Ice Hawks suffer setback to Ducks
In the past two games, the Rochester Ice Hawks have run the gambit of emotions.
Last Sunday, the Ice Hawks earned a big win over the Twin Cities Northern Lights to take over first place in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
And Friday night on their home ice at the Rochester Recreation Center, the Ice Hawks found out what it feels like to throw a game away, falling to the expansion Wisconsin Dells Ducks 4-2.
Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis said it wasn't a cheerful locker room after his team felt it generated more scoring opportunities.
"This game was very reminiscent of our second game out in the Dells," Fatis said. "We had a lot of very good opportunities early that we didn't convert on. At some point when those chances don't go in, you start losing momentum, and that's what happened.
"It was definitely not a jolly locker room after the game. The guys know what it's like to throw one away now, one they felt they should have won. But we'll take these next two days off, and I have no doubt these guys will come back ready to work on Monday morning."
Fatis was quick to praise the play of the Ducks, too. "I love that they're in this league," he said. "They're a good hockey team, and a good partner to have in the MnJHL. They're doing all the right things over there with that program."
The Ice Hawks dominated the first half of the opening period. Fatis said they were outshooting the Ducks 12-2 at one point, but the shots just weren't going in.
The Ducks took control over the final 10 minutes, and they converted on their chances. They put three goals on the board and the Hawks never were able to rally.
"When you go down three in the first, it makes it a whole different game," Fatis said. "We ended up with more scoring chances than them. But their goalie played very well."
The Ice Hawks cut into the lead with captain Charles Gallagher's goal 2:51 into the second. Rob Turner and Tyler Beasley picked up the assists.
But the Ducks added a big goal late in the frame to take a 4-1 lead into the final period.
Chris Williford made it 4-2 with less than three minutes remaining in the game, but the Ice Hawks weren't able to get closer. Beasley and Turner again earned the helpers.
Both teams put 45 shots on goal.
Karel Popper suffered the loss in goal for the Ice Hawks. He made 25 saves on 29 shots.
The Ice Hawks dropped to 14-4-0-1 overall. They return to action Saturday, Nov. 19 at home against the Hudson Crusaders.