By Jim den Hollander
Talk about a team effort!
The RWD Cheavers wrapped up its second straight and fifth overall Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic Dec. 30 with the best effort of the season so far from every player involved in a 5-2 win against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders.
As a result, the team allowed the game’s first goal 33 seconds in, then scored five of the next six for a dominant 5-2 win and a platter full of Monk’s Cheeseburgers.
The Championship game brought together the same two teams as last year—a game won 6-0 by the home side. In between through, the Red Raiders collected a 3-2 win in the season opening contest with wide 36-15 edge on the shot clock.
This time around, the Cheavers held a one-shot edge in all three periods on its way to a 31-28 total. Teams were even at 1-1 and 2-2 after the first two periods respectively, the Cheavers showing itself to have a little more in the gas tank heading into the third period of the game and ninth period in a 48-hour stretch.
Senior C.J. Pfaff sank his first of a pair of third period goals early in the final period to put the Cheavers in front to stay, but a major penalty infraction a short time later gave the home side another challenge to overcome.
A short time later though on the kill, Pfaff found junior Caden Brandt that sent him on an end-to-end rush and a flip shot over the stick of Rapids’ goaltender, senior Dakota Blasky to pad the lead and add a little insurance.
Pfaff added a clincher a short time later, his third point of the period, unassisted after picking off a cross ice pass in the offensive zone.
Sophomore Brady Baldwin fired the team’s first period goal, from senior Tomas Kordorfer and Brandt notched his first of two in the middle period from senior Trevor Slaght.
Senior Cooper Oakes picked up the win in goal but was forced to the bench with a little under four minutes to play after cracking the blade on one of his skates. That allowed freshman Alex Griebe a chance to make his varsity debut on a grand stage.
Griebe, currently riding a four-game shutout streak as the junior varsity goaltender, teammed up with his mates to keep the crease clean four the final few minutes, triggering the celebration.
Solid play at this tournament is often used as a trigger to a big second half for the Cheavers. This season the Cheavers have flirted with the .500 mark, just under or just over, but the three wins at the Lake Delton Ice Arena has the team riding a five-game winning streak with a record of 9-5 heading into 2022.
The second half begins with a non-conference test against the Waupaca Comets (7-5, 2-1 Great Northern) at the Waupaca Expo Center Tuesday (Jan. 4) at 7 p.m.
Next home game will see the team returning to Badger West Conference play against the Oregon Panthers (9-5, 3-2 Badger West). The same two teams met in Oregon on Dec. 14, the host Panthers collecting a 5-1 win.