By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Tuesday’s home game wasn’t a win, but a clear sign, the Badger Lightning is knocking on the door of becoming a mid-pack team in the Badger Conference. 

Playing a rare home night in at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC), the Lightning dropped a 3-2 decision to the Viroqua Blackhawks who swept the season Badger Conference series after a 4-1 win in Viroqua in December.  

The win was also the 11th consecutive win for the Blackhawks against the Lightning, but following 6-3 and 11-3 losses to the same team a year ago, the local Co-op is clearly heading in the right direction.  

Teams were even at 1-1 after a period and 2-2 heading to the third, Blackhawks Junior Cadence Dehlin snaring the game winner with 2:36 to play in the contest.  

Junior Kayla Capener fired both goals for the Lightning, her 10th and 11th of the season while senior Signe Begalske, playing in front of her home crowd, set up both goals. Defender Eryn Benson also collected an assist.  

Juniors Leonie Boettcher and Rachel Simonson scored the other two Blackhawks’ goals.

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada stopped all but three of the 39 shots she faced as the Blackhawks held a 39-28 edge overall on the shot counter. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-9 on the season and extended its current losing skid to six games, going back to Dec. 21. 

The Lightning have nine games remaining on its schedule but will knock four off this weekend with two games each against Beaver Dam Golden Beavers and Medford Raiders in Beaver Dam. The team’s losing streak will almost for sure end in that stretch as well.  

Next home game for the Lightning will be Thursday (Feb. 3) when the Cap City Cougars pay a visit. 

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Nick Mast hatty enough to Eagles against T-Birds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles kept a long winning streak alive but got a strong push back from the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 25). 

The team’s hottest shooter of late, senior Nick Mast fired all three Eagles goals, the lone goal of the first period and two more in the middle period before Thunderbirds’ sophomore Carson Zick fired his team’s only goal late in the second period. 

Sauk junior Luke Mast collected a couple assists in the game with others for senior Erik Peterson and sophomore Steven Romaker.

Senior Oliver Scanlan and sophomore Dylann Carpenter picked up assists for the Thunderbirds.

T-Birds’ senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl stopped 29 of 32 shots he faced including all 16 thrown at him in the third period while Eagles’ junior goaltender Brooks McInerney picked up with the win with 10 stops. 

The Eagles’ extended its current winning streak to 11 games, dating back to Dec. 20 and boosted its overall record to 14-2 and its conference record to 5-2.  

The Eagles have five games remaining to play, beginning Tuesday (Feb. 1) when the RWD Cheavers, one of only two teams to defeat the Eagles this season, pay a visit to Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) at 7 p.m.  

Thunderbirds drop to 3-16 on the season so far and 1-7 in Badger West Conference play. The team will play a pair on the road, Thursday (Jan. 27 at McFarland) and Tuesday (Feb. 1) at SLICE in Monroe, before returning to the Pierce Park Pavilion to take on Madison Edgewood Feb. 4.  

Following those three games, the Thunderbirds will have two left on its regular season schedule. 

Wagner’s nine point day paces Peewee Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers stayed hot, rebounding from its first loss in seven games the previous weekend with 16 goals in two wins on a Mississippi Valley swing Sunday. 

After collecting a 9-4 win against the La Crosse Flames at Green Island Ice Arena, the Cheavers stopped at the Panther Den in West Salem on the way home, collecting a 7-2 win against the West Salem Panthers.  

Cheavers 9 @ Flames 4  

Six third period goals turned a close game into a cakewalk for the Cheavers who led 1-0 after a period and 3-2 heading to the final period. 

Tyler Krieski scored the first two for the Cheavers and ended the game with three goals and an assist. Dayne Wagner and Andrew Stando both scored twice, Wagner assisting on one and Stando setting up a pair. Ethan Wilcox and Teaghen Geffert both collected a goal and assist, and Ethan Pope also had a helper.  

Jesse Arnold stopped 17 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Cheavers.  

Cheavers 7 @ Panthers 2  

Wilcox donned the pads for the second game and kicked out 10 of 12 to pick up the win in goal.  

The Cheavers helped him out jumping into a 4-1 first period lead and extending the margin to 5-2 in the middle frame. 

Wagner, Landen Uminski and Geffert each fired a pair in the game, Wagner adding three assists to wrap up a nine-point road trip. Krieski scored the other and picked up an assist.  

The Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers have gotten hot at the right time, picking up wins in eight of 10 since putting up the 2022 Calendar. Overall, the team sits at 18-11-2. After a couple weeks on the road the team returns home for a busy weekend as it goes through final preparations before Regionals the following weekend. 

