Badger Lightning faces off new season Thursday

By Jim den Hollander


The Badger Lightning varsity girls hockey team which includes players from several area high schools, will open its 2020-21 regular season Thursday on home ice at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.

The Lightning will open with a match against Badger Conference rival, the Viroqua Blackhawks with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

The game will be a replay of 2019-20 which also opened against the Hawks, but at Viroqua, the home team pulling out a 6-3 win. The score was identical when the Lightning played host in mid-January again at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

Due to Covid restrictions, Pierce Park does not allow spectators. However, the game will be streamed online at

The Lightning is also scheduled to play host to the Brookfield Glacier from the Eastern Shores Conference Saturday in a another contest at Pierce Park Pavilion. The two did not faceoff against each other last season.



Thunderbirds can’t recover from early deficit

By Jim den Hollander


The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team suffered a 5-3 defeat against the Menomonie Mustangs in the season opener for both teams Tuesday at Pierce Park Pavilion.

After the visiting Mustangs opened  a 3-1 first period lead, both teams added single goals in the final two periods. The Thunderbirds twice pulled back to within a goal, but the visitors extended the lead again both times.

Carson Zick scored the first period goal for the Thunderbirds with help from Kyle Poole and Courtney Dunnett. The second period marker came from Luke Schweda on a set up from Alex Rietmann and the other Baraboo/Portage goal was scored by Peyton Sloan with Poole and Dunnett helping out once again.

Andrew Schaetzel may have been the busiest player in the game, facing 40 shots in goal for the Thunderbirds.

Baraboo-Portage gets a week to prepare for its next contest scheduled for next Tuesday at Mosinee City Recreation Center against the Mosinee High School team.

Ducks add some Norskie power

By Jim den Hollander


If this were a ‘normal’ season, the Dells Ducks would be crossing the halfway mark on a tough campaign, but with the way things have been in recent weeks, this season’s team could benefit from some extra contests.

The Ducks hit the 20-game mark this past weekend with two more tough road defeats, both in Hudson. They Ducks and Havoc were the lone teams from the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division over the holiday weekend. The host Havoc rallied from an early deficit and rolled to a 10-2-win Friday night, then added a 9-2 margin on Saturday.

A bright spot for the team has been the play of its newest players.

Bryce Jacobson was planning on playing his senior year with the DeForest Norskies varsity team this season but with the cancellation of the regular season for that squad, he instead joined the Dells Ducks. The ’02 forward collected his first junior goal 79 seconds into Friday’s game to give the team a short-lived 1-0 lead.  Trent Bachman, also from DeForest graduated a few years ago but also recently signed with the Ducks. He set up the Jacobson goal and had an assist on the other Dells’ marker, scored by Jerame Kennedy.

Another newcomer from the area, McCarthy Reed, an ’03 from Madison collected an assist on another goal by Jacobsen Saturday with the Ducks again on the board first, this time with Liam Donovan pulling the trigger.

The tough education for a young inexperienced squad. The Ducks are still searching for a win 20-games in and have allowed 183 goals against. While the Ducks have played 20, the next highest total in the division is three teams at 16 and the Steele County Blades who will be in town for a rare Thursday morning contest (9 a.m.) will be playing just their 13th.

Schedule changes

Each state has reacted to the current health crisis in different ways. Wisconsin has been somewhat liberal compared to other states, including Minnesota. At this point, teams are setting their own schedules and the Ducks – who already had a home-heavy opening to the season – continue to pile up home games.

The Blades will be in town for the Thursday game followed up by a pair of weekend matches – the first ever meetings for the Ducks with the Northern Colorado Eagles from the league’s new Mountain Division.

The Eagles who will also visit the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings Friday and Saturday night, will be at the Lake Delton Ice Arena for a 5:30 p.m. match on Sunday followed by a getaway game scheduled to faceoff at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The mid-day schedule will continue for the Ducks with another visit from the Riverkings Thursday Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Minnesota Mullets will be in town for a 10:30 a.m. meeting.

Brandt hat-trick leads Cheavers to season opening win

By Jim den Hollander


Down 2-0 after a period, Caden Brandt took matters into his own hands, firing a natural hattrick with three straight second period goals to lift the host RWD Cheavers to a 5-2 win against the Waupaca Comets in its 2020-21 season opener at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) Tuesday night.

The win for RWD which includes students from Reedsburg Arena High School, Wisconsin Dells High School and Mauston High School, kicks off a busy opening week on a winning note and pushes Head Coach Neil Mattson to within two wins of the 300-victory plateau.

The Comets from the eight-team Great Northern Conference were playing the Cheavers for the first time. They finished 8-15-1 in the regular season last year and like the Cheavers made a second-round exit from the WIAA post season.

The Comets couldn’t have looked more prepared for the new season, opening the scoring before the end of the opening minute, and scoring another near the halfway mark of the period.

The Cheavers were outshot 7-3 through the opening session but took over from the start of the middle period.

Brandt scored his first 7:54 into the frame then added two more 26-seconds apart a little later. Danny Ely, who fired both third period goals for RWD also played a part in two of the second period goals. Other assists went to Connor Schyvinck, Trevor Slaght and Grant Marsich in the second with Brandt and Schyvinck earning set ups in the third.

Cooper Oakes collected the first win of his junior season, turning aside 23 of 25 shots including everything he faced through the final 31 minutes of the contest. After collecting just three first period shots, the Cheavers went on to a 28-25 edge in the contest.

RWD will remain on home ice to face the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders – a perennial early season opponent from the Wisconsin Valley Conference.  The team wraps up a three-game opening week with its first road test against Fond du Lac Springs from the Badgerland Conference Saturday at 2 p.m. at Blue Line Family Ice Center in Fond du Lac.

Please Note – All schedule times are courtesy and subject to change.