The Rum River Mallards took advantage of a busy portion of the schedule to claim two U.S. Premier Hockey League victories in four games last week.
The Mallards began their busy stretch with an exciting 5-4 overtime victory over the Minnesota Mullets at home on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, Cambridge native Derek Becklin tied the game with a goal at 6:18 of the second period. After the Mullets scored twice, Kyle Kubiak scored with just 10 seconds left in the period.
The Mullets got that goal back midway through the third period, but that just set up an exciting finish as Kubiak scored at 15:55 to cut Rum River’s deficit to a goal, and Becklin scored at the 18:02 mark to force overtime.
Becklin then notched a hat trick with his game-winning goal at 4:47 in the extra period, allowing Liam Donnelly to earn the win in net after stopping 51 shots.
Two nights later the Mallards used a five-goal third-period outburst to claim a 7-4 home victory over Rochester.
The Vipers scored the only two goals of the first period, but Becklin and Dominic Sandoval each scored in the second period to create a tie entering the third frame. Carter Robinson found the back of the net just 1:10 into the third to break the tie, and Becklin and Sandoval scored to create a cushion.
Sandoval completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at the 17-minute mark, and Noe Ben Salem also scored on the empty net at the 18-minute mark. Donnelly finished with 55 saves to earn his second straight victory.
Rochester won the rematch the following evening in a wild contest that saw 121 shots and 13 goals, with the homestanding Vipers claiming a 7-6 victory in overtime.
Trailing 2-0 after one period and 3-0 early into the second, Rum River got two goals by Creighton McMahon and one from Niko Reimann to tie the game at 13:09. Rochester took the lead just 46 seconds later, but McMahon retied the game – and claimed a hat trick – with a goal at the 16:55 mark.
Twice in the third period the Vipers scored, but each time the Mallards responded as Anthony Tuccitto scored at 7:04 of the period and Becklin forced overtime with his unassisted goal at 18:23.
But Rochester scored at 3:37 of overtime to snap Rum River’s two-game win streak and pin the loss on Donnelly, who kicked aside 45 shots.
On Monday, Feb. 15, Hudson came to the Isanti Ice Arena and handed the Mallards a 4-1 loss. The Havoc outshot Rum River 62-35 and scored a goal in each period, finishing with two goals in the third.
Luke Horvath scored a power-play goal at the 11-minute mark of the final period to allow Rum River to avoid the shutout, and goaltender Ethan Cook kept his team in the game by making a whopping 58 saves.
The Mallards will play four games in five days this week, a streak that began with a home contest against the Minnesota Mullets on Wednesday, Feb. 17, that was not completed before press time.
Rum River again will host the Mullets on Friday, Feb. 19, starting at 7 p.m., then the following evening Rum River will entertain Steele County in another 7 p.m. start.
The Mallards will end the week against the Minnesota Moose at the Spooner, Wisconsin, Civic Center on Sunday, Feb. 21, in a contest starting at 3 p.m.