Peewee Cheavers overcome rough start

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers entered the 2021-22 Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA) campaign through a gauntlet of tough opponents.  

As a result, the team took its share of lumps with five losses and a tie through its first six contests. But a key win against the regional rival has turned things around.  

The Cheavers avenged a 4-2 loss on home ice against the Sauk Prairie Flyers on Nov. 6 with a 2-1 edge against the same team at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) a week later and a pair of lopsided wins Nov. 14 has the peewee squad riding a three-game winning streak. 

The games against the Flyers have appeared on Saukhockey.info earlier. Following is a quick wrap on the other seven games in the order they were played. 

Verona Wildcats 8, 5 @ RWD Cheavers 1, 1  

The Cheavers opened the regular season on Halloween weekend with a pair of games against the ‘A’ Wildcats.  

After dropping an 8-1 decision early on Oct. 30, the same two teams returned to the ice later the same day and while the Wildcats won again, the Cheavers trimmed the margin a bit. 

Dayne Wagner scored the lone goal in both games, gaining satisfaction of shattering the shutout bid of Brooke Terrien just 67 seconds from the final buzzer in the opener. 

Andrew Stando collected an assist in the second game and Jesse Arnold picked up 20 saves in goal in both contests.  

McFarland Spartans 1 RWD Cheavers 1  

On Halloween Sunday, the Cheavers engaged in a tight defensive battle with the visiting Spartans.  

Ian Boresh fired the only shot of 23 to get by Arnold in the second period but Landen Uminski pulled it back for RWD in the third with an unassisted goal.  

RWD Cheavers 2, 0 Dubuque Fighting Saints 10, 10 

The Fighting Saints feasted on the Cheavers on Nov. 7, taking a 10-2 win the first game at Mystique Ice Arena and following it up with a 10-0 shutout. 

RWD carried a 2-1 lead out of the opening period in the first game and were even at 2-2 with a period to play before the home side exploded for eight third period markers. 

Tyler Krieski scored both RWD goals, Uminski collecting an assist on the first one. 

RWD Cheavers 7, 9 @ Black River Falls Tigers 4, 3  

Following its win at Sauk Prairie, the Cheavers made the trip to Black River Falls on Nov. 14, taking a pair with a 7-4 win in the opener and 9-3 in the getaway game. 

RWD was up 4-1 after a period in the first game, and 6-3 heading to the third, both teams adding one more down the stretch. 

Uminski paced the squad with three goals and an assist, Ethan Wilcox adding a goal and a helper and other goals for Dietl, Stando and Krieski. Arnold collected the win with 18 saves. 

The second game saw the Cheavers open with a four-goal first again, this time carrying a 4-0 cushion to the second and up 7-1 heading to the final frame. 

Uminski wrapped up a seven goal, eight-point day with four goals, Ethan Pope adding two goals and a helper. Wagner notched a goal and assist with other goals for Krieski and Wilcox. Teaghan Geffert set up one of the goals and Arnold added another win with 24 saves. 

The 3-5-1 Cheavers enjoyed a rare weekend off this past weekend and will look to build on its winning streak hosting the Viroqua Blackhawks for a pair of games Sunday at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Peewee A Flyers pound Jr. Knights

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

After dropping a 2-1 decision to the RWD Cheavers early in the day, the Sauk Prairie Peewee ‘A’ Flyers made the Beloit Jr. Knights pay a heavy price later Nov. 13. 

The Eagles slammed home eight first period goals on its way to an 11-0 shutout win at Edwards Activity and Sports Center in Beloit against the host Junior Knights. 

Ryker Hovland, Alexander Kirk and Rowan Krauss scored two each for the Flyers and Braden Schlough notched a goal and two assists in the win. Baryn Macleish-Breunig and Michael Jolicoeur notched a goal and assist, and the other goals came from Logan Harrington and Gavin Froese. Caden Argall chipped in an assist. 

Jameson Ballweg collected the shutout win in goal.  

The win against the Knights got the Flyers back on the winning track and boosted the team’s overall record to 4-2. 

The team enjoyed this past weekend off and heads into action on the Thanksgiving weekend with a pair of games at Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) in Monroe at 9:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sunday against the host Avalanche

Uminski, Arnold lead Cheavers past Flyers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers avenged a 4-2 loss on home ice the previous weekend against the Sauk Prairie Peewee ‘A’ Flyers at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Nov. 13.  

