By Jim den Hollander
After qualifying for the WAHA Bantam 3A State Championship a few weeks earlier, the Sauk Prairie Bantam ‘A’ Flyers gave a preview, collecting a championship banner at the final Ultimate Tournaments event of the season, the Dairyland Classic.
Playing in a three-team pool, the Eagles earned a bye to the championship game with a 6-1 win against the Rice Lake Youth Hockey Friday team and a 5-2 edge against the Sheboygan Lakers Saturday afternoon. The Lakers won a semi-final game to move into the other Championship spot and provided a tougher challenge Sunday afternoon before the Flyers captured the banner with a 5-4 edge.
Flyers 6 vs. Rice Lake 1
It was a rare event Friday night as the bantams opened at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) but occupied the visitor’s bench in the home barn.
Landon Froese kicked off a great weekend with two goals in his first game of the weekend, matched by Ben Hanko while Quinn Payne scored once and set up two others.
Josh Mast fired the other goal and adding an assist with other help coming from Brock Hill and Blayze Caldwell.
Taitym Banta notched the first of three weekend wins stopping all but one of 16 shots against.
Flyers 5 vs. Lakers 2
Froese fired all five goals in this one, including the lone goal of the opening period and two more in the second to carry a 3-1 lead into the final frame.
Hill and Payne chipped in an assist each and Banta added another win although shots on goal were not recorded in the contest.
Flyers 5 vs. Lakers 4
In the championship game Flyers and Lakers were even at 1-1 after the opening period and 3-3 heading to the third.
The Flyers fired the first two of the final period, the second standing up as the game winner.
Froese collected three more goals to wrap up a 10-goal, weekend Payne notching a pair and setting up another. Hill had three helpers and Banta picked up another win with eight saves.
Flyers 4 Cheavers 2
Earlier, the Flyers clinched its spot at the WAHA Bantam 3A State Championship with a 4-2 win against the RWD Bantam Cheavers in the Region 4 Championship game.
As the top seed, the Flyers earned a berth straight to the final while the Cheavers used a 2-1 shootout win against Monroe to claim the other spot.
All of the scoring took place in the first two periods. Teams were even at 2-2 heading to the second where the Flyers fired a pair of unanswered goals to clinch the win.
Froese fired two goals including the regional championship clincher in the second period and assisted on another.
Hill added a goal and assist with the other goal scored by Mast.
For the Cheavers, RJ Manley scored one and set up the other, by Nicholas McPherson.
Banta enjoyed a big game stopping 35 shots to help his team grab the win despite being outshot 35-23.
Jordan Kowalski stopped 19 shots in goal for the Cheavers.
With the win, the Flyers qualified to represent Region 4 at the WAHA State Championship tournament March 5-6. More information on that event will appear on this page in the next few days in one of several state championship weekend previews.