Oakes latest addition to Team Tracy

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Goaltender Cooper Oakes became the latest in a growing list of quality RWD varsity seniors to be honored by ‘Team Tracy’ on Jan. 20.  

Playing the final home game of the regular season at RACA (one more will be played at Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 8), the RWD Cheavers held a brief ceremony at the end of the opening period to present the ‘Team Trophy’ plaque, named in honor of Tracy Jones, a hockey enthusiast, youth hockey volunteer, coach, manager, and hockey parent who passed away after a courageous battle against Cancer, Dec. 22, 2015. 

Cooper Oakes accepts Team Tracy honor from RWD varsity Head Coach Neil Matson.

Oakes, known for much more than being a solid goaltender, is a popular figure with all RWD Cheavers fans for his efforts both on and off the ice, making him an obvious candidate for this honor.  

Oakes is the seventh player and second goaltender to collect the honor, following the first recipient of the award, Mike Olson (2015-16).  

The following season, Chris Jones, oldest son of Tracy was named for the honor in a season that saw him score 34 goals in 23 games, one of the highest single-season totals in the team’s 12-year history. 

Ben Horzewski was next to receive the honor, a solid contributing forward in all four years he played on the varsity team, Horzewski collected 69 points in 71 games with the Cheavers and currently sits 10th on the team’s all-time scoring list.  

In 2018-19, Ben Jones, another son of Tracy, was named as the winner in a solid senior season that saw him put up 22 points to wrap up a 50-point career with the team.  

In 2019-20, Thomas Pfaff was the team’s captain and leader, receiving the fifth spot on the plaque in a season that saw him put up 28 points to wrap up his own 86-point career, good enough for seventh spot on the overall list.  

Last season, Connor Schyvinck became the first defenseman to collect the honor. A great 200-foot player, Schyvinck finished his four-year run with 42 points, among the highest total for a blue liner. 

All six of these athletes impressed Head Coach Neil Mattson with their efforts in and out of the locker room.  

Oakes is four games from finishing an amazing high school run as a four-year starter in goal. His 14 wins this season rank him second in state behind only the 15 wins collected by Dante Desidero of the Waukesha Wings. He enters play next week with a 2.05 Goals Against Average and a .926 Save Percentage, both just a good game or two away from moving into the state’s top 10. 

A three-sport athlete, Oakes has said his primary spot is hockey and he is looking to continue to play, likely at the junior level and ultimately as a college athlete. 

Chris Jones on hand for the ceremony, said he was confident it would be Coop getting the award. Several years ahead of Oakes as a player, Jones said the young goaltender was no secret. 

“Cooper’s always been someone you knew about,” said Jones. “Growing up through youth hockey he was always a strong goaltender. I knew his dad through youth hockey and yeah, he has always been a strong hockey player. It’s no surprise he’s the player that won it tonight.” 

“I didn’t know he was winning it ahead of time, but kind of had a gut feeling that it would be him.” 

Jones recalls his big senior season with the team and modestly handed much of the credit to his linemate that currently leads all RWD scorers. 

“A lot of it comes down to who I was playing with,” said Jones with a chuckle. “I felt that I just kind of got into a zone and was able to find the net. Playing with Dylan Brown, he makes it real easy to play hockey.” 

Jones had a great touch though as a finisher and the two were perfect for each other. 

“Dylan could make any pass and he just told me to get to the net,” said Jones.  

Tracy’s own personal mandate was primarily to make sure everyone had a chance to play the game she loved, and this writer was lucky enough to be a co-coach with Jones for a season a decade ago. The team excelled at having a good time despite a long time between ‘W’s, which is what goes into this award. 

“Yeah, Sportsmanship, Character development, all that,” agreed Jones  

“I remember that season you coached with her, it was Squirt ‘B’ I think. I definitely remember that year and it wasn’t about wins and losses it was about making sure everybody was being coached and being developed as opposed to just going out there and trying to win games.” 

