The Rum River Mallards put together a strong performance at the United States Premier Hockey League’s Chicago Showcase last weekend.
The Mallards opened the tournament, which was played at Arctic Ice Arena in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park, Illinois, by losing to the Decatur Blaze in a shootout on Thursday, Dec. 17. The team then dropped a narrow 4-2 decision to the Lake Erie Bighorns the following day.
Then on Saturday Rum River snapped a losing skid that had reached 14 straight losses in impressive fashion, crushing the Motor City Hockey Club 9-0, before finishing the tournament with another lopsided victory, a 7-0 whitewash of the Metro Hockey Club the next day.
Thursday’s contest was a goaltending battle between Rum River’s Liam Donnelly, who finished with 37 saves, and Carter Elmore of Decatur, who stopped 28 shots. The game remained scoreless through 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime to set up a shootout.
Jaron Smith, Carter Robinson and Petr VanVorhis failed to score for the Mallards, but Donnelly stopped the first two penalty shots he faced before John Weber scored the game-winner for the Blaze.
On Friday Rum River fell behind 2-0 after two periods and was not quite able to complete the comeback. The Mallards actually trailed by three before Garrett Sawyer scored at 15:26 of the second period, and Sawyer then found the back of the net at 5:18 of the third.
But Rum River was unable to tie the game and Lake Erie added an empty-net goal with just 25 seconds left.
Austin Bartell finished with 30 saves for the Mallards.
In Saturday’s game Rum River led 1-0 after the first period thanks to a goal by Dominic Bailiff, then exploded for six unanswered goals in the second to roll to the win.
All six of those goals came in the final 11 minutes of the period, with Cambridge native Easton Parnell joined in the scoring parade by Tyler Landers, Paul Zmuda, Jake Hermann, Noah Heiderscheid and Noe Ben Salem.
Landers scored two more times in the third period to earn a hat trick, while Drew Moseley made 23 saves in net to earn the shutout for the Mallards.
Then in Sunday’s finale, Rum River scored three goals in both the second and third periods to swamp the Metro Hockey Club, while Bartell stopped all 40 shots he faced to claim the shutout.
Parnell collected the only goal of the opening period, then Ben Salem, Cambridge native Derek Becklin and Matt Howell scored goals that gave the Mallards a 4-0 lead after two periods.
Sawyer, Robinson and Hermann added goals in the final period, with Hermann notching his goal on the power play.
Rum River is not scheduled to play its next game until it hosts a pair of home contests on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 8-9. The Mallards will face off against Hudson on Jan. 8 and Rochester the following evening, with both games starting at 8 p.m.