Eagles wrap up Badger West with shutout win

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
With senior Luke Mast leading the way, the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team wrapped up its 2022-23 Badger West Conference schedule on a winning note Tuesday (Jan. 24).


The Eagles wrapped up second place in the conference with an 8-0 win at Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) in Monroe, wrapping up an 8-2 Conference schedule and boosting its overall regular season record to 14-4-2.


The Eagles all but settled the game with four unanswered first period goals despite a narrow 13-10 edge on the shot counter. The Eagles wrapped up the win with two more in both the second and third periods.
Mast, in the hunt for the overall state lead in scoring, put up four goals and set up another three to stay with the front runners. Freshman Landon Froese and sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner both added a goal and assist with other goals scored by juniors Steven Romaker and Colin Harrington. Junior Karsyn Banta chipped in two assists.


With the conference season wrapped up, the Eagles will finish the regular season, beginning Friday (Jan. 27) with a home game against the Muskego Co-Op Ice Force (9-12-0, 3-3 Classic Eight).
Next week, the Eagles will complete its home schedule against Madison West from the Big Eight Conference Tuesday and DeForest Norskies from the Badger East Thursday.


The regular season finale will take place in Tomah Feb. 7.

Goalies step up in Heroes Night game in Lake Delton

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
On a night that saw the RWD varsity and junior varsity teams honoring Hometown Heroes, the goaltenders stepped into that role for both the visiting Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and the host RWD Cheavers. Thursday (Jan. 19) night.
RWD sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe wasn’t called on often, but he was perfect when needed, posting his fourth shutout of the season and his second clean sheet against the Thunderbirds in a 2-0 win.

As usual, Thunderbirds’ junior goaltender was supertasked in the blue paint and his 46 saves kept the Thunderbirds in the game until senior Lukas Vana buried the second Cheavers’ goal, an unassisted shorthanded marker 2:07 from the third period horn.

The shutout lowered Griebe’s Goals Against Average to 1.84 which ranks him sixth lowest in the state. Meanwhile, there doesn’t appear to be statistics to back it up, but Schweda has to be near the top of the list in shots faced.


The other RWD goal came from senior Carsen Brandt who snuck up from the blueline on an RWD powerplay to slam home a rebound. Twin brother Caden and Vana chipped in on an all-senior goal scored 4:35 into the contest.
The game was played in front of a packed house at Lake Delton Ice Arena.
The win boosted RWD’s current record to 9-7 and they sit at 4-4 in Badger West Conference play, a nice rebound after dropping three of their first four league games.


The Cheavers will hit the road for a pair of games this week, at Onalaska Tuesday (Jan. 24) and at LeBahn Ice Arena in Madison to take on the Edgewood Crusaders on Friday.


Thunderbirds fell to 3-16 on the season, but those three wins have all come since the Christmas Break. In Conference play, Thunderbirds have yet to post a win in nine contests with the unenviable task of taking on the undefeated (in conference) Crusaders in the season finale Feb. 10.


Thunderbirds have just one game this week, taking on the McFarland Spartans Tuesday (Jan. 24) to begin a stretch of three straight home games.

Burke Schweda faced another barrage iBaraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday, kicking out 46 of 48 in a 2-0 loss against RWD. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
Alex Griebe collected his fourth goose egg of the season Thursday, collecting the shutout against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena. 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

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. 

Panthers roll over Thunderbirds at home

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Playing at home for the first time in three weeks, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds were unable to use it to their advantage, dropping a 9-0 decision to the high-flying Oregon Panthers at Pierce Park Pavilion on Thursday (Jan. 12). 

Despite a 16-6 edge in shots in the opening period, the Panthers grabbed just a 1-0 lead thanks once again to the standout goaltending of junior Burke Schweda.  

The guests stepped up their attack in the middle period, peppering Schweda with a 29-6 edge in shots and widening the margin to 4-0.  

Another five in the third period with a 24-2 edge in chances wrapped up the goose egg for the Panthers, led by junior Andrew Jicha who scored three and set up another pair for a five-point game. 

After a long stretch on the road, the Thunderbirds began a stretch of three straight at Pierce Park Pavilion, followed Saturday (Jan. 14) with a rematch against the Milton Red Hawks followed Tuesday (Jan. 17) with a Badger West Conference match against the Monroe Cheesemakers. 

Cheavers bounce back from so-so tourney showing

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Unable to continue a two-year run as the champions of their own tournament, the Dells Ducks bounced back with some solid and promising performances to start the new calendar year. 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles robbed them of a chance to mount a nice string, but the team is certainly rounding into shape for a solid regular season homestretch run. 

Hopes of a third straight home tournament trophy ended quickly as the Kenosha Thunder edged them 2-1 on Dec. 28 in the opening round of the newly named Bobber’s Winter Classic, sending the home side to the consolation side of the draw. 

