Cheavers, T-Birds and Eagles hit the ice on Tuesday

By Jim den Hollander  


Ready or not, here we go! 

The 2022-23 WIAA varsity season is already underway for one of the four Sauk County teams and the other three will all dive in on Tuesday. 

The lone home game will see the RWD Cheavers kick off the 2022-23 campaign against perhaps its biggest non-conference rival, the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders. 

For many, the rivalry goes back to youth campaigns. A larger community, Wisconsin Rapids is always a tough test for the RWD Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds or Sauk Prairie Flyers.  

At one time, the Red Raiders were in the same Sectional pool as the three locals and often, the favorite to move on to the state tournament. However, in recent seasons, the geography has changed a few times. Also, while in the past, teams aspired to play at the level of the Raiders, they are more of an equal competitor now. 

Almost always an opponent in the first few games of the season, the Rapids’ crew is always a valuable ‘W’ or a tough ‘L’ out of the gate. 

The varsity teams will meet Tuesday at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) with a 7 p.m. opening faceoff. 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles and Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will both open their respective seasons on the road Tuesday. 

The Eagle will make the trip to the Omni in Onalaska to face the Avalanche in their season opener. Last season the Eagles collected a 9-4 win against the Avs in their final test before Christmas. They meet up generally once a season and in the past eight meetings, the Eagles have wins in seven. 

Included on the Avalanche staff this season is assistant coach Ben Horziewski, formerly a player with RWD. In prevoius seasons former RWD goaltender Mike Olson has also served as a coach. 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will head to Hartmeyer Ice Arena in East Madison Tuesday to take on the Monona Grove Silver Eagles in their own season opener.  

The Lightning have played the Eagles in past but not since 2017. The Silver Eagles played their scrimmage matches Thursday at RACA against RWD and DeForest and boasted an impressive and big lineup. The Eagles own a 4-2 edge in its all time series against Baraboo/Portage. 

The Thunderbirds will play its first three games this season on the road including its Badger West Conference opener against the defending champion Madison Edgewood Crusaders Nov. 28. First home game for the T-Birds will be Nov. 29 against Tomah/Sparta. 


Second period flurry lifts Warhawks past Lightning

By Jim den Hollander  


The Badger Lightning varsity girls opened its regular season Saturday afternoon with a tough test at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.  

The first Sauk County team to take the ice in anger, the Lightning, made up of players from Baraboo, Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells, Sauk Prairie and Elroy High Schools came up short in a 6-1 loss against the Arrowhead Warhawks. 

The score didn’t indicate the effort in the contest as the Lightning, suddenly blessed with three solid lines and a capable group on the blue line and between the pipes, outshot their guests by a 26-24 margin. 

In the first period in particular the locals held a 12-6 edge in shots, but most of their opportunities were from 20 feet or further away and easily handled by Arrowhead junior Katie Friel.  

The Warhawks scored once in the opening period but put a stranglehold on the contest in a stretch of 2:31 in the middle period when they found the mesh four times, turning a 2-0 edge into a lopsided 6-0 decision.  

The Badger Thunder finally hit paydirt in the final minute of the period when a frantic scramble in front of Friel saw senior linemates Bella Bowden and Kayla Capener along with sophomore teammate Reese Olson all banging away at a loose puck on top of the crease before Bowden finally lifted it over Friel. 

The team looked solid in the faceoff dot with senior Mallory Ruland and sophomore Kayla Garbacz finding success throughout the contest.

Third period was played mostly in the middle of the ice, both teams adding just one more shot to their respective team total. 

Junior Alyssa Gada kicked out 18 shots for the Lightning who will go back to work and prepare for another home game Friday (Nov. 25 against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers, a team it has never lost to. 

Bella Bowden (1) gets a chance in close against Arrowhead goaltender Katie Friel. Behind the goal is senior forward Kayla Capener. — Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

JV Warhawks 8 JV Lightning 2 

Two seasons ago, the Badger Lighting varsity team consisted of two lines and the 2022-23 version not only opened the season with three solid lines of forward and defense, but enough extra players to schedule some junior varsity games this season.  

First-year Kyran Merrell, a defender collected both Lightning goals in the contest and Coach Capener also mentioned first year forwards Elizabeth Hagg and Emma Diehl for promising starts to the season as well while first year goaltender Claire Scates made her high school debut between the pipes. 

The jv squad will also be in action Friday against Beaver Dam and there is a junior varsity only match against conference rival Cap City Cougars in Madison early the following week. 

Kayla Capener (4) and Reese Olson work together against an Arrowhead player to grab a loose puck during action in the WIAA season opener for both teams at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo on Saturday. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Motown is mean town to Ducks Saturday

By Jim den Hollander  


After a promising start Friday, the Dells Ducks ran into a couple tough opponents Saturday at the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Detroit Showcase.  

Once again, goals were hard to come by for the Ducks who were shutout by the Motor City Gamblers Saturday afternoon and dropped a 5-2 decision against the Columbus Mavericks Saturday night, bringing the team to the halfway mark on its regular season. 

Dells Ducks

Gamblers 5 Ducks 0  

The Gamblers, formerly known as the Detroit Fighting Irish from the Midwest-East Division dominated the Ducks with a 37-17 edge in shots including a 16-5 margin in the first period.  

Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL) was beaten three times in that opening period but limited the Gamblers to just two more goals on 21 shots the rest of the way. One of the Gamblers’ goals came from Jayden Tkaczuk who played the previous two seasons with the Ducks and led the team in scoring in 2020-21. 

Mavericks 5 Ducks 2  

Saturday night, the Mavs opened the scoring with two goals 1:42 apart but Ducks’ defender Jack Kopfstein (‘05/Vista, CA) pulled one back later in the period with his eight of the season from Logan Potts (‘03/Allen, TX) and Mikel Ferran Cobo (‘04/Mexico City, Mexico). 

The Mavericks, from the USPHL’s Great Lakes Division, added another a few minutes later to carry a 3-1 lead out of the opening period and that stood up until the final frame when two more had the Mavericks up 5-1 before Kai Neumaier (‘03/St. Charles, IL) pulled one more back late in the contest.  

Anthony Falzone went to the blue paint for the second time on the weekend, facing 38 shots in the contest. 

The Saturday losses dropped the team’s overall record to 4-15-2-1 at the 22-game mark, leaving 22 to play in the regular season.  

The Ducks have one game left in Detroit, wrapping up the pre-Thanksgiving portion of its schedule today (Sunday, Nov. 20) against the Fort Wayne Spacemen from the Midwest-East Division.