It was the home team hitting the scoreboard first, Michael Jolicoeur hitting the mesh unassisted in the middle period.  

The lead lasted just 58 seconds through before Landen Uminski converted a pass from Hailey Dietl to knot the game at 1-1.  

That score carried into the third period, and it was Uminski again, this time unassisted with the game winner with 10:50 to play. 

Cheavers leaned hard on goaltender Jesse Arnold in this one as he stopped all but one of the 25 shots he faced as the Flyers held a 25-14 edge on the shot clock. 

Jameson Ballweg stopped a dozen in goal for the Flyers.  

Bucks and Pucks take over local ice arenas

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

For a second consecutive weekend, Ultimate Tournaments took ice time in all four Sauk County ice rinks for the initial running of the Bucks and Pucks tournament. 

In all, 33 teams from across the American Midwest competed in seven different divisions, wrapping up Sunday with 10 Championship games at the Mite, Squirt and Peewee levels. Below is a brief rundown on each division. 

MITE LOW AA/HIGH A 

A half dozen teams competed in ‘Red’ and ‘White’ Divisions wrapping up with finals for all six teams on Sunday (Nov. 21).  

The ‘White’ Division title went to the Junior Ice Dogs out of Vernon Hills, IL who matched a 5-0 win it also collected in round robin play against the Crystal Lake Stingers. 

The ‘Red’ Championship game was also a 5-0 final, the Northern Express Mites from Park Ridge, IL grabbing the shutout against the Team Iowa Renegades, widening the gap after a narrow 3-2  

The Consolation final was an all-Wisconsin battle, the Wisconsin Capitols collecting a 6-4 win against the Mitey Badgers.  

Vernon Hills Ice Dogs

MITE LOW B/HOUSE 

This four-team division saw teams playing round-robin matches Friday and Saturday and wrapped up Sunday with a 9-4 win for Northern Express against Team Iowa, wrapping up a perfect 4-0 weekend including a 6-1 win against the same Team Iowa squad earlier on the weekend.  The Consolation final went to the Crystal Lake Stingers with a 5-0 shutout win against the Ice Dogs.Tw

Northern Express

SQUIRT A 

This division included both a playoff semi-final and final on Sunday. The SHAW (Southern Hockey Association Wisconsin) drew a bye to the championship game with a tie and a win on Saturday and the Ice Dogs avenged an earlier 7-2 loss against Twin Bridges Lightning from the St. Louis area with a 4-3 edge in semis to grab the other spot in the final.  

SHAW collected a 7-3 edge in the Championhship game.  

SHAW Squirts

SQUIRT B 

Another six-team division with two championship games saw the Omaha Jr. Lancers and Glen Ellyn (IL) Admirals capturing the championship banners and hardware. 

The Lancers won two out of three leadup games to reach the final and captured the ‘White’ championship with a 5-3 edge against the Crystal Lake Yellowjackets. 

The ‘Red’ Division provided a championship thriller as regulation time and a five-minute overtime segment couldn’t decide a winner. 

In a shootout, the Admirals finally wrapped it up with a 2-1 margin against the Affton Americans from the St. Louis area. 

The Consolation final was won by the Twin Bridges Lightning with a 3-1 edge against the Waunakee Wildcats. 

Omaha Lancers

SQUIRT C 

This four-team division saw the Huskies Hockey Club from Romeoville, IL avenging an earlier defeat with a 4-2 doubling of Lady Liberty, part of the Affton Americans hockey group, in the championship game. 

The Liberty entered as the top seed, having defeated Huskies by a 2-1 margin earlier in the tournament.  

The Consolation final saw the Admirals collecting a 6-1 win against the Twin Bridges Lightning. 

Romeoville Squirt Huskies

Peewee B/WI Third team  

The Affton Americans rolled through round robin matches but rank into a tougher challenge from Milwaukee Winter Club in the championship game. Winter Club took the banner with a 4-0 shutout, avenging a 5-1 defeat earlier the same day. 

The Consolation final went to the Glacier (Vernon Hills, IL) Ice Dogs capturing a 5-0 shutout win against the Admirals.  