Jones graduated from UW-Madison with a Chemistry degree in December and was recently hired to a job in Verona doing pharmaceutical coding. 

He pulled out the skates for the first time in a couple seasons to play in the annual RWD Alumni tournament in December.  

“I would like to play more. COVID definitely messed things up for men’s leagues and stuff like that, but I would like to get out and play a little more.” 

The annual presentation of the ‘Team Tracy’ honor is a great excuse for Jones to see his alma mater in action again and of course, to honor his mother. 

“It’s always good to see the other players that have won it and just have that night to remember and be recognized.” 

Oakes joins the prestigious list now and hopefully will get a chance to make an annual visit as well as the list grows by one each season. 

Oakes is another player that Tracy would have been proud to cheer on at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena. 

Five of the seven members of ‘Team Tracy’ posed together during a brief ceremony held between periods at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena Thursday night. From left are Mike Olson; Thomas Pfaff; Cooper Oakes; Ben Horzewski and Chris Jones. Others not in attendance were Ben Jones and Connor Schyvinck.

Big win for Cheavers’ seniors in RACA finale

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Just 48 hours after seeing its nine-game winning streak come to an end, the RWD varsity Cheavers started another with an 11-1 whipping of the visiting Monroe Cheavers on an emotional final night at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

The final night on the schedule saw senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kicking out 13 of 14 Monroe shots and laying claim to the prestigious ‘Team Tracy’ Tracy Jones Plaque (see related story) in a brief ceremony between the first and second periods. 

A 4-2 loss at La Bahn Ice Arena in Madison snapped a nine-game winning streak dating back to Dec. 14 but if there was a pity party, it sure wasn’t evident a RACA Thursday as the home team went to work with three goals in the final seven minutes of the opening period and never looked back.  

The Cheavers carried a 7-1 cushion into the final period and piled on another four down the stretch.  

The team’s leading scorer, senior Clayton Pfaff enjoyed another big offensive night with two goals and three assists while linemates; senior Trevor Slaght added four goals and junior Caden Brandt collected three assists.  

Senior Tomas Korndorfer fired his second hat trick in three games to pace, junior John Scott and sophomore Brady Baldwin both chipping in a goal and assist as the team’s primary two lines both continue to stay hot. 

The d-corps got involved as well, senior Grant Marsich, junior Logan De Mars and sophomore Iszak Elder each picking up an assist in the contest.  

The Cheavers held a 36-14 edge in shots.  

The win boosted the team’s overall record to 14-6 with four games yet to play. The team will hit the road for its next three, it’s final conference test at Sauk Prairie against the host Eagles Feb. 1, followed by the team’s second weekend trip to the northern part of the state this season, playing Hayward Hurricanes and Ashland Oredockers Feb. 4-5. 

The team will wrap up its regular season at Lake Delton Ice Arena honoring its seniors for a second time Feb. 8 against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

The team’s seniors were playing on home ice at RACA, the primary home base for the squad for the final time in regular season play. The team’s 14-6 record to date though should guarantee at least one more chance to play in RACA rink in the post season. 

Wiebusch hat trick paces Crusaders by Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team saw a nine-game winning streak come to an end but continued to show progress against a tough opponent despite falling 4-2 at La Bahn Ice Arena in Madison against the host Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

The Crusaders held a 1-0 lead after a period and carried a 4-1 margin into the third, but a goal for senior C.J. Pfaff 69 seconds into the final period kept the visiting Cheavers in the equation. 

That turned out to be the final goal as the host Crusaders, who limited the high-octane Cheavers’ offense to seven shots in both the first and second period, tightened the screws a big more down the stretch, allowing just four in the final 17 minutes. 

Meanwhile, the Crusaders who eliminated the Cheavers from Badger West contention with the win, peppered RWD senior goaltender Cooper Oakes with 35 shots. 

Senior JJ Wiebusch scored three for the Crusaders and senior Cody Menzel notched the other – both veterans of the prestigious Team Wisconsin Before and After program. 

