to be ready for a 4:00pm face-off against the Drillers. “It was a crazy travel schedule but that is no excuse, we knew we needed to be ready to play. I thought we played a really strong first and third period, our second period was not the type of game we have to play, we got away from what we did in the first. Our puck management was not good, we got it back together in the third period and got the separation we were looking for,” stated Winkler. Several Ducks scored their first junior hockey goals in this game: Michael Dlugach, Brandon Knopf, and Fletcher Chun all got into the scoring act. Jake Cox added 2, Cody LaValley, and Matt Goodman all accounted for the goals in the 7-3 victory. Joey Bernardini picked up his second win of the trip.
The final game of this marathon trip was played on Sunday the 9th at 4:00pm. The Ducks were looking to climb up the standings and finish this trip on a positive note. “We really came out strong and we did not stray from our game plan. We played hard team defense and we did not give up many quality scoring chances. Our goal is to give up less than 22 shots a game and to do this we have to have a total commitment to team defense. We got that the entire game and it led to several offensive chances on our part. We were really proud of the guys and their efforts on this trip,” said Winkler. John Meakins, Mark Revniaga, Nicholas Gustafson, and Elias Nilsson (2 goals) rounded out the scoring. Gary Glassman recorded the win.
The Ducks went 3-1 on this road trip. No rest for the weary as the Ducks will head out on the road again this weekend (October 15th & 16th) to Cincinnati to play the Thunder. Game times are 6:30pm and 1:00pm and are available to watch on FastHockey.com.