Varsity Cheavers bury Bluebirds in regular season finale

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers had one final test and passed with flying colors to check another box on its list of goals for the 2021-22 season with a 9-3 win against the visiting Janesville Bluebirds in its finale on Tuesday (Feb. 8). 

Before the season started, Head Coach Neil Mattson and his players set a goal of winning 18 games in its 24-game regular season. That sure didn’t seem likely when the team pulled into the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic at just over .500 with six wins and five losses. 

But a 14-1 stretch to wrap up the season helped the team check the box, grab a number four seed in the 14-team Sectional pool and gain some major momentum heading into what the team hopes will be a long post season run. 

The Bluebirds are no slouch, come into the game Tuesday with a 12-9 record and playing in the tough Big Eight Conference, but the Cheavers left no doubt which was the better team, outshooting its guest 52-21 including a dominant 26-5 edge in the middle period. That helped the team turn a 2-1 cushion after 17 minutes into a 7-2 margin by the start of the third. 

Offensively, four players collected four points in the contest. Junior Caden Brandt led the way with a four-goal game wrapping up a 26-goal, 46-point regular season. Junior John Scott added two goals and two assists, a total matched by senior linemate Tomas Korndorfer and senior C.J. Pfaff, the team’s leading scorer, set up four to finish a 49-point campaign.  

The other Cheavers’ goal came from sophomore Brady Baldwin, third member of the line with Korndorfer and Scott while Trevor Slaght, third member of the line with Pfaff and Brandt, collected two assists.  

Senior defenseman Grant Marsich also collected an assist and senior goaltender Cooper Oakes wrapped up an 18-win season, third best total in the state. A starter for RWD since his first game as a freshman, Oakes wrapped up his varsity regular season career with a 52-31-3 record with RWD goaltending records in almost every category. 

Next up for the local squad is the post season, beginning Tuesday (Feb. 15) at Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds.  

Between the first and second periods, the Cheavers seniors and sophomores paid tribute to their favorite teachers in a brief on-ice ceremony. 

RWD varsity seniors and sophomores honored their favorite high school teachers during a brief ceremony at Lake Delton Ice Arena between the first and second periods on Tuesday.
RWD varsity Head Coach (left) and Lake Delton Ice Owner Aaron Kirby (right) paid tribute to longtime fan, William Pettit before the start of Tuesday’s game at Lake Delton Ice Arena, presenting him with an RWD sweater. Pettit is a regular at the rink for almost every varsity and junior hockey game.
A surprise addition to the RWD varsity team this season was Tomas Korndorfer, a senior from Czech Republic attending Wisconsin Dells High School as an exchange student this season. Korndorfer centers a high octane offensive line with junior John Scott and sophomore Brady Baldwin.
Head Coach Neil Mattson and his players set a pre-season goal of 18-wins this season and the team reached that goal winning 14 of its final 15 games.

Bluebirds spoil awesome JV Cheavers run in finale

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD junior varsity squad wrapped up its 2021-22 season with its first loss since early December, falling 6-2 to the Janesville Bluebirds JV squad at Lake Delton Ice Arena Tuesday (Feb. 8). 

The visiting Bluebirds scored the lone goal of the first period, but senior Malachi Strompolis/Salama pulled the Cheavers even just 19 seconds into the middle frame, from senior Carter Scully and junior Nate Stando.  

The Bluebirds pulled away to stay five minutes later with its first of three second period markers.  

Thoughts of a third period rally were erased when Janesville buried a shorthanded goal in the sixth minute of the final period and added another goal with 5:09 to play. 

The Cheavers collected the final goal, first year Kaden Uminski hitting the mesh with help from Strompolis/Salama and Mark Othmer. 

The junior varsity team deserves credit for putting together an unbeaten stretch that lasted two months, Tuesday’s loss to Janesville just the third time, the JV Cheavers didn’t win or draw this season.  

The team faced adversity late as first year goaltender who at one point helped the team to 17-consecutive shutout periods, was lost due to injury. A revolving door of skaters volunteering to don the pads followed and while some turned in surprisingly impressive efforts at the new position, the team played extremely well in front of them as well.  

Patrolling the blue paint in the finale was first year forward Tristan Edgerton who stopped 14 shots for the Cheavers.  

Schaetzl stops 51 for T-birds but its not quite enough

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo Thunderbirds got a standout effort in goal and came up with one of its best offensive nights as well but fell just short against the visiting Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Feb. 8) night. 