The Rice Lake Warriors compounded the pain with a 3-1 win against the Cheavers the following day sending them to the seventh-place final for the first time ever. 

The Cheavers took out frustrations with a 7-0 against the Avalanche made up of La Crosse area schools to avoid a winless showing at the event. 

That win started some momentum for the Cheavers who returned from the Christmas Break with another goose egg – 8-0 against the visiting Waupaca Comets Jan. 3 and an impressive 2-1 edge in its return to Badger West Conference play on home ice against the Oregon Panthers.  

The run ended though with a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the host Sauk Prairie Eagles at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Jan. 10). 

At the Winter Classic, the Cheavers scored the lone goal of the first period against Kenosha but couldn’t add another. The Thunder scored twice about four minutes apart in the final period. Against the Warriors it was the visitors on the board with the lone goal in both the first and second period before the Cheavers pulled one back early in the third. An empty netter with nine seconds to play clinched the win for the Warriors. 

Against the Avs, the Cheavers scored once in the opening period adding two more in the second and putting it away with a four-goal final frame. 

The Cheavers blitzed Waupaca with four first period markers, adding two in both the second and final periods. 

The win on home ice against the Panthers was satisfying as it avenged a 3-2 overtime defeat in Oregon back on Dec. 2. A pair of first period goals was enough for the win but the Panthers gained some consolation, ending a stretch of 154:45 of shutout hockey for sophomore Alex Griebe in the second period.  

Goaltender Alex Griebe, shown here against the Sauk Prairie Eagles had a stretch of more than 150 minutes of shutout hockey and Caden Brandt (#15) paced the offense with 11 points in a six-game stretch.
Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

At SPARC, the Cheavers were looking for a little more revenge having dropped its earlier home game against the Eagles 4-3 in overtime Dec. 6. 

Teams were even at 2-2 after a period but the Cheavers were in control with a 4-2 cushion heading to the third. The host Eagles, still with a shot at a share of the conference title battled back in the third, scoring the game winner just 20 seconds from the final horn. 

Offensively, senior Caden Brandt returned from injury and helped the Cheavers with five goals and 11 points over the six-game stretch, senior John Scott chipping in six goals and eight points. Another senior, Nate Stando enjoyed an offensive explosion, putting up five goals and seven points while senior Carsen Brandt added a goal and four helpers. 

Senior Lukas Vana had four set ups, junior Andrey Tougas adding two goals and an assist and senior Logan DeMars collecting three assists. Junior Trey Lariden scored twice, junior Brady Baldwin added a goal and assist. Senior Caleb Eastman notched a goal and other assists came from sophomore Kaden Uminski and junior Iszak Elder. 

Game winners came from Lariden, Scott and Stando. 

In goal, despite a 3-3 record through the stretch, Griebe racked up the long shutout stretch and overall kicked out 108 of 118 shots for a save percentage of .915. 

A postponed Badger Challenge game (The Cheavers will now host DeForest Norskies on Jan. 30) leaves a rare stretch of nine days without a game. Next up will be a game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds. The Cheavers will renew the rivalry and host a ‘Hometown Hero’ game Thursday. 

Tourney showing vaults Eagles into second half

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Following an unbeaten showing at the annual Madison area Holiday hockey tournament, the Sauk Prairie Eagles rolled into the second half of the season looking to build on an already successful season.  

A 4-1-1 stretch has the Eagles in the hunt for a top tier playoff seed and a shot at at least a share of the Badger West Conference title. 

The Eagles began play at the holiday tournament with a 7-1 win against the Ashland Oredockers, an independent team that rolled into the event with a 4-2 record on Dec. 28. 

The Eagles outshot the Oredockers 47-18 and after surrendering the game’s first goal in the third minute, responded with seven straight markers.  

The following day, Cedarburg Bulldogs from the North Shore Conference faced off with the Eagles who bounced them by a 9-1 count. The Eagles put this one away turning narrow 2-1 cushion after a period into an 8-1 margin with six unanswered middle period goals. 

Wrapping up the event, the Eagles battled Madision Memorial Spartans to a 2-2 draw. After a scoreless first period, freshman Landon Froese opened the scoring in the second, then added the lone third period tally to pull the Eagles even at 2-2 against the Sparts who rolled into the contest with a 7-2 record and a five-game winning streak. 

Building off that momentum, the Eagles faced off with the Sun Prairie Cardinals dropping a 5-3 decision at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Jan. 3. 

Teams were even at 1-1 after a period and 3-3 heading to the final frame before the Cards scored a pair, including a shorthanded empty netter to clinch it with 73 seconds to go. 

On Friday the Eagles returned to Badger Conference play and improved their record to 6-1 with an 8-1 decision at SPARC against the visiting Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds.  

The Eagles led 4-0 after a period and carried a 7-1 cushion into the third. 

