By Jim den Hollander
The RWD Bantam Cheavers found themselves in a competitive group and discovered some familiar opponents at a Sparta tournament Jan. 16-17.
First the locals came face to face with the Oregon Panthers, a Regional rival from earlier days with the South-Central Cyclones. The Panthers brushed the locals aside 7-1 but the Cheavers bounced back with a second round 5-1 win against the Sparta Spartans to earn a berth in the third-place contest.
Sauk Prairie Flyers, a current Regional rival for the Cheavers in the final contest that saw the locals grab a 3-0 lead, but ultimately falling 5-3 and settling for fourth place in the tournament.
Oregon Panthers 7 RWD Cheavers 1
The Panthers opened a 2-0 lead and added two more in the middle frame against RWD.
By the time Bryan Mammos scored what would be his team’s only goal, the Panthers had five on the board, adding two more in the final 8:07 for the lopsided win.
Alex Griebe made 21 saves in goal for the Cheavers while the Panthers limited RWD to just a dozen shots at the opposite end.
Sparta Spartans 1 RWD Cheavers 5
In the second game, goaltenders stepped up in a big way, just one goal scored in the first two periods. That goal came from Tye Barney on a feed from Kaden Uminski as Griebe kept his crease clean with eight saves through the first two frames.
Griebe was 3:44 from a shutout when Sparta finally hit the board and by then the Cheavers had already notched five.
Barney notched the game winner with 8:55 to on a feed from RJ Manley and Uminski added some insurance with 7:13 on the clock from Ryleigh Bychinski. Manley fired the final two for the Cheavers the first on a feed from Barney and the final one a solo effort.
RWD Cheavers 3 Sauk Prairie Flyers 5
The Flyers couldn’t have started better when they returned to the rink Jan. 17 for the fourth-place contest. Barney hit the board first again, just 1:29 into the match with help from Gus DeFosse. Uminski added a solo effort 27 seconds later and the Cheavers were off and running.
Tristan Edgerton gave the local bantams a 3-0 margin with 3:02 to go in the period and the Flyers finally hit the board 33 seconds later when Brock Hill converted a pass from Audrey Hanko.
Connor Grant got the Flyers within a goal with his marker 3:49 into the second, from Hanko and Joshua Mast and Gavin Goetsch evened it up with 8:50 to go, teams wrapping up the middle frame even at 3-3.
Gunnar Nachreiner fired the game winner 2:49 into the final period from Mast and Landon Froese added some insurance with still a little more than 10-minutes to go, from Hill.
Griebe kicked out 24 shots in the contest while Corbin Domka stopped 17 including everything he saw in the final two periods.