The Rum River Mallards will limp in the U.S. Premier Hockey League playoffs after losing four games last week.
Rum River began the week with a pair of losses at Hudson on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24. The Havoc needed two goals in the third period to claim a 3-1 victory on Tuesday before shutting out the Mallards 5-0 the following day.
In Tuesday’s contest, Rum River’s Carter Robinson scored at 5:48 of the second period to tie the contest, but that was all the offense the Mallards could muster. Austin Bartell finished with 50 saves in the loss.
On Wednesday Rum River held Hudson scoreless in the first period before surrendering three goals in the second and two more in the third. Goalie Ethan Cook stopped 45 of the 50 shots he faced in that contest.
The Mallards appeared to run out of gas when they hosted the Minnesota Moose on Thursday, Feb. 25. Playing for the third straight day – and playing in its 10th contest in 14 days – Rum River surrendered seven goals in the third period of a 12-2 loss.
Dominic Bailiff scored at 1:54 of the third period and Brandt Pederson added a goal at the 12:34 mark for the Mallards.
Rum River used all three of its goalies in this contest. Cook started and gave up four goals on 37 shots; Bartell entered early in the second period and gave up four goals on 26 shots; and Drew Moseley took over early in the third period and gave up four goals on 22 shots.
The Mallards closed the regular season with a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Mullets on Sunday, Feb. 28. The Mullets scored three times in the first eight minutes of the contest, and Rum River was unable to avoid the shutout despite outshooting the Mullets 38-32.
Bartell finished with 29 saves for the Mallards.
Rum River finished the regular season with a 9-33-1 record, and their 20 points tied them with Rochester for seventh in the Midwest West Division of the USPHL. The Mallards will open the playoffs with a best-of-three series against the Minnesota Moose.
The Moose tied for second in the division with 75 points, one point behind regular-season champ Wisconsin Rapids, thanks to a 37-6-1 mark.
The playoff series will be played in Spooner, Wisconsin, with the first two games on Friday and Saturday, March 5-6, starting at 7 p.m. Should a third game be needed, it will take place on Sunday, March 7, starting at 6 p.m.