Golden Beavers solve Eagles who climb to 10-1

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team wrapped up a four-games in six-days stretch with three more wins and its first defeat of the 2020-21 WIAA season.

Beginning on Saturday, Jan. 16 with a 4-0 shutout against another Sectional rival, the Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche at the Onalaska Omni, adding another goose egg against the Stoughton Vikings 11-0 two nights later at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) which pushed the team to 9-0 before the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers snatched the 10th away from the Eagles with some solid goaltending leading the way to a 3-2 edge on Tuesday.

The Eagles got back up and took any frustrations it might have had out on the Onalaska Hilltoppers with a 6-3 win and another lopsided shot edge at SPARC on Friday night.

Sauk Prairie Eagles 4 @ Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche 0

The Eagles grabbed control of the contest in Onalaska with three goals in the second half of the second half of the opening period.  Micah Hanson opened the scoring with a powerplay tally on a feed from Hakon Peterson and Luke Mast doubled the margin from Nick Mast with 4:33 to play in the frame.

Erik Peterson hit the mesh with just under two minutes to play, from Hanson, giving the guests a comfortable lead heading to the second.

Hanson collected his third point and second goal  of the contest in the second period from Hakon Peterson and Luke Mast.

The third period was scoreless and Brooks McInerney picked up the shutout win in his first varsity start, with 15 saves.

Stoughton Vikings 0 @ Sauk Prairie Eagles 11

He didn’t realize it at the time of course, but Luke Mast fired the game winning marker against Stoughton 25 seconds into the contest.

The Eagles rolled to a 5-0 first period lead, adding two more in the second and piling on another four in the third for the lopsided win.

Mast ended the game with three goals and an assist while Hakon Peterson,  Nick Mast and Brodie Trollop each fired two goals, Peterson adding two assists while Mast and Trollop both added one. Caeben Schomber and Sam Severson collected the other Eagles’ goals, Erik Peterson setting up a pair and single assists for Nam Ganch, Brandon Mittelstaedt and Tyler Buechner.

McInerney and Kaden Stracke shared the goose egg in goal, both collecting three saves while the Eagles peppered Max Nihles in the Stoughton crease with 51 shots.

Sauk Prairie Eagles 2 @ Beaver Dam Golden Beavers 3

Gavin Hearley brought a sudden end to a stretch of 119:30 of shutout hockey for the Eagles, scoring the lone goal of the first period for the Beavers.

Erik Peterson evened it up 6:47 into the second from Hakon Peterson, but the Golden Beavers scored the next two. Nick Mast brought the Eagles back to within one 15 seconds from the end of the second  period, from Hakon Peterson and Luke Mast.

The Eagles fired 20 shots at the Beaver Dam goaltender, Kirk Davis in the middle period and couldn’t find a way past him with the equalizer with another dozen in the third on its way to a 41-shot night.

Stracke kicked out 25 of 28 in goal for the Eagles.

Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers 3 @ Sauk Prairie Eagles 6

The Eagles wrapped up the busy stretch and got back on the winning track Saturday doubling the Hilltoppers.

The Eagles trailed early again, and it was Erik Peterson once again pulling them even with an assist for Luke Mast.

Hilltoppers moved in front two more times in the middle period and both times the Eagles responded to tie it up. Peterson’s second tied it 2-2 and Luke Mast evened it at 3-3. Both assisted on the other’s marker with another assist for Nick Mast.

Severson gave the Eagles its first lead of the contest 6:43 into the final period from Brodie Trollop with late game insurance added by Hakon Peterson and Luke Mast, the final one into the empty cage.

Nick Mast picked up two more assists and Luke Mast wrapped up a five-point night with another helper.

Stracke collected the win in goal with 18 saves and Sawyer Nitti faced 42 in goal for the Hilltoppers.

The Eagles boosted its record to 10-1 with the win and have three games to play beginning Monday (January 25) against McFarland Spartans, then a possible Sectional preview as they faceoff against the group’s top seed, Madison Edgewood Crusaders Tuesday, wrapping up the regular season Thursday with one more home game, against Milton Red Hawks

Peewee T-Birds crush Knights 12-2

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Baraboo T-Birds peewee hockey team enjoyed a 12-2 margin against Beloit Jr. Knights at Pierce Park Pavilion on Jan. 17.