The team will play a rare game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena playing the Waunakee ‘B’ Wildcats at 9:30 to start a three-game day. The other two games, at 2 and 5 p.m. will be against the La Crosse Flames at Reedsburg Arena Community Arena (RACA). 

Sunday the Cheavers will play two more at RACA against at 10:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. against the Madison Patriots. 

Squirt ‘A’ Cheavers take second in West Salem

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Squirt ‘A’ hockey team rolled to a second place showing at a tournament in West Salem with a win, shootout loss and regulation loss along the way. 

After opening with a 7-2 win against the Waupun Warriors Saturday (Jan. 22), the Cheavers engaged in a thriller with the Iowa Heartlanders, who rallied late to tie it then captured a 5-4 win in shootout to break Cheavers hearts Saturday night. 

On Sunday, the Cheavers wrapped up play against the host West Salem squad who held off the Cheavers for a 3-2 edge. 

Cheavers 7 Warriors 2  

The opener saw a bit of a slow start for the Cheavers, even with the Warriors at 1-1 after a period but up 3-1 heading to a five-goal (4-1 Cheavers) third period.  

Briar Messer paced the Cheaver attack with a hat trick and an assist while Rainier Scott notched a pair of goals. Brayden Potter chipped in a goal and assist, and the other goal came from Jamison Haag. Jase Uminski handled the work in goal and earned praise from Head Coach Justin Messer in a post-tournament report for his stellar work between the pipes in all three contests.  

In the opening game, the Cheavers held a 28-7 edge in shots on goal. 

Cheavers 3 Heartlanders 4 (so) 

In its second game, the Cheavers carried a 3-1 lead out of the opening period but saw it trimmed to 4-3 in the middle frame. The Heartlanders struck for the only goal of the final period to send the game to overtime and a shootout where the Iowa squad fired the only goal.  

Scott notched the first two goals of the game for the Cheavers, both unassisted and the other two came from Cole Renneberg with help from Messer on the first one. 

Uminski kicked out 21 of 25 shots in the game as the Heartlanders held a 25-18 edge overall. 

West Salem 3 Cheavers 2  

On Sunday the Cheavers returned for a final contest and once again took control early with the lone goal of the first period off the stick of Haag, unassisted. 

All the remaining goals came in the second period, including the game winner fired in the final minute of the session giving West Salem its first and only lead of the contest. 

Cheavers’ second period marker also came from Haag on a feed from Renneberg. 

The weekend contests leave the team with an 11-10-1 record so far and this weekend, the final games of prep before the Regionals will see the team on home ice three times at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

On Saturday the Squirt Cheavers will take on the Madison Patriots ‘B’ at 3:30 and they will play twice on Sunday, against Waunakee Wildcats‘C’ at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.  

The RWD Squirt ‘A’ Cheavers celebrated a second place showing at a tournament in West Salem this past weekend. Cheavers players include (in no specific order) Jase Uminski, Caleb Backeberg, Cole Renneberg, Elliot Wilcox, Briar Messer, Brayden Potter, Nora Walker, Rainier Scott and Jamison Haag. Team Coaches include in back from left: Jeremy Backeberg, Head Coach Justin Messer, Nate Wilcox and Joe Uminski.

State conteding Lynx handle Lightning

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team entertained the Metro Lynx Monday (Jan. 24) at Pierce Park Pavilion and found out the talent level of one of the state’s top teams.  

Ranked in the state’s top six all season long, the Lynx grabbed a 4-0 first period lead and never looked back on its way to an 8-0 win. 

The Lynx went to work in the first period scoring three times in 1:58 in the middle of the period on its way to a 4-0 first period cushion, adding two more in the second and third frames. 

Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada was kept busy with a shots margin of 43-8 for the visitors. 

Pacing the Lynx was junior Anna Faulkner with two goals and an assist while senior Ally Jacobsen added a goal and two helpers.  

The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-8 in regular season play and 3-6 in Badger Conference contests. Next up for the Lightning will be a home Conference game against the Viroqua Blackhawks at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Jan. 25) followed by five straight road contests that will carry the team into February. 

The Lightning has a total of 10 games to play before the regular season ends on Feb. 11. 

Lightning returns from long layoff in Tomah

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team played for the first time in two weeks, playing host to the Black River Falls Tigers and falling 7-0 at the Mose Lamb Hockey Rink in Tomah Friday (Jan. 21). 

The host Tigers fired one goal in the opening period and piled on three more in both the second and third to clinch the win. On the shot clock, the Tigers held a 24-20 edge and the Lightning gained some consolation with a 9-7 edge in the final period.  

Sophomore Zowie Hunter paced the Tigers with two goals and two helpers.  

The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-7 in the regular season standing and extended the team’s current losing streak to four games. 

