By Jim den Hollander
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.