The game was all but settled in the opening period as the T-Birds notched five unanswered goals and by the time teams started the final period, the home side was up 9-1.

Brody Bjorklund enjoyed a huge game for the locals, firing four goals and setting up another four while Peyton Stelzer and Thomas Sarnow both fired hat tricks, Sarnow adding a couple assists.

The other two goals, and two assists came from Dayana Wade with Abel Littlegeorge collecting a helper.

The T-Birds outshot the Knights 55-20.

Third period rally carries Ice Wolves past Bantam T-Birds

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Baraboo T-Birds bantams made the trip to Dodgeville Jan. 17 and dropped a 9-4 decision to the host Ice Wolves at Harris Park Ice Arena.

The Wolves scored two goals, 20-seconds apart just past the halfway mark of the opening period and carried the 2-0 cushion into the middle frame.

T-Birds got on the board with a Jordi Beale marker, set up by Colin Mattson 3:51 from the end of the second. Dodgeville restored the two-goal cushion with under 30 seconds to play in the frame, but Beale notched another with just over 10 ticks on the clock from Nathan Gneiser and Reese Olson.

An avalanche of third period goals included one from Gneiser and the other from Thomas Sarnow with helpers for Beale, Olson and Wyatt Jost.

Brayden Goyett-Fuller turned in a 24-save effort in goal for the T-Birds who fired 34 against the Wolves’ goaltender.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the T-Birds and leaves them at 9-8 on the season so far.

Engel, O”Connor and Teske set to start college campaigns

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Three players with local ties are set to  begin their long-anticipated college hockey careers.

The recently released Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference (WIAC) Women’s Hockey schedule shows Badger Lightning 2019-20 captain and Reedsburg resident Kaylee Engel, now with the Northland College Lumberjills will face off against Sauk Prairie’s Jordan O’Connor, one of the top-ranked  goaltenders in the WIAA last season who will begin her own college career with UW River Falls Falcons.

Generally, teams would be closing in on the post season by now with seasons getting underway in the fall, but COVID restrictions put in place by WIAC held things up until now.

Meanwhile, in the Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Association, the Augsburg Auggies, including Julianna Teske, a former Reedsburg resident who moved back to town with her family recently.

Teske will also be suiting up for the first time in her college career.

Engel captained and led the Badger Lightning in scoring last season with 14 goals and 23 points. In 75 career games with the Lightning over four seasons, Engel notched 29 goals and 55 points.

While the Jills begin the regular season on Feb. 3 at River Falls, the team will also play a pair of exhibition contests beginning Tuesday (Jan. 26) at UW-Superior Yellowjackets and then Friday at home at Bay Area Civic Center in Ashland, also against the Yellowjackets.

O’Connor played every minute of last season for the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity squad, compiling a record of 19-4-1 in regular season action, then adding two more in the post season, helping the team reach Sectional semi-finals.

Her 19 wins ranked he second in the WIAA through the regular season and her Goals Against Average and Save Percentage also ranked her among the best.

Jordan O’Connor

Her career stats with the Eagles saw her collect 21 wins in 27 starts with a 1.61 GAA. As a sophomore and junior, O’Connor spent time with the Madison Capitols.

O’Connor is one of three goaltenders on the Falcons, and one of two freshmen.

As this is written, there are no pre-season games scheduled for the Falcons.

Teske spend much of her youth career with the Madison Capitols and moved with her family to Warroad, Minnesota for her freshman year of High School.

Over four seasons with the Warroad Warriors, Teske played 99 regular season games, totaling 26 goals and 71 regular season points along with 20 playoff games where she added seven goals and 11 points. She also played on the Minnesota High School Performance Team in 2019-20, collecting three points in five games.

Julianna Teske

The Aggies are scheduled to begin the regular season against Hamline University on Feb. 6 at Tria Rink in St. Paul, Minn., but they will get an early preview Friday (Jan. 29) on home ice against St. Scholastica and then again, the following night in Duluth against the same St. Scholastica Saints. Both games faceoff at 7 p.m. and the Auggies schedule (https://athletics.augsburg.edu/sports/womens-ice-hockey/schedule) includes a link to watch the games live.