The Lightning will be on home ice Monday (Jan. 24) with a Badger Conference contest against the Metro Lynx, the conference’s top entry so far. With games postponed earlier this season, the Lightning has 11 games to play between now and Feb. 11. 

Mast’s third lifts Eagles past Panthers 6-5

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

By Jim den Hollander  

The Sauk Prairie Eagles collected a needed 6-5 win on the road in Oregon to keep its hopes of at least a share of the Badger West Conference alive on Thursday (Jan. 20). 

The back-and-forth contest saw the Eagles scoring first and up 2-1 against the Panthers after a period. Teams traded goals in the first half of the middle period but three goals in 2:59 had the host Panthers up 5-3 2:31 from the end of the middle stanza. 

The Eagles responded with two goals 23 seconds apart from seniors Micah Hanson and Nick Mast pulling the Eagles even in the final minute of the period. 

The lone final period goal was the game winner and third of the game for Nick Mast, scored unassisted 4:26 from the final whistle.  

Hanson also fired three goals, Mast adding a couple assists. Senior Hakon Peterson had two assists with twin brother Erik adding one and junior Luke Mast also picked up a helper.  

For the Panthers, junior Kyle Rohrer scored three goals and set up another to strengthen his state-leading points total to 85 while sophomore Andrew Jicha added two goals and two assists to stay second in state with 75 points. Jicha also leads the state in goals with 45. 

Nick Mast is seventh in points with 55 and Luke Mast rounds out the top 10 with 52. 

The Eagles held the edge in shots 33-29 and junior goaltender Kaden Stracke picked up the win in goal.  

The win was the 10th consecutive ‘W’ for the Eagles who improve its season record to 13-2 and its Badger West Conference record to 4-2. The Eagles have six games remaining on its schedule including the final game of the season against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Feb. 10. The Crusaders have yet to lose a conference match so the Eagles would need one other conference rival to step up before that finale to keep its hopes of a conference title alive. 

Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Baraboo’s Pierce Park Pavilion to play the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds on Tuesday (Jan. 25). 

Thunderbirds fall to Conference leading Crusaders

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds ran into the Badger West’s toughest opponent, making the trip to La Bahn Arena in Madison and absorbing a 10-0 loss at the hands of the Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

With a few weeks until playoffs, the Crusaders are a good bet to top the seeds in the Section and the senior-heavy Crusaders dominated the shot clock and the score sheet through the first two periods, building a 7-0 lead off a 27-7 margin in shots. 

The Thunderbirds gained some consolation with a more even 8-6 differential on the shot clock, but the host Crusaders tacked on three more goals in the frame as well.  

Seniors Matthew Schachte and Aidan Lenz both fired a pair for the Crusaders to pace the offense. 

The loss came on the heels of the first win in nine games for the Thunderbirds two days earlier and dropped the Baraboo/Portage squad to 3-15 on the season as well as 1-6 in Badger West Conference play.  

The two teams will meet again on Feb. 4 at Pierce Park Pavilion.

Next up will be conference home contest on Tuesday, Jan. 25 against the Sauk Prairie Eagles at Pierce Park Pavilion starting at 7 p.m., the first of the team’s final half dozen games of the regular season. 

Thunderbirds end skid against Viroqua

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds broke out of a long skid with a 6-3 non-conference win at Pierce Park Pavilion against the visiting Viroqua Blackhawks on Jan. 18.  

The T-Bird cranked up the offense firing a season high 48 shots against the Viroqua keeper while senior Andrew Schaetzl kicked out 28 of 31 in the Baraboo/Portage goal to help his team snap an eight-game losing streak and collect its first win in exactly a month. 

Blackhawks hit the scoreboard first and carried a 1-0 lead into the middle period before the home side scored three straight. However, two Hawks’ goals in the final three minutes of the period had teams even at 3-3 heading to the third. 

First year Nathan Gneiser scored the game winner 3:09 into the final period and he also ended up with a couple assists and sophomore Carson Zick picked up a set up on three goals. Juniors Kyle Buelow, Luke Schweda and Landon Olson had goals as well as seniors Gabe Fitzwilliams and Oliver Scanlan, both seniors also adding an assist. Senior Kyle Poole also had a helper in the contest.  

The win boosted the team’s overall record to 3-14 but the assignments ahead will be tough as the Madison West Division leading Madison Edgewood Crusaders are scheduled to entertain the Thunderbirds on Jan. 20 and the Sauk Prairie Eagles will be in town on Jan. 25. 

Oakes latest addition to Team Tracy

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Goaltender Cooper Oakes became the latest in a growing list of quality RWD varsity seniors to be honored by ‘Team Tracy’ on Jan. 20.  

