Cheavers shutout Vikes in Cheeseburger opener

It was just a matter of time for the RWD varsity hockey team Thursday night at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena.
The local dominated play against the Stoughton Vikings in a fast paced, rugged, but clean game but had nothing to show for it after a period. Persistence and patience paid off in the middle frame though with four unanswered goals – all triggered by seniors.
That was more than enough to lift the team to the winners’ side of the bracket on opening night of the 10th version of the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic tournament at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena with a 4-0 win.
Exact scoring details were not available at the time this was written, but coaches confirmed after the game, Jon Zobel, playing in his fourth Cheeseburger Classic, paced the offense with his first ever two-goal game with others added by Ben Jones and Derek Pawlak.
Meanwhile, junior Logan Sullivan made his season debut in goal a perfect one for the Cheavers. He didn’t face a lot of shots, but he made some solid stops along the way to put up the shutout.
Assistant coach Jeramy Greenwood said it was nice to see the seniors step up in their last chance at a Cheeseburger Classic championship.
“That’s something we were looking for early in the season,” said Welch. “We were looking for (the seniors) to step up, not only on the ice, but off the ice as leaders. Maybe this game was kind of a coming out party for the seniors.”
Success came in the middle period as the team stayed calm and never broke from the team systems said coach Greenwood.
“Yeah, that’s the message, you just have to keep working. You’re going to have games like that where there’s opportunities and they just don’t go in. You run into a hot goalie, but every dam breaks after a while, whether it’s one period, two periods, three periods. You just keep going, working hard,” said Greenwood adding the RWD team put an average of 15 shots per period at the Stoughton keeper.
“You hope one or two go in and then when it rains it pours and that’s kind of what happened. I think we could have had more than four goals, but we’re happy with four.”
The Cheeseburger Classic tournament has traditionally been a big event for the RWD team in seasons that seem to be over in a blink. The season is barely a month old, but the Christmas tournament triggers a crazy month of January that will decide everything from conference hopes to Sectional seeding.
Getting a boost from this tournament has carried a past team to the state tournament just as not so great showings here have in the past set the team up for bland finishes to the season as well.
Greenwood said the coaches are aware of the past highs and lows at this tournament.
“I think that’s the mindset,” said Kent. “If we don’t win the tournament, it’s a disappointment. We see some familiar faces in the tournament. We’re looking forward to the next game and we can build off this or it could be another low point. We don’t want that.”
The opening round win guarantees a top-four position at the tournament and tonight, the Cheavers move on to play former Badger North rival McFarland Spartans who defeated the Aquinas (La Crosse) Avalanche 6-4 in its opener. Other first day scores saw another Badger North squad, the DeForest Norskies beating Greendale Ice Force 7-2 while Tomah/Sparta opened with a 4-3 edge against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders.
Game time tonight again is 7:30 p.m. and the Cheavers will be playing for a spot in the championship game.

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