High expectations for Cheavers in 2021-22

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity hockey team, representing Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Mauston High Schools is rolling into its 12th season as a co-operative squad and once again, the bar has been set high by Head Coach Neil Mattson and his charges.  

With a large group of seniors that have reached some lofty plateaus since they were young and a great supporting cast, the Cheavers appear to have all the bases – offense, defense and goaltending – covered heading into the season. 

Mattson and the Reedsburg Area High School Athletic Director Bryan Yager have worked to put together as tough a schedule as possible each season and the 2021-22 campaign will see the addition of teams like the Onalaska Hilltoppers, River Falls Wildcats, Eau Claire North Huskies and Ashland Oredockers while still maintaining the other already tough non-conference schedule. 

The realignment of the Badger Conferences will see Waunakee Warriors, Deforest Norskies and Beaver Dam Golden Beavers moving out while the always tough Madison Edgewood Crusaders, Oregon Panthers and Monroe Cheesemakers will join the Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and Sauk Prairie Eagles in what should be a difficult conference with no easy matches. 

Last season, the Cheavers put together an 11-8 regular season record in a tough season due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place. There was no official Badger Conference play, but there was a playoff schedule. After defeating the Middleton Cardinals in the opening round, the Cheavers fell in the Regional Finals to the Sauk Prairie Eagles.  

The team has been hit with a pair of injuries that will keep a pair of key players out of the lineup, but Mattson remains confident this team can overcome the adversity and move forward.  

Senior forward Trevor Slaght was injured on the biggest stage, as a member of the Janesville Jets 18U team playing and winning a USA Hockey National Championship in Green Bay in April. An ACL injury will sideline the speedy forward until at least January although he has been taking part in non-contact drills with the team since practices started last week. 

“He is a big asset to the offense when he returns,” said Mattson in a pre-season interview. “Trevor is one of the hardest working young men. He has the ability for next level and has been working very hard to return this season.” 

Also lost is junior defenseman Carsen Brandt who suffered a shoulder injury during the football season, requiring surgery that will have him sidelined for the entire 2021-22 hockey schedule. 

“He is going to be missed,” said Mattson adding he is one of the team’s top defenders. “But, thankfully, he will have his senior (2022-23) season. 

We have high expectations this season,” said the Coach. “Our mentality now is ‘next man up.’ We have a fantastic group of kids working hard this season.” 

To begin the campaign, the defense will likely include a group of five – Seniors CJ Pfaff, Ty Thompson and Grant Marsich along with sophomores Izak Elder and Mark Othmer, looking to carry the load with the loss of Brandt and the graduation of Schyvinck. 

Up front, it appears junior Caden Brandt and sophomore Brady Baldwin will stay together after teaming up with Ely last season as a potent trio. Junior Logan DeMars is penciled in as the third member of the unit this season.  

Junior John Scott, sophomore Trey Lariden and senior Tomas Korndofer are slated to play together as well with another line including junior Yevgeny Dedun, senior Mitchell Henke and junior Caleb Eastman will make up a line that will have as much responsibility on the defensive end as it does contribute to the offense.  

Senior Cooper Oakes will enter an already great run with the varsity team, five games shy of Tyler Arneson’s games played record (70) and he already holds the team records for wins (34); Shots (1,703), Saves (1,538) and Shutouts (9). The senior leader will also help in the grooming of freshman Alexander Griebe, who will take the torch in the future. 

The varsity team will hit the ice in West Salem for a scrimmage session Thursday with the host West Salem Panthers and Deforest Norskies. 

The Junior Varsity squad will kick off its season at RACA Monday (November 22) against Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and both teams will make the trip to Wisconsin Rapids to play the Red Raiders the following day.  

First home game for the Cheavers will be against the Onalaska Hilltoppers on Nov. 30. 

RWD Cheavers varsity players take a break from practice for a chalk talk from Head Coach Neil Mattson.

Ten champs at first Northwoods Showdown

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

While Ultimate Tournaments has a longstanding history in Sauk County, it was a new look event in town for the first time in the 2021-22 season this past weekend. 

All four Sauk County rinks played a part in the Mite-Squirt-Peewee event that saw 34 teams competing and ultimately whittled down to 10 championship games on Sunday in the first Northwoods Showdown Tournament. 

The difference this season is, while the same tournaments will be in the Sauk County area on the same weekends as they always have been, each tournament is now a standalone event as well. For example, the Northwoods Showdown will return next November so it will have its own unique history and traditions. 

Below is a quick look at the highlights for each division. 

Mite D2 Low/D3 High 

The six-team group was divided into a ‘White’ and ‘Red’ Division. After three games each, the Jr. Vipers out of Gurnee IL/Pleasant Prairie, WI captured the ‘Red’ Division title with a 2-0 shutout in the championship game against the Orland Jr. Vikes from the Chicago area, played at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. 

Gurnee/Pleasant Prairie Vipers

The ‘White’ Division title went to the Geneva Cyclones from the Chicago area with a 5-2 margin against the Pekin (IL) Dragons at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

Geneva Cyclones

The Wisconsin Jets captured the Consolation victory, outlasting another Jr. Vikes team in a 7-6 thriller at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo. 

Mite D3 Low/House League 

Another six-team group, this division came down to a pair of Championship games as well. 

The Geneva Cyclones and Highland Park Falcons battled through three exciting periods without settling anything in the ‘White’ Championship game before the Cyclones finally settled it with a 2-1 overtime victory.  

Geneva Cyclones

The ‘Red’ Division saw no goals through the first two periods, but a third period explosion led the Gurnee/Pleasant Prairie Jr. Vipers to a 4-1 Championship win. Both Championship games were played a the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). 