Playing the final home game of the regular season at RACA (one more will be played at Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 8), the RWD Cheavers held a brief ceremony at the end of the opening period to present the ‘Team Trophy’ plaque, named in honor of Tracy Jones, a hockey enthusiast, youth hockey volunteer, coach, manager, and hockey parent who passed away after a courageous battle against Cancer, Dec. 22, 2015. 

Cooper Oakes accepts Team Tracy honor from RWD varsity Head Coach Neil Matson.

Oakes, known for much more than being a solid goaltender, is a popular figure with all RWD Cheavers fans for his efforts both on and off the ice, making him an obvious candidate for this honor.  

Oakes is the seventh player and second goaltender to collect the honor, following the first recipient of the award, Mike Olson (2015-16).  

The following season, Chris Jones, oldest son of Tracy was named for the honor in a season that saw him score 34 goals in 23 games, one of the highest single-season totals in the team’s 12-year history. 

Ben Horzewski was next to receive the honor, a solid contributing forward in all four years he played on the varsity team, Horzewski collected 69 points in 71 games with the Cheavers and currently sits 10th on the team’s all-time scoring list.  

In 2018-19, Ben Jones, another son of Tracy, was named as the winner in a solid senior season that saw him put up 22 points to wrap up a 50-point career with the team.  

In 2019-20, Thomas Pfaff was the team’s captain and leader, receiving the fifth spot on the plaque in a season that saw him put up 28 points to wrap up his own 86-point career, good enough for seventh spot on the overall list.  

Last season, Connor Schyvinck became the first defenseman to collect the honor. A great 200-foot player, Schyvinck finished his four-year run with 42 points, among the highest total for a blue liner. 

All six of these athletes impressed Head Coach Neil Mattson with their efforts in and out of the locker room.  

Oakes is four games from finishing an amazing high school run as a four-year starter in goal. His 14 wins this season rank him second in state behind only the 15 wins collected by Dante Desidero of the Waukesha Wings. He enters play next week with a 2.05 Goals Against Average and a .926 Save Percentage, both just a good game or two away from moving into the state’s top 10. 

A three-sport athlete, Oakes has said his primary spot is hockey and he is looking to continue to play, likely at the junior level and ultimately as a college athlete. 

Chris Jones on hand for the ceremony, said he was confident it would be Coop getting the award. Several years ahead of Oakes as a player, Jones said the young goaltender was no secret. 

“Cooper’s always been someone you knew about,” said Jones. “Growing up through youth hockey he was always a strong goaltender. I knew his dad through youth hockey and yeah, he has always been a strong hockey player. It’s no surprise he’s the player that won it tonight.” 

“I didn’t know he was winning it ahead of time, but kind of had a gut feeling that it would be him.” 

Jones recalls his big senior season with the team and modestly handed much of the credit to his linemate that currently leads all RWD scorers. 

“A lot of it comes down to who I was playing with,” said Jones with a chuckle. “I felt that I just kind of got into a zone and was able to find the net. Playing with Dylan Brown, he makes it real easy to play hockey.” 

Jones had a great touch though as a finisher and the two were perfect for each other. 

“Dylan could make any pass and he just told me to get to the net,” said Jones.  

Tracy’s own personal mandate was primarily to make sure everyone had a chance to play the game she loved, and this writer was lucky enough to be a co-coach with Jones for a season a decade ago. The team excelled at having a good time despite a long time between ‘W’s, which is what goes into this award. 

“Yeah, Sportsmanship, Character development, all that,” agreed Jones  

“I remember that season you coached with her, it was Squirt ‘B’ I think. I definitely remember that year and it wasn’t about wins and losses it was about making sure everybody was being coached and being developed as opposed to just going out there and trying to win games.” 

Jones graduated from UW-Madison with a Chemistry degree in December and was recently hired to a job in Verona doing pharmaceutical coding. 

He pulled out the skates for the first time in a couple seasons to play in the annual RWD Alumni tournament in December.  

“I would like to play more. COVID definitely messed things up for men’s leagues and stuff like that, but I would like to get out and play a little more.” 

The annual presentation of the ‘Team Tracy’ honor is a great excuse for Jones to see his alma mater in action again and of course, to honor his mother. 

“It’s always good to see the other players that have won it and just have that night to remember and be recognized.” 

Oakes joins the prestigious list now and hopefully will get a chance to make an annual visit as well as the list grows by one each season. 

Oakes is another player that Tracy would have been proud to cheer on at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena. 

Five of the seven members of ‘Team Tracy’ posed together during a brief ceremony held between periods at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena Thursday night. From left are Mike Olson; Thomas Pfaff; Cooper Oakes; Ben Horzewski and Chris Jones. Others not in attendance were Ben Jones and Connor Schyvinck.