Milwaukee Winter Club Peewees

Peewee B2 

This six-team division wrapped up Sunday with a pair of championship games.  

The ‘Red’ final saw the Crystal Lake Yellowjackets wrapping up an undefeated (three wins, one tie) weekend with an 8-3 victory against the Huskies. 

The ‘White’ Division title went to St. Peters from the St. Louis area saving its only win of the weekend for the right time, a 2-0 edge against Milwaukee Winter Club with a 2-0 shutout. St. Peters collected two ties and a loss in round robin matches while Winter Club took top spot in the division with one win, one loss and one tie. 

Crystal Lake Yellowjackets Peewees
St. Peters Peewees

Season Preview — Badger Lightning

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

A slow but steady climb in the standings in recent seasons should continue as the Badger Lightning varsity girl’s hockey team moves a step closer toward a full lineup.  

The varsity squad will enter the 2021-22 season will a third line after playing last season with just two and a new pair of young but qualified defenders.  

Coach Rick Capener said in a recent interview (see YouTube video below) he is excited for the possibilities this season as the incoming players give the team, that inexplicably outplayed opponents in the final 17 minutes consistently last season, some depth to make the job a little easier.  

The team’s efforts were clearly noticed as Kayla Capener, then a sophomore was named to the all-State Honorable Mention group last season. She will form a potent pair along with senior Signe Begalske on what will likely be the team’s number one offensive unit. As of last week, the third member of that unit was still to be decided.  

Moving Elroy native Mallory Ruhland off that line should provide depth and consistency. She will be teamed with Lani Selje to create another potent offensive unit. 

Capener is still working on filling the third position on both lines.

With no seniors last season, the team is blessed with a rare 100 percent return this time around, including Begalske, defender Carson Blosenski and forward Emily Gunnel who will all carry leadership roles as the seniors this time around. The team held regular get togethers over the off season and hit the ice as soon as possible in Sauk Prairie, not just to scrimmage, but to work on drills and begin the bonding process, valuable for the incoming players.  

In goal, sophomore Alyssa Gada made a great debut between the pipes last season and Kaitlin Elder has made huge strides at the position as well.  

While the team proved its work in third periods last season, the comeback attempts often were made necessary by dismal starts. The Lightning lost games in the opening period frequently last season and that is an area Capener, and his charges know they must fix. 

The goal this season will be to once again bump up the win total and to provide a tougher challenge to Badger Conference opponents like the Cap City Cougars and Metro Lynx who they simply haven’t been able to compete with in the past.  

The Lightning will get an extra week of preparation as it doesn’t enter the WIAA fray until Saturday (Nov. 27) when it plays host to the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers for a pair of contests at Pierce Park Pavilion.  

Season Preview — Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds head into the 2021-22 WIAA varsity season with a solid group of senior leaders but Head Coach David Clark has had a tough time fielding a full roster in the early days of the season. 

Illness and injury have sidelined some key players at both forward and defensive positions, but Clark is hopeful this adversity will be over quickly. 

With the seniors, the original hope was to be a more competitive team this season, but Coach Clark, a former WIAA State Champion (with Arrowhead) said after a recent practice, his number one concern is to get a healthy group of players on the ice to provide a challenge (see Youtube video below). 

Thunderbirds are coming off an 8-11 season in 2021-21 and looking to improve to .500 and above with a solid group of returners.  

Senior Gabe Fitzwilliams was second on the team in scoring with 11 goals and 24 points in 18 games while Oliver Scanlan, another incoming senior, was close behind with five goals and 20 points.  

Luna Lavin, a rugged, physical defender has been a force since his freshman season, not only as rugged, punishing defener, but as an offensive presence. Last season he collected eight goals and 17 points in 19 games played. 

In goal, senior Andrew Schaetzl played in all but one game and won eight for the Thunderbirds last season. The other game saw Burke Schweda, a sophomore getting the start. Coach Clark said the pair are engaged in a healthy battle for the top spot in practices leading up to the season.  

Thunderbirds lucked out a bit on the schedule with players sidelined. While others will began play as early as this past Friday, the T-Birds will not play its opener until Saturday when it plays host to the Middleton Cardinals at Pierce Park Pavilion. Clark is hoping for a healthier lineup in time for that game. 