Junior Caden Brandt fired the first RWD goal and grabbed an assist on the Pfaff goal, along with senior Trevor Slaght. 

The loss was the first for RWD since Dec. 14 at Oregon and dropped the team’s overall record to 13-6 on the season. More importantly, RWD fell to 5-3 in Badger West contests, snapping a string of three straight wins.  

The Cheavers head home for a Thursday (Jan. 20) contest against the Monroe Cheesemakers, its final home game at Reedsburg Area Community Arena and its penultimate Badger West contest.  

The Cheavers have just five games remaining on its schedule, hitting the road for three following the Thursday game before wrapping up the regular season at Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 8 against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

Meyer-Bowen power Squirt ‘B’ Cheavers’ offense

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Squirt ‘B’ Cheavers earned a split in a three-game weekend, wrapping up a 2-2 tie and a 5-3 win against the host Sparta Spartans then returned to the Coulee Region and dropping a 5-4 decision to the host Onalaska Tornado on Sunday. 

Cheavers 2, 5 @ Spartans 2, 3 

Something about Sparta agreed with Cheavers’ forward Owen Meyer who played a part in all seven goals scored on Saturday. 

After firing both goals, unassisted in the opening contest that also saw a three-minute scoreless overtime period, Meyer notched the hat trick in the second game, setting up Thomas Bowen on the other two.  

Cheavers 4 @ Tornado 5 

On Sunday, the Cheavers made the trek to the Omni in Onalaska coming up just short in a one-goal defeat.  

Bowen and Meyer formed a nice tandem again, Bowen scoring twice and Meyer once, both earning assists on the other’s goals.  

William Fenwick counted the other RWD goal, unassisted.  

Isaac Howe handled the work in goal in all three games for the Cheavers.  

The weekend results pushed the team’s record to 4-12-2 on the season. They will be back in action this weekend returning to the same area for the tournament in West Salem. 

Barney notches shorty equalizer for JV Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Cheavers junior varsity squad extended its unbeaten streak to nine games thanks in part to a shorthanded breakaway effort and a stand in between the pipes.

The Cheavers collected a 5-5 draw with the Madison Edgewood Crusaders, the tying at La Bahn Arena in Madison, boosting its current streak to nine games without a loss and its overall record to 11-2-2. The last loss for the JV Cheavers came on Dec. 3, 2021 at RACA against the same Edgewood Crusaders. 

Alex Griebe who played a huge part in the team’s latest string with an unreal 17-plus shutout period stretch in goal is likely lost for the remainder of the season due to illness, but this team is accustomed to adversity. 

The goaltending spot will see a revolving door of ‘skaters’ filling in over the remainder of the season and the first to don the pads was senior Malachi Stompolis-Salama who took to the role with a 24-save effort to keep it close.  

The Cheavers battled back from 4-1 and 5-4 deficits, the tying goal coming on a shorthanded breakaway goal scored by first-year Tye Barney with just under two minutes to play. 

The Cheavers started slow, but Strompolis-Salama kept the team in it, stopping all but one of nine shots faced in the opening 17-minutes, dominated on the shot clock by a 9-0 margin by the home team. 

The Crusaders fired two more early in the middle period before Iszak Elder got the visitors on the board with an unassisted marker. The middle period ended with the hosts up 3-1 but Elder fired a second unassisted goal early in the third to get RWD with one. 

Crusaders added another 7:08 into the period but Cheavers replied a little over two minutes later as Kaden Uminski converted a pass from Tristan Edgerton and Caleb Eastman tied it a short time later, also from Edgerton. 

The Crusaders moved in front again 33 seconds later, setting stage for Barney’s shorty. 

The Cheavers did not play against the Monroe Cheesemakers on Thursday night, but will be back in action at a DeForest Norskie’s hosted tournament at Lake Delton Ice Arena Jan. 27-29. 

Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers reach final at Spooner tourney

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Peewee Cheavers took its act on the road to the Northern Shootout tournament in Spooner last weekend (Jan. 15-16) collecting a pair of wins to reach the championship game and extend its longest streak of the season before running into a Minnesota powerhouse. 