Thunderbirds came up with 30 shots in the game, one of its best totals this season, but counted heavily on senior Andrew Schaetzl in goal who stopped 51 of 54 Avs’ shots to keep it close.  

Schaetzl stopped 19 of 21 in the opening period to allow the Thunderbirds a chance to come out of the opening 17-minutes down just 2-1 despite a 21-7 edge on the shots board for the visitors. 

Juniors Tanner Bass and Ethan Meyer scored 11 seconds apart to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead early in the contest, but Thunderbirds senior Oliver Scanlan converted a feed from senior Gabe Fitzwilliams to cut the lead in half later in the period.  

First year Avs’ forward Casey Keane restored the two-goal margin early in the second period but once again the T-Birds cut into the lead, this time Fitzwilliams pulling the trigger with an assist for sophomore Carson Zick. 

Teams battled through an even third period, the Avalanche with a narrow 14-13 edge in shots, the final one an empty net goal for junior Evan Johnson nine seconds before the final buzzer.  

Thunderbirds fell to 4-19 with the loss to the Avalanche who boosted its own record to 9-14. 

Thunderbirds will play one final regular season game Thursday in Waupun against the host Warriors on Thursday (Feb. 10) before opening the post season on Tuesday in Lake Delton against the RWD Cheavers.  

Eagles make a winner of Anderson in first varsity start

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles wrapped up a win in its penultimate regular season contest, tripling Tomah/Sparta 6-2 at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Feb. 8) night. 

The Eagles started slow, scoring once in the second half of the opening period, but even at 1-1 early in the second.  

Three goals in six minutes sent the Eagles to a 4-1 second period cushion. Tomah/Sparta gave themselves a glimmer of hope early in the third period making it a two-goal game, but the Eagles notched two more to pull away down the stretch.  

After a seven-point game the previous night in Monroe, junior Luke Mast added another four with a goal and three assists, senior brother Nick Mast and senior Erik Peterson rounded out the top line, both adding two goals and an assist. 

Senior Micah Hanson added the other goal and an assist for the Eagles, other set ups coming from senior Brody Wolfe, junior Ethan Tranel and sophomore Karsyn Banta.  

Sophomore goaltender William Anderson got his first varsity start and made it a win with 13 saves. Meanwhile, junior Jake Berry took the loss despite kicking out 44 shots in goal for Tomah/Sparta. The Eagles’ final goal was into an empty cage. 

The win pushed the Eagles to 17-4 on the season and they will wrap it up with one last conference test against the currently undefeated (in Badger West) Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Thursday (Feb. 10) at SPARC. 

Hilltoppers dominate Lightning again at Pierce Park

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Onalaska Hilltoppers continued its domination of the Badger Lightning varsity hockey team with an 8-0 win at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Feb. 8). 

The Hilltoppers also defeated the Lightning 7-0 at the Omni Center in Onalaska earlier this season and have won 14 in a row against the local squad dating back to 2012. 

The Lightning has turned in some solid efforts against teams that have had their number this season, including a recent game with the Cap City Cougars that went to overtime, but the Hilltoppers dominated the host team from the opening faceoff in this one.  

Sophomore Madchen Ewig took a turn in the blue paint with regualar goaltender Alyssa Gada unable to play. Ewig was easily the busiest player in this game as the Hilltoppers outshot the Lightning 45-15, including a massive 22-3 edge in the middle period when they turned a 2-0 cushion into a comfortable 6-0 margin.  

Senior Kiya Bronston enjoyed a two-goal, five-point game for the Hilltoppers and senior Lydia Walz also fired a pair. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 8-13 in regulation period and extended its current skid to four games. The Lightning will wrap up its regular season Friday playing host to the Medford Raiders at Pierce Park Pavilion. The Lightning played the Raiders twice at an event in Beaver Dam, Jan. 29 winning both. 

Mast brothers dominate Cheesemakers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles made the trip to Monroe’s SLICE Arena worthwhile, collecting an 11-2 win against the host Cheesemakers in Badger West conference action on Monday (Feb. 7). 

The host Cheesemakers hit the board first, but the Eagles responded with three before the end of the first period and five more unanswered goals in the middle frame.  

The Cheesemakers hit the board first again in the final period, but the Eagles piled on another three before the final buzzer sounded and dominated the contest overall with a 49-13 edge in shots on goal.  

Junior forward Luke Mast enjoyed another huge game for the Eagles, scoring five and setting up another pair while senior brother Nick Mast fired three and assisted on another and rounding out the team’s explosive first line was Erik Peterson with a goal and five helpers. As a unit, they combined for a 17-point night at the office. 

