The 2016-2017 Point Mallard Ducks opened up their regular season campaign against the always tough Evansville Thunderbolts at the Swonder Ice Arena this past weekend.
The Ducks came away with two hard fought wins. “Extremely difficult opponent and games, there was no breathing room for either team at any point. Discipline both good and bad were issues for us in these games,” stated Ducks GM/Head Coach Tom Winkler. In game one Elias Nilsson led the way offensively with 2 goals and 1 assist. His second goal with a little under 3 minutes was the game winner. It came off of a redirection from an Ian Precht point shot. The Ducks outshot the Bolts 44-27, Gary Glassman picked up the win in net. “It’s always nice to get the first one, but we have a ways to go as far as burying our scoring chances and playing stronger team defense,” stated Winkler.
Game 2 was much of the same story, hard physical play, chances by both teams, and signs that this is turning into a bitter rivalry. Jake Cox scored his second of the weekend with five minutes remaining in the first period to give the Ducks the lead, the game would stay 1-0 until John Meakins came out of the penalty box and picked up a rebound and buried it to increase the margin to 2-0. The Bolts would cut the lead in half with 3 minutes left to go in the second period. “They had the momentum at that point, we needed the intermission to get our focus back, good lesson for our younger players as to how you have to play 60 full minutes,” stated Winkler. After a scoreless first 10 minutes of the third period, Ian Precht through his hard work drew a penalty and on the ensuing power play he set up what would turn out to be the winning goal. “That was a series where Ian was leading the way, he kept his composure and on the power play sent an excellent shot to the net that Cameron Hamblett was able to redirect past their goaltender.” Winkler also added that he was proud of his team’s compete level for not having any prior games. Joey Bernardini got the win for the Ducks, stopping 23 of 25 shots.
The Ducks open up their home portion of the schedule this Friday and Saturday (September 23rd and 24th) night at Point Mallard Ice Plex. Game times are Friday 7:30pm and Saturday 6:00pm.