Crusaders find a way past Eagles for Badger West crown

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Looking to snap a nearly two-year long streak for the visiting Madison Edgewood Crusaders in Badger West Conference play and put themselves into the Conference championship picture, the Sauk Prairie Eagles had it all under control entering the final period Thursday (Jan. 19) at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). 

Eagles entered the game with just one conference loss, a 1-0 heartbreaker at LeBahn Arena in Madison on Dec. 3 against the Crusaders who have yet to lose a conference match since the Badger West division was created for the 2021-22 regular season. 

After a scoreless opening period, senior Luke Mast fired his 22nd goal of the season from junior Colin Harrington and freshman Landon Froese 50 seconds into the middle frame. Thanks in part to 17 saves from senior goaltender Kaden Stracke, that lead held up into the final period.

The goal lifted Mast into a share for the overall state points lead with 52j and he is second in state with 30 assists. Stracke is also ranked in the state’s top 10, his .918 Save Percentage seventh best.   

The Crusaders found a way to spoil the night for a packed crowd at SPARC, getting on the board 4:49 into the final frame on a goal by senior Michael Baer and then stealing the win with the game winner scored by freshman Owen Barnet just 3:35 from the third period horn.  

An early powerplay set the tone for the Eagles who looked dominant early in the final period but in the end, the Crusaders held a 16-10 edge in shots in the period and a 33-31 edge overall. 

The win all but clinches a second straight Badger West crown for the Crusaders who have three division matches remaining but sit at 7-0 while the Eagles have just one conference game yet to play and are equally as comfortable in second spot in front of the 5-4 Oregon Panthers and 4-4 RWD Cheavers. 

The Eagles will wrap up its conference schedule Tuesday (Jan. 24) at Monroe’s Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) and will finish the regular season with four non-conference tests. Next home game for the Eagles will be Friday against the Muskego Co-op Ice Force. 

Despite the loss, goaltender Kaden Stracke (shown here earlier this season against RWD) turned in another solid effort against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders and he is currently among the state’s best in Save Percentage. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Janecke’s pair leads Cheesemakers past Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Having racked up some wins since the Christmas Break, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds hoped to collect their first conference win and second in a row Tuesday but fell just short in a 2-1 loss against the Monroe Cheesemakers at PIerce Park Pavilion. 

Monroe junior Wyatt Janecke spoiled the night for the Thunderbirds, scoring both Cheesemaker goals including the game winner just 30 seconds from the third period buzzer. 

Janecke opened the scoring 6:45 from the end of the opening period but Thunderbirds’ senior Peyton Sloan responded 94 seconds later on a feed from freshman Jordi Beale. 

Junior goaltender Burke Schweda stood out again in goal for the Thunderbirds, keeping this one even until the final minute despite a 59-37 edge in shots for the visitors. A 36-save effort for Xander Obert of the Cheesemakers was not too shabby either. 

The Cheesemakers swept the season set with the Thunderbirds, taking the earlier meeting 4-1 at Stateline Ice Arena in Monroe Dec. 6.  

Thunderbirds will continue a busy week at Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday, taking on RWD in its next to last Badger West Conference game. They enter the contest winless in eight conference contests. Overall, Thunderbirds have six games remaining on the schedule. The next home game will be on Tuesday (Jan. 24) against McFarland Spartans of the Badger East Conference. 

Peyton Sloan (center — pictured in a game against RWD) fired the lone goal for the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Tuesday night, evening the score at 1-1 in the first period. The visiting Cheesemakers scored late to spoil the night for Baraboo/Portage 2-1. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Harrington, Mast lead Eagles past Cardinals

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Colin Harrington’s goal late in the middle period broke a 2-2 deadlock and lifted the host Sauk Prairie Eagles to an eventual 4-2 win at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center on Tuesday (Jan. 17). 

The Eagles scored the first two goals but the visiting Stevens Point Pacelli Cardinals evened it at 2-2 before the end of the frame, setting the stage for Harrington, an Eagles’ junior. 

Senior Luke Mast opened the scoring with an unassisted marker 20 seconds into the match and later set up freshman Landon Froese less than two minutes later to put the host side up 2-0. Junior Karsyn Banta also collected an assist on the second goal.  

Cardinals senior Mason Zielinski got his team on the board 20 seconds later and added another before the end of the period to pull teams even. 

Harrington’s goal came with 1:28 to play in the second period from Mast and Banta and insurance came off the stick of Mast, wrapping up a four-point night from Harrington 7:46 into the third period.  

Brooks McInerney kicked out 21 shots to collect the win in goal for the Eagles and Cardinals junior Carter Herheim stopped 43 shots.  

The Eagles improved its overall record to 13-3-2 and now will prepare for a huge home game Thursday against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders with the Badger West Conference championship on the line. 