A 7-0 shutout against the Dodgeville Ice Wolves and a 4-2 doubling of the Ashland Youth Hockey Program advanced the Cheavers to the championship game where it ran into a Cottage Grove, MN team playing below its level. As a result, the locals saw its streak end by an 8-0 margin. 

Ice Wolves 0 @ Cheavers 7 

The Cheavers took care of things quick in the opening game on Friday with five unanswered first period goals, four of them scored in a span of 3:06 in the middle part of the period.  

Meanwhile, goaltender Jesse Arnold stopped all 13 shots he faced to collect the shutout win in goal.  

Tyler Krieski paced the Cheavers’ offense with a three-goal game, Landon Uminski adding two goals and two assists. Dayne Wagner and Evelyn Gurney fired the other RWD goals while Ethan Wilcox and Noah Backeberg picked up assists.  

Ashland Youth Hockey 2 @ Cheavers 4  

The Cheavers were home team again for the second game and made it work thanks to a pair of unanswered middle period goals.  Both teams fired once in the first and final periods. 

This time it was Uminski with the hat trick, the final three after Krieski notched the first period marker. Wagner and Wilcox collected assists and Arnold kicked out 11 of 13 to pick up the win in goal.  

Cheavers 0 @ Cottage Grove Wolfpack 8  

The Cheavers were unfortunately no match for the Wolfpack who were playing in a division below their level. Arnold was the busiest player in the game with 50 stops despite the lopsided score.  

The loss ended a six-game winning streak for the locals who will stay on the road Saturday with games at Green Island Ice Arena in La Crosse and the Panther Den in West Salem Sunday. 

RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers won two of three and wrapped up the Finalists trophy at the Northern Shootout in Spooner this past weekend. Team members (in no specific order) include Hailey Dietl; Tyler Krieski; Landen Uminski; Ethan Wilcox; Dayne Wagner; Teaghen Geffert; Noah Backeberg; Evelyn Gurney; Andrew Stando; Jesse Arnold and Ethan Pope.

Nick Mast scores first four against Cardinals

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles hit the road, making the short trip to Sun Prairie and extended its winning streak with a 7-2 win against the host Cardinals. 

The Eagles opened a comfort zone with three unanswered goals in both the first and second periods at Sun Prairie Ice Arena, then added another in the third before the Cards gained some satisfaction, denying junior Kaden Stracke the shutout with two goals in the game’s final six minutes. 

Eagles’ senior has had some big games this season, but this might be the biggest as he collected a natural hat trick with all three first period goals, then added his fourth early in the second on his way to a four goal, one assist game. 

Linemates, senior Erik Peterson and junior Luke Mast both added a goal and two assists the other Eagles’ goal scored by senior Micah Hanson.  

Junior Ethan Tranel and senior Hakon Peterson picked up assists as well.  

Seniors Will Brinkmeier and Davis Hamilton counted the Cardinal goals.  

Stracke’s role was big in this game as the Eagles held a slim 39-34 edge in shots including a 15-13 edge for the Cards in the final frame. 

The Eagles’ will put its nine-game winning streak on the line in a key Badger West Conference battle at Oregon on Thursday (Jan. 20) and the road stretch continues at Baraboo on Tuesday (Jan. 25). Next home game for the Eagles will be on Feb. 1 when the RWD Cheavers pay a visit. 

The Eagles climb to 12-2 overall and they are 3-2 in Badger West Conference matches. The team has seven games remaining to play, five of them conference tilts. 

Korndorfer hatty leads Cheavers past Norskies

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers renewed acquaintances with a former conference rival and collected of of five Badger West Conference wins on the day at the Badger Challenge at the Waunakee Ice Ponds Saturday. 

A 9-2 win against former Badger North partner, the DeForest Norskies also helped the RWD crew extend its current winning streak to nine games. 

