By Jim den Hollander
The RWD Cheavers opened play at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic ready to defend its title and putting together what might have been its best 51-minutes of the season so far this season.
Led by a junior John Scott who fired his first varsity hat trick and 22 stops on 23 shots for senior goaltender Cooper Oakes, the Cheavers got by the River Falls Wildcats, a team they had never faced before.
RWD dominated the contest from start to finish, including a long stretch in the middle period played one or two skaters short. After a lackadaisical final five minutes of the second which allowed the Wildcats a chance to score its lone goal, the Cheavers responded with a renewed vigor in the final period, turning a 3-1 cushion into the 5-1 final.
Juniors Caden and Carsen Brandt had the set ups on the game’s first goal, scoring by senior C.J. Pfaff and Scott fired the other two first period goals, the first on a feed from senior Tomas Korndorfer.
The Cheavers re-established control with a 14-3 edge in shots through the final 17-, minutes and it paid off with goals from Scott and junior defenseman Logan DeMars.
Korndorfer collected assists on both third period goals and sophomore Brady Baldwin, the third man on the line with Scott and Korndorfer, also picked up one.
The first day of the tournament began with Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders collecting a 10-4 win against the La Crescent-Hokah Lancers, an independent Minnesota team.
Sophomore Carson Gause led the Raiders with four goals and two assists, first year Pagel Jax scored a pair.
In the second game, Noah Clemment turned aside all 29 shots he faced and junior Gavin Schuster scored four to lead the Onalaska Hilltoppers to a 6-0 shutout against the McFarland Spartans.
The third game was the closest of the day, the Kenosha Thunder holding off a late rally by Tomah/Sparta for a 2-1 edge. First-year goaltender Mark Michelson stopped 33 of 34 to lead his team to the win despite a massive 34-12 edge in shots for Tomah/Sparta who didn’t find a way past him until late in the final period.