This season has been a story of perseverance for the Quad-City Mallards.
Although the losses keep piling up, the team goes to work every day, battling through the rigors of a tough season, looking for a way to win.
"Nobody's really at 100 percent at this time of year," forward Alex Globke said. "That's when you have to really dig down and find out why you're playing. You could be sitting at a job, doing something you don't want to do, but you get to come and play hockey. ... You've got to find a way to lay it on the line. Even though you may not have everything you've got, you've got to give everything you do have."
Globke perhaps personifies that dedication.
The second-year player has developed into a reliable piece for the Mallards this season. He's played in all but two of their games and has 16 points over his last 16 games.
"I’ve been having some more luck with the puck," Globke said. "Pucks seem to find their way to my stick more often, and that’s been helpful."
Globke had to stick with it to get to this point. Early this season there were long stretches where the Waterford, Michigan, native saw little ice time and sometimes even longer periods during which he couldn't buy a point.
Through his first 24 games he had just three points, including 14 straight scoreless games. Through 41 games, Globke had just four goals and seven assists for 11 points.
Despite those frustrations, he kept showing up every day, working hard with the desire to get better.
Now, it's paying off, with five goals and 11 assists over the last month.
"It definitely takes a weight off your shoulders. I remember the first 10 games I hit four or five posts. ... I was sitting there thinking, this has to be some kind of nightmare," he said. "You just stick to the game plan, keep working hard. I tell people I'm not going to be the most skilled person out there. ... I'm a will over skill kind of guy."
Globke has developed that mentality over his career.
He broke into the professional ranks last year with the Toledo Walleye after three years of college at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. On a Walleye team loaded with talent — they won the Brabham Cup as regular season league champions — Globke played just 29 games, scoring five goals and adding 12 assists. He also played seven games in the playoffs, and though he didn't see the ice as much as he'd like, he used every opportunity as a chance to grow.
"It's like a freshman in college, you get there and you know you're the rookie, you know you're the young guy so you want to make sure you're doing all the little things," he said. "A lot of last year was learning about being a role guy and making sure, no matter what it was, whether I was playing or not, always making sure I was helping out goalies after practice, help pick up pucks, whatever I could do for the guys to prepare them for games. And then whenever I got the chance, just be as ready as I could be and help out however I could."
That mentality made Globke an attractive prospect for Mallards head coach Phil Axtell.
"I heard a lot of good things," Axtell said. "A lot of skill, can play heavy, plays his best when he's heavy. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, and we're starting to see that here in the second half of the year."
At 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, Globke's size is definitely an asset.
"Being the style of player I am, I like the corners and the net front. It's nice being my size because the defensemen have to find a way to push me out of the way," he said. "I can get there, plant my feet and force him to push 200-plus pounds. That's definitely helped me along the way, and I've learned how to use my size to my advantage."
Globke's determination to get better every day, even in the midst of all this losing, speaks to the hard work and perseverance of the second-year player.
Axtell thinks it says even more.
"It speaks to those two but it also speaks to what kind of character Globs has. I think a lot of guys, whether they know it or not, have silently quit this year, and he's just pushing through, not quitting but trying even harder," Axtell said. "Coaches don't forget that kind of stuff. Whether it's here, or Wichita, or he does something against Toledo, game in and game out he's doing something to get your attention. Being able to push through that, his perseverance to show the fight to the end, it's huge."