Colin Harrington (left, #5) scored the game winner against the Stevens Point Pacelli Cardinals on Tuesday. This photo is from an earlier game against the RWD Cheavers. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Lightning show improvement against Coulee

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning bounced back from a sub-par effort in its previous game but it wasn’t quite enough against a tough Coulee Region Cyclones team on the road Tuesday (Jan. 16). 

The host Cyclones opened the scoring in the opening minute and rolled to a 4-2 win at the West Salem Panther Den. 

That opening goal, scored by first year Brooke Borkenhagen ended up being the lone score of the opening period and her Cyclones teammate, senior Jaden Hammes added another in the fifth minute of the second period. 

Senior Bella Bowden got the Lightning on the scoreboard with her goal just past the halfway mark of the period, from senior Mallory Ruland and sophomore Kayla Garbacz but the Cyclones restored the two-goal cushion with another for Hammes. 

Katelyn Allen got the Lightning within a goal again 90 seconds into the final period but it was Samara Collins wrapping up the scoring for the Cyclones about three minutes later.  

Alyssa Gada faced 28 shots in the contest compared to 13 against Coulee keeper Diana Hanson. 

The Lightning wil return to Badger Conference play Thursday (Jan. 19) in Beloit against the Rock County Fury. In their previous meeting at Pierce Park on Dec. 16 the Fury pulled out a narrow 4-3 win. 

Next home game for the locals will be on Monday, another conference test against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. 

Katelyn Allen (left #15) fired Lightning’s second goal against the Coulee Region Cyclones Tuesday night. This photo is from a previous game against the Cap City Cougars. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer.

Beale’s pair leads Thunderbirds past Red Hawks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds used a pair of first period goals from freshman Jordi Beale to vault them in front and send them on their way to their third win first home win of the season at Pierce Park Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 14).

Thunderbirds got two more in the third to collect a 4-2 win against the Milton RedHawks in their Badger Challenge contest. They collected a win by the same score against the Red Hawks at a Stoughton tournament on New Year’s Eve. 

Two more goals in the third period just over a minute apart broke a 2-2 deadlock and sent the Thunderbirds to the win. 

Beale’s first goal was unassisted four minutes into the contest and the other, scoring 4:08 later was set up by senior Peyton Sloan. 

Aaron Thompson, a Milton senior got the Red Hawks on the board with a little under five minutes to play in the first period and sophomore Ty Johnson tied it early in the middle period.  

Sloan nailed the game winner 5:19 into the final frame with help from Beale and insurance came 79 seconds when Landon Olson scored with assists for Sloan and Dylann Carpenter.

 

Junior goaltender Burke Schweda collected his third win of the season with a 32-save effort and the Thunderbirds fired 41 shots against Benett Thompson at the other end of the pond. 

The Thunderbirds improved their record to 3-14 on the season, but 3-5 since the Christmas Break as well.  

They will head back to Badger West Conference play with a home game against the Monroe Cheesemakers on Tuesday (Jan. 17) and a test in Lake Delton against RWD on Thursday night. 

Late goal lifts Golden Beavers into draw with Eagles

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info

A third period goal lifted former conference rival Beaver Dam Golden Beavers into a 3-3 deadlock with the high-flying Sauk Prairie Eagles in their Badger Challenge match at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Friday, Jan. 13. 

The Eagles and Golden Beavers hold down second spot in the Badger West and Badger East respectively and showed there isn’t much separating them head-to-head. Last season, these matches were all held on the same day in Sun Prairie but this season it is up to the respective teams to schedule their contest.  

The Eagles entered the game with a 13-3-2 record, 7-1 in Badger West Conference play. The Golden Beavers were 9-4 on the season including 5-1 in Badger East Conference play. 

Teams were even at 1-1 after a period as senior Luke Mast opened the scoring from freshman Josh Mast and junior Colin Harrington with 5:47 to play in the period only to have senior Alex Woods tie it for the Golden Beavers 1:32 later. 

The Eagles took control 3-2 in the second with goals from senior Landon Clary and freshman Landon Froese. Luke Mast set up both with another assist for Harrington. Junior Jacob Lont countered with the long Beaver Dam marker in between the two Eagles’s goals. 

Woods fired his second of the game just five seconds from the third period horn to pull the Golden Beavers even and teams were scoreless through an eight-minute overtime period.  

Shots were almost even as well, Eagles’ senior goaltender Kaden Stracke stopping 34 while junior Henry Vick kicked out 35 for the Golden Beavers.  

The Eagles were scheduled to move on to play a non-conference home game against Stevens Point Pacelli on Tuesday, then face a huge conference test against the Edgewood Crusaders on Thursday.