Sophomore Thor Peterson scored and added two assists, junior Ethan Tranel scoring the other Eagles’ goal and senior defenseman Hakon Peterson collecting three assists. Seniors Porter Kreul and Micah Hanson had assists as well along with sophomores Colin Harrington and Karsyn Banta.  

The Cheesemakers had two goals from sophomore Cole Buholzer. 

In goal, junior Brooks McInerney collected the win with 11 stops. 

The Eagles boosted its overall record to 17-3 with the win and the team will be back in action Tuesday (Feb. 8) with a non-conference test at SPARC before wrapping it up two nights later with one last shot at knocking off the undefeated (in Badger West Conference play) Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

The Cheesemakers fell to 2-20 in regular season action and finished a winless (0-10) Badger West campaign with one more regular season contest at home to the DeForest Norskies on Friday (Feb. 11).

Schweda makes it difficult, but JV Cheavers prevail

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD junior varsity Cheavers made the trip to Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo Monday, rallying back from an early deficit for a 3-1 win in the penultimate game of the regular season. 

Burke Schweda in goal for the Thunderbirds was unbeatable through the first half of the contest, allowing a goal by junior Kyle Buelow in the first period to stand up as the lone goal in the contest until a 200-foot rush by sophomore Iszak Elder pulled the Cheavers even 88 seconds from the end of the second period.  

First year Nathan Gneiser picked up an assist on Buelow’s goal, the only shot to elude Mark Othmer, taking his turn as the goaltender for the night in the Cheavers’ cage. Elder’s was a solo effort. 

Junior Conner Putz put RWD in front for the first and only time with the game winner 3:35 into the final period from junior Nate Stando and first year Carter Renneberg.  

A solo effort from Kaden Uminski about five minutes later added some insurance for RWD won took the win and continued a string of wins that goes back to its first meeting with Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Dec. 3.  

The Cheavers will wrap up its junior varsity season on Tuesday (Feb. 8) against the Janesville Bluebirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena.  

Arnold stops 31 to lead Cheavers past Eagles

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

After qualifying to reach the championship game with a 10-3 win the previous day against the Monroe Avalanche, the RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers punched its ticket to the WAHA Peewee 3A State Championship tournament with a 3-1 win against the host Sauk Prairie ‘A’ Flyers at SPARC on Sunday (Feb. 6) afternoon. 

Cheavers 10 Avalanche 3  

The three-team regional pool had a semi-final Saturday at McFarland, the Cheavers advancing with the lopsided win. 

The game was all but over after the opening 15-minute period as the Cheavers held a 7-1 edge. A 2-1 margin through the second had them up 9-2 and both teams added one in the final frame.  

Ethan Wilcox led the way for the locals, firing four goals and adding an assist, Landen Uminski scoring a hat trick and an assist while Tyler Krieski notched two goals and set up another. The other Cheavers’ goal came from Evelyn Gurney with single assists for Teaghen Geffert and Noah Backeberg.  

Jesse Arnold collected another win in goal with 13 saves and the Cheavers held a 39-16 edge on the shot clock. 

Cheavers 3 @ Flyers 1  

The win advanced the Cheavers to an all-Sauk County championship game at SPARC Sunday and Arnold came up huge in that one, kicking out all but one of the 32 shots he faced, including 14 down the stretch from a desperate Flyers’ team that threw everything it had at the Cheavers goal.  

After a scoreless first period, all four goals came in the middle stanza, Michael Jolicoeur opening the scoring in the fifth minute for the Flyers with an unassisted goal.  

Uminski evened the score, from Wilcox a short time later and it was Geffert burying the game and regional championship winner with 6:50 to play with assists for Uminski and Wilcox.  

Kreski’s unassisted goal 100 seconds later added some insurance but this one had a long way to go to reach the finish line.  

The peewee Cheavers will advance to the WAHA Peewee 3A State Championship tournament March 12-13 at Somerset. The entire field was filled on Sunday and the first game for the Cheavers at 11 a.m. March 12 will be against region 1 champions – Amery Warriors. More details on the tournament will appear in the days leading up to the opening game.  

Members of the Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers celebrated its WAHA Region 4 Championship and berth in the WAHA State 3A Peewee Championship tournament. Pictured from right to left are: Evelyn Gurney, Dayne Wagner, Ethan Wilcox, Jesse Arnold, Noah Backeberg, Landen Uminski, Hailey Dietl, Teaghen Geffert, Tyler Krieski, Ethan Pope. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.