By Jim den Hollander
The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds wrapped up its Badger West against the toughest team, the Madison Edgewood Crusaders wrapping up a 7-0 shutout win on Thursday at Pierce Park Pavilion.
The Crusaders clinched the first Badger West Conference championship with a lopsided win against the Monroe Cheesemakers Thursday (Jan. 3) then closed in on a perfect conference season with the win in Baraboo the following night.
Despite the loss, Andrew Schaetzl earned star honors, stopping 40 shots and allowing just three on 25 shots through the final two periods.
The Crusaders dominated the opening 17-minutes, scoring four unanswered goals with a 22-5 margin on the shot clock.
It was more of the same through the final two, but Schaetzl kept it respectable as the Crusaders rolled to a 47-12 edge on the shot counter.
The loss dropped the Thunderbirds to 4-18 in regular season play and wrapped up a 2-8 Badger Conference record, good enough for fifth place.
Thunderbirds will play its final home game Tuesday against the Avalanche Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Pierce Park Pavilion, wrapping up its schedule on the road in Waupun two nights later.
The Crusaders boosted its record to 9-0 and will look to close out a perfect first season in the Badger West at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Thursday night.