First conference match for the local squad will be Dec. 2 when it makes the trip to Oregon for new Badger West Conference rival, Oregon Panthers. 

The first meeting of the Thunderbirds and RWD Cheavers will take place Dec. 7 at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) 

Cyclones, Patriots spoil day for Dells Ducks

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Coming off its most impressive win of the season and second win in its past three games, the Dells Ducks rolled into the middle day of action at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase tournament at Merrimack College, North Andover, MA. 

What awaited them though was an ambush from the Cincinnati Cyclones and Potomac Patriots. The level of competition was stepped up in a big way and the Ducks took a pair of losses on the chin by a combined score of 18-2. 

Cyclones 10 Ducks 2  

First up was another early morning contest against the Cyclones, a new team in the Great Lakes Division with a solid group of offensive weapons, including league leading scorer Drake Barnish who played three previous seasons with the Hudson Havoc.  

Dells Ducks

Barnish added six more points to his total with three goals and three assists, Brendan Walk, another former Havoc player also racking up a half dozen with two goals and four helpers.  

The Cyclones outshot the Ducks by a 16-6 margin in the opening period and carried a 5-1 margin in to the middle period. 

Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL), the Ducks’ leading scorer, fired his second of the game and 17th of the season early in the middle period, but the final five goals all belonged to the Cyclones.  

Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Vista CA) continued a four-game points streak of his own with assists on both Glamkowski goals, other help coming from Jayden Tkaczuk (02/Channahon, IL) and Lucas Taylor (‘04/Chandler, AZ). 

Patriots 8 Ducks 0  

The road was no easier later Saturday when the Ducks hit the ice against the Potomac Patriots. 

The Patriots rolled into the contest buried in fifth and last spot in the league’s Southeast Division, a group that has laid claim to the league championship for the past half dozen seasons. 

Charged up by a win against the always powerful Hampton Roads Whalers the previous weekend, the Pats rolled to a big shutout win and nearly 50 shots against the Ducks.  

Despite a lopsided 13-4 edge in shots in the opening period, some standout work in goal (once again) from Drew Moseley limited the damage to a 1-0 Patriots’ lead. 

Potomac put up another three in the middle period and four more down the stretch.  

The Ducks, beginning the second half of the USPHL regular season with the Patriots, fell to 1-2 on the weekend and 3-20 in regular season play. The Ducks were hoping to wrap up a .500 weekend heading into Sunday and a final Showcase game against the Jersey Whalers. 

Season Preview — Sauk Prairie Eagles

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles head into the 2021-22 WIAA season looking to build off the success of its past two seasons.  

After reaching Sectional semifinals in the past two seasons, the Eagles had its progress impeded by the State Champion Verona Wildcats in the spring of 2020 and the same Wildcats who once against reached the State Championship game this past Spring. 

A few key members have moved on, but offensively, many of the key cogs are back for another run beginning Tuesday (Nov. 23) when the Eagles play host to the Onalaska Hilltoppers, a perennial contender as well.  

 The Eagles have solid leadership up front and on the blue line with key seniors such as Nick Mast, Erik Peterson and Micah Hanson at the forward position along with Hakon Peterson on the blueline along with junior forward Luke Mast and junior defender Ethan Tranel.  

In goal, the junior pair of Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney helped the team to a 12-1 regular season record in last year’s shortened season. 

The Eagles are looking to step into a higher level of competition beginning with the game against Onalaska, a team it faced off for the first time in regular season competition in January. 

The new Badger West is basically an even trade-off as the always tough Madison Edgewood Crusaders now become a division rival along with Oregon and Monroe while perennial conference championship contender, Waunakee Warriors slide into the Badger East along with Deforest and Beaver Dam. 

Regular season contests against Big Eight contenders Middleton Cardinals and Sun Prairie Cardinals will provide some tough challenges late in the season. The Eagles will also be taking part in the prestigious Culvers Cup holiday tournament (usually played out of both Hartmeyer Ice Arena and Madison Ice Arena) over the Christmas break. 

Some of the players took part in both spring/summer teams as well as Before/After squads including Team Wisconsin, so the Eagles should be strong out of the gate.