Despite a 13-5 edge in shots through the opening 17-minutes, the Cheavers appeared on its way to a scoreless opening frame, but two goals in the final 84 seconds of the period opened the floodgates. 

Another pai in the opening 4:15 of the second had RWD comfortably in control before the Norskies notched its first about 90 seconds later  

The Norskies moved to within a pair 51 seconds into the third, but the Cheavers responded 11 seconds later and slammed the door with three more before the period was five minutes old. 

Senior Tomas Korndorfer enjoyed his best game as a Cheaver, firing three goals and adding an assist, giving him nine goals and 20 points on the season so far. 

Senior Trevor Slaght notched two more goals and senior defender Ty Thompson, known primarily for his solid defensive play, struck or his second goal in two games, adding an assist as well. Senior forward C, J. Pfaff continued his hot streak with a goal and two helpers, junior twins Caden and Carsen Brandt firing the other goals, Caden also with a set up. 

Juniors Logan DeMars and John Scott along with sophomore Iszak Elder each collected an assist

Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes stopped 23 of 25 for the win in goal and the Cheavers went past the 50-shot mark for the first time this season, outshooting the Norskies 52-25. 

The win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 13-5 and they will put its winning streak to the test in its next game, travelling to LaBahn Arena in Madison to take on the Edgewood Crusaders (9-3, 4-0 Badger West). The Cheavers dropped a 4-1 decision on home ice against the Crusaders on Dec. 3) and need this win to keep Badger West Conference championship hopes alive. 

Next home game will be on Thursday, the final Badger West Conference home game against the Monroe Cheesemakers. 

Stracke-McInerney share another Eagles shutout

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles stayed hot with a 4-0 shutout against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers in one of five Badger West Conference wins against rivals from the Badger East Conference at Waunakee Ice Ponds. 

For the second time this season, junior goaltenders Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerny shared a shutout, combining to handle all 16 shots put at them by the Golden Beavers. 

All four Eagle’s goals came in the middle period, scored by seniors Nick Mast, Micah Hanson, and Erik Peterson along with junior Luke Mast. The first three came in a span of 2:19 in the middle of the frame. Hanson added two assists, the other three goal scorers each picking up one helper. Other assists went to junior Ethan Tranel and sophomore Karsyn Banta. 

The Eagles dominated the contest with a 44-16 edge in shots.  

The win continues a winning streak for the Eagles to eight games and the team’s overall record is 11-2.  

The Eagles return to action Tuesday (Jan. 18) back on the road to face the Sun Prairie Cardinals, the first of three consecutive road matches. Next home game will be Feb. 1 when the Eagles play host the RWD Cheavers. 

Rough final period costly for varsity Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo Thunderbirds grabbed leads twice but it was Milton Redbirds using a dominant final 17 minutes to rally for a 3-2 win at the Badger Challenge Saturday at the Waunakee Ice Pond. 

Thunderbirds scored first and controlled the shot clock in both the first and second periods in the battle of fifth place teams from the Badger West and Badger East Conferences, but the score was even at 1-1 after the first and 2-2 heading to the third period. 

Sophomore Carson Zick notched the first of the contest for the Thunderbirds 2:14 into the game, unassisted but senior Gannon Kilgora equalized or the Redbirds 66 seconds later. Baraboo held an 11-8 edge in shots in the period. 

In the middle period the Thunderbirds scored first again, first-year Nathan Gneiser pulling the trigger with help from juniors Luke Schweda and Peyton Sloan. 

Redbirds rallied to tie it again with a goal from sophomore Ty Johnson and Baraboo/Portage had the edge in shots again 10-8. 

The Redbirds flipped the tables in the final frame, outshooting the Thunderbirds 15-5 and junior Colter Thorn gave the Badger East squad its lone win of the day with his goal in the period’s second minute. 

Senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl turned in a 28-save effort for Thunderbirds who unfortunately saw its losing streak stretched to eight games with the loss. 

The local squad returns to action Tuesday with a home game against the Viroqua Blackhawks starting at 7:30 p.m.