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WEINFELDEN, Switzerland – Junior Tyler Sikura scored twice and sophomore Nick Bligh added another, but the Dartmouth men’s hockey team fell, 6-3, Saturday night to HC Thurgau at KEB Guttingersreuti in the second exhibition contest of the current European tour.

The first 20 minutes of play were physical with each team called for two penalties apiece. The home team got on the board early on with Kevin Rohner netting the game’s opening tally at 2:59, finishing off a nice passing play in the slot.

Sikura, the team’s newly appointed captain, notched the Big Green’s first goal of the trip as he banged home a loose puck in the slot just 13 seconds into the first power-play opportunity of the night for the visitors.

Like it had against SC Langenthal, Dartmouth put together a solid effort in the second period, seemingly shaking off the rust of another long travel day from Como to northern Switzerland. However, the only marker in the middle frame belonged to HC Thurgau’s Derek Damon near the halfway point.

The start of the third period saw things turn on the Green in the very early stages. Thurgau scored four times in the first five minutes, including two power-play tallies in a span of 19 seconds, capitalizing on the double-minor called on Andy Simpson for two cross checking infractions.

Trailing by five, the Big Green seemed to wake up, picking up their play and making the game competitive again. Sikura finished off a beautiful play with a wrist shot under the bar from the left circle at 12:11, while Bligh netted his first of the trip 3:33 later as he knocked in a rebound.

Sophomore Brad Schierhorn had the primary assists on both third-period goals as he set up Sikura and Bligh with backhanded passes just outside the crease.

Goaltender Charles Grant made 21 saves in the game, battling through screens and the mixed defensive pairings in front of him due to two injuries. His counterpart in Thurgau’s Fabio Haller made 23 saves at the other end of the ice in picking up the win.

Dartmouth will be back in action on Monday when they play Ritten Renon in northeastern Italy.

Day 5 – Aug. 31

With the day’s game located five hours north of our hotel, the majority of Saturday was spent on the bus. However, few would complain as the lengthy bus ride went through the heart of the Swiss Alps.

A quick stop near the top of one of the mountains afforded the team the time for photos, but it was back on the bus 15 minutes later as we continued northward.

The major stopping point of the day saw the group break in Zurich, Switzerland. While the team and staff had a pre-game meal, the rest of the group was free to explore the city for a couple of hours.

Eventually, the same opportunity to explore was given to the players as they walked through the shops and marketplaces in the heart of the city.

One of the most unusual sights of the trip thus far came during this period of time as large crowds gathered along the banks of river. People were leaning over railings, sitting on top of concrete walls, lining the roofs of buildings and even climbing trees.

Many players and staff members wondered what could spark the interest of so many people. Could it be a boat race? People swimming? A rowing competition?

As a gun sounded and the crowd roared, we quickly figured out it was none of those things. It was, in fact, a rubber duck race down the river to raise money for cancer research.

What we gathered from a local who spoke broken English was that people buy the ducks, decorate them and then they are dropped into the river. The first to cross the line some distance up is deemed the winner and given a prize. We were also informed that a prize would also be presented to the person whose duck was best and most uniquely decorated.

Our tour guide Sergio told us, “This is what the Swiss do for fun. Rubber ducks in the river.”

Our view during our pit stop in the Alps.

The rubber ducks floating down the river in Zurich.

Jesse Beamish, James Kruger, Charlie Mosey and Nick Bligh (left to right) along the shores of the Limmat River in Zurich.