The Rum River Mallards remain winless in January after losing three U.S. Premier Hockey League home contests last week.
A five-goal outburst by Cambridge native Derek Becklin was not enough for the Mallards to avoid an 8-6 loss to Steele County on Friday, Jan. 22.
The two teams exchanged goals in the first period, with Noe Ben Salem scoring for Rum River, before erupting for a combined six goals in the second.
While Becklin scored at 4:20 and 14:33 of the period for Rum River, his goals bookmarked a four-goal barrage by the Blades.
Steele County scored twice midway through the third period to make the score 7-3 before Becklin found the back of the net three times in less than four minutes – including a pair of goals scored just 17 seconds apart – to make it a one-goal game.
Unfortunately the Mallards were unable to tie the game, and Steele County notched an empty-net goal with five seconds left.
The following evening Rum River suffered an 8-0 shutout loss to the Minnesota Moose at the Isanti Ice Arena. The Moose scored once in the opening period, then blasted three goals in the second and four in the third to skate to the victory.
The Mallards were outshot 65-26. Austin Bartell started in goal for Rum River and made 17 saves while allowing four goals; he was replaced by Liam Donnelly at the 4:30 mark of the second period, and Donnelly stopped 40 shots while allowing the final four goals.
The Mallards stayed close for one period in their rematch with Steele County on Sunday, Jan. 24, before falling 8-4.
Rum River led 4-3 after a wild first period thanks to two goals by Garrett Sawyer and one apiece by Carter Robinson and Becklin.
But the Mallards were shut out in the final two periods, while the Blades added a game-tying goal in the second and four unanswered goals in the third.
Donnelly played the first 50 minutes and made 43 saves while allowing six goals; Bartell played the final 10 minutes and stopped all but one of the 11 shots he faced.
Rum River will stay busy this week with four games in four days, starting with a contest against the Minnesota Mullets to be played at Augsburg University on Thursday, Jan. 28. The next two days the Mallards will be at home, host Rochester on Friday and the Minnesota Blue Ox on Saturday, with each contest starting at 7 p.m.
Rum River then will play at Steele County on Sunday, Jan. 31, beginning at 3 p.m.