Saukhockey.info wants to wish all three college athletes the best of luck in their upcoming season. Hopefully, local female players watch and see the opportunity to play hockey at the college level is reachable by local athletes.

 

WIAA Sectional playoff brackets set

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

All four area schools had at least one game added to their respective schedules Sunday (January 25) with the release of the WIAA Sectional Brackets for this spring.

As expected, Sauk Prairie drew the best seed of the local crew, set at #3 in the group, behind only the Madison Edgewood Crusaders and Verona Wildcats. Those three will draw a first round by along with number four Onalaska and number five Waunakee who will play each other in the Regional finals round.

The RWD Cheavers were granted the sixth seed and will open the post season at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the 11th ranked Middleton Cardinals. Winner of this match will advance to play at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) two nights later.

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will also get a first-round home game at Pierce Park Pavilion, also on Feb. 2 and also against the Cardinals…but out of Sun Prairie. Winner of this contest will draw a tough assignment, moving on to play the top seeded Edgewood Crusaders.

For the Badger Lightning, the six-team Sectional pool (Section 3) will begin play on February 4. The Badger Lightning have looked better each time it hits the ice, but unfortunately, that has not converted to wins and as a result, the Lightning, looking for its first playoff victory since 2012 will be placed as the sixth seed, traveling to Onalaska for its opening round contest against the Hilltoppers.

Ironically, the Lightning faces the same team tonight (Jan. 25)  at Pierce Park Pavilion so it will be interesting to see if coaches hold cards close to their chest in this one.

Following is a closer look at the first-round matchups.

 

RWD (10-6) vs. Middleton (0-3-1) – The Cardinals are generally among the favorites in this Section, but have possibly seen players jump to junior or AAA squads this season as the team played just a handful of contests and none at Capitol Ice in Middleton.

The two teams have met twice in the past, the Cardinals capturing a 3-2 win in the first meeting in the Fall of 2017 at Capitol Ice while the Cheavers collected a 2-1 win at RACA in February of 2019.

On paper, this is a tough match for the Cheavers against another opponent accustomed to deep playoff runs, but this year is a strange one and the Cardinals simply haven’t played enough games for a higher ranking.

Last year the Cheavers won its first-round game with a 1-0 shutout against Monroe, then dropped a heartbreaker to Edgewood in the second round, the winning goal in a 2-1 win coming in the final minute of the contest.

Middleton captured a 7-2 first round win against Tomah/Sparta but were ruled ineligible for the second round, Tomah/Sparta getting the spot instead.

Baraboo/Portage (7-10) vs. Sun Prairie (0-1) – The only game registered for the Cardinals this season is a 5-0 loss at Beaver Dam suffered on Saturday. The team is scheduled to play three times this week including twice (tonight, May 25 and Wednesday) at RACA against Waunakee and Middleton respectively.

These teams have never crossed paths, at least in the Baraboo/Portage history which goes back to 2010.

Last season the Thunderbirds drew the same seed and dropped a heartbreaker 3-1 against Madison Memorial at Pierce Park Pavilion while the Cardinals drew a first round bye and defeated Sparta/Tomah in the Regional finals before dropping a 3-2 edge in Sectional semis against Edgewood.

 

Badger Lightning (2-9-0) @ Onalaska Hilltoppers (2-3) — The Lightning faces a tough task entering the post season at the Omni as the team has not won a post season contest since the spring of 2012 and have never beaten the Hilltoppers, going back to the 2011-12 seasons. They have played at least once every season and twice a couple times, Onalaska winning by an average score of 6.72-2.09.

Teams meet tonight (Jan. 25) at Pierce Park Pavilion which will give a preview of what is to come. Lightning have looked better of late, limiting opponets to four goals or less in the past three games, but a tough 3-2 loss on the weekend at Brookfield has be considered a setback as the Lightning beat the same team 5-2 at Pierce Park in the second game of the season.