Gurnee/Pleasant Prairie Vipers

The Division’s Consolation final was won by the West Dundee Leafs with a 3-0 shutout against the Wisconsin Jets.  

Squirt Low A/High B 

This Squirt Division was divided into the Low A ‘Red Division and High B ‘White Divisions. 

On Sunday, the Meramec Sharks from the St. Louis area captured the ‘Red’ Division title with a 5-0 shutout against the Highland Park Falcons at RACA while the ‘White Division crown was won by Kirkwood Stars, also from the St. Louis area with a 5-2 margin against another Meramec team at Lake Delton Ice Arena. 

Meramec Sharks
Kirkwood Stars

The Consolation Final for the Division went to Twin Rinks Sharks from the Chicago area with a 5-0 win against Peoria (IL) Horsepower at RACA. 

Squirt B3/C1 

This four-team division saw the Wisconsin Jets team collecting the championship hardware as they doubled the Kirkwood Stars 6-3 at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and the Consolation honors went to St. Peters Spirit who edged the Affton Americans in an all-St. Louis area contest played at RACA. 

Wisconsin Jets

Squirt C 

The Siouxland Musketeers, from Sioux City, IA wrapped up a perfect 4-0 weekend with a 6-1 margin against the Kirkwood Stars on Sunday and Lake Delton Ice Arena and the Consolation honors went to Twin Bridges Sharks with a 2-1 win against the Meramec Sharks. 

Siouxland Musketeers

Peewee B 

Eagan (MN) Wildcats wrapped up a perfect weekend with a 5-0 win in the Peewee B Championship game against the Kirkwood Stars and Winter Club (Milwaukee) captured the Consolation title with a 2-1 edge against the Peoria Horsepower. Both games were played at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo. 

Eagan Wildcats

Peewee C 

A diverse division with four teams representing four states, saw the Omaha (NE) Hockey Club capturing the Championship with shutout win against the Verona (WI) Wildcats at and the Consolation battle went to the Geneva Cyclones with a 5-3 edge against the Kirkwood Stars. 

Omaha HC Peewees

Ultimate Tournaments will return to the local area again this coming weekend with the first version of the Bucks and Pucks tournament. 

Cartland’s pair not enough for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Dells Ducks carried momentum into the second game of a two-game set in Isanti, MN Saturday (Nov. 13) but a rough middle period was the difference in a 6-2 loss. 

The team, coming off its first win in two months the previous night was clearly riding high at the beginning of the rematch and built a 2-0 lead through the first 14 minutes.  

Both Ducks’s goals came from Jacob Cartland, the ‘02 from Mukwonago who was among the state’s leading varsity scorers last season. Caden Glamkowski set up both for yet another multipoint game. He has now collected 30 points in 20 games, ranking him among the top 20 in the 64-team USPHL Premier League. 

Jayden Tkaczuk also picked up an assist for his 20th point, one more than he collected last season when he led the team in scoring. Defenseman Jack Kopstein had the other set up, his third of the weekend. 

Cartland’s second goal gave the Ducks its first two-goal lead of the season but it didn’t last long. Jared Petty got the Mallards on the board just 11 seconds later.  

The Ducks carried the 2-1 cushion into the middle period after staying even on the shot clock with 11 apiece. The Mallards dominated the second period though, scoring four unanswered goals and dominating the Ducks to the tune of 20-6 on the shot clock.  

The weekend series saw the Ducks hit the 20-game mark on the season and they will cross the halfway mark this weekend when they travel to Merrimack College in Andover, MA for the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase, playing four times against teams from other USPHL Premier Divisions, the final games before the team’s Thanksgiving Break. 

Moseley backstops Ducks’ win against Rum River

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

When team snaps a losing streak, it is often said they have shaken a monkey off its back. 

The beast perched on the shoulders of the Dells Ducks was evicted as the Ducks earned a 5-4 overtime win against the Rum River Mallards at Isanti Ice Arena against the Rum River Mallards Friday (Nov. 12) night having been there for 15 games.  

After climbing off the team’s collective shoulders, he returned to his regular job, swatting at jets and helicopters from the top of the Empire State Building. 

A still short-staffed Ducks team hit the road for two games in Isanti in what might seem like an easy weekend after playing three of more games in each of the previous three weekends. They will begin another four-game weekend Thursday. 

The team collected its second win of the regular season, shrugging off its lack of numbers and taking the game to the same team that defeated the Ducks 13-4 at the Lake Delton Ice Arena in the opening game of the season in September.  

Routinely doubled, tripled or worse on the score sheet, the Ducks battled hard Friday night and held the edge in shots for the first time in 19 games this season, holding a 35-34 margin. 

The win in goal was recorded by Drew Moseley who patrolled the crease for the Mallards last season. It was his first win as a Duck and couldn’t have come on a better time. 

The shots edge came when Caden Glamkowski buried his team leading 14th goal of the season with the only shot of the overtime period, helped by Jack Kopfstein and Jayden Tkaczuk. 

Both Glamkowski and Tkaczuk wrapped up the game with a goal and three helpers, Kopfstein setting up a pair. The other goals were all the first as a Duck, by Kai Neumaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL) along with Anthony Tuccitto (‘02/Inner Grove Heights, MN). Tuccito has been with the Ducks a short time and played for the Mallards last season. Defender Gage Senio (‘04/Red Deer, AB) scored the other in his first game on the Ducks blueline after starting the 2021-22 season with the Florida Eels. 

Bryce Jacobsen and Thomas Howell both collected assists as well for the Ducks.

The Ducks were scheduled to stay in Isanti for a second game Saturday night and attempt to start its first winning streak of the campaign.