Finally, at SPARC Tuesday (Jan. 10) a goal from junior Colin Harrington 20 seconds from the final horn lifted the Eagles to their second win against the RWD Cheavers this season and a 7-1 conference record. The goal was the third of the period for the Eagles who rallied all the way back from a 4-2 deficit. 

Leading the offensive charge was senior Luke Mast who racked up 25 points with nine goals and 16 helpers, vaulting him to third in the state with 18 goals and 44 points. He could become the second player in team history to move past the 200 points plateau as he currently sits at 71 goals and 172 points through 72 games played. 

Luke Mast (left) looks for a way past RWD defender Carsen Brandt during their game at SPARC Tuesday night. Mast is on a torrid offensive pace that could be highlighted with him becoming the second player in team history to reach the 200-point plateau. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer.

Freshman Froese chipped in nine goals and 13 points while Harrington added four goals ande nine points. Junior Karsyn Banta notched a goal and six points and senior Landon Clary scored four and added an assist.  

Freshman Josh Mast scored once and set up three others and junior Thor Peterson fired three goals in the six-game stretch. Other goal scorers included senior Blake Howery and sophomores Gunnar Nachreiner and Connor Grant while junior Garret Mittelsteadt picked up an assist. 

Game winners came off the sticks of Peterson, Harrington, Howery and Froese. 

In goal, Kaden Stracke rolled up a 3-1-1 record with 115 stops on 127 shots, including 40 of 42 in the draw against Madison Memorial. Overall, his Save Percentage for the stretch was .911. Senior Brooks McInerney got some relief work in the tournament and picked up the win against Baraboo, stopping 16 of 17 through five periods’ work for a save percentage of .941. 

The Eagles head back into action Friday (Jan. 13) with its Badger Challenge match against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers and after a road-heavy opening to the schedule, the Eagles will get the pay off with six of their final eight games on home ice at SPARC. 

Carrying a 12-3-1 record into the home stretch, the key match will be next Thursday when they put their 7-1 conference record on the line against the unbeaten (in conference play) Madison Edgewood Crusaders looking for a share of the conference title. 

Thunderbirds find scoring touch and wins

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

It may or may not have been a Christmas gift, but the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team returned from the Break having finally found a scoring touch and as a result, a way to break into the win column. 

The Thunderbirds dropped all nine contests before the Break and for good reason, having scored just two goals in that stretch of games. 

In the six games since the Break, Thunderbirds have found the mesh 14 times and as a result, broke into the win column twice.  

First up was a three-game tournament at Stoughton’s Mandt Arena and while the team was able to become involved offensively, it took three tries before the first win arrived.  

After dropping a tough 5-4 decision against the host Stoughton Vikings on Dec. 29, the Thunderbirds met up with the Beloit Memorial Purple Knights and fell 6-2. 

On the final day of the year, Thunderbirds snapped their 11-game season opening skid with a 4-2 decision against the Milton Red Hawks beginning some early New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Following that, Thunderbirds fell 3-1 to the host Black River Falls Tigers on the road, then fell to 0-6 in Badger West Conference play with an 8-1 loss against the host Sauk Prairie Eagles at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Friday. 

Wrapping up a tough stretch of six straight road contests (seven were scheduled but a match at the Omni against the Avalanche was postponed Dec. 22.) the Thunderbirds made the trek to Hartmeyer Arena in Madison and collected a 3-1 edge against the Madison LaFollette/East Lakers, wrapping up a solid and promising 2-4 stretch, all on the road.

Leading the offense through the stretch was junior Peyton Sloan with four goals including the team’s first game winner of the season. Freshman Wyatt Jost chipped in three assists while sophomore Dylann Carpenter and freshman Jordi Beale both scored twice. One of Beale’s goals was also a game winner. 

Junior Landon Olson collected a goal and assist, freshman Nathan Gneiser and sophomore Bodie Thompson both set up a pair. Juniors Luke Schweda and Kyle Buelow both scored a goal with single assists for freshmen Wade Zemanovic and Thomas Sarnow. 

There were no stats available from the game in Stoughton against Beloit Memorial. 

Sophomore goaltender Burke Schweda continued his torrid pace between the pipes as well. In the five games that had statistics available the young goalie kicked out 219 of 237 shots for a dazzling .924 Save Percentage. 

Thunderbirds are scheduled to play on home ice for the first time since Dec. 20 with another Badger West Conference game tonight (Thursday, Jan. 12) against the Oregon Panthers. In their previous meeting in Oregon Dec. 13, the Panthers collected an 8-0 win. 

Halbleib hat trick leads Crusaders past Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
The Madison Edgewood Crusaders doubled the RWD Cheavers 4-2 with what might have been a knockout punch to the team’s Conference championship hopes, Tuesday (Dec. 13) at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA).


After a scoreless opening period, the Crusaders held a 2-1 margin in both the second and third to wrap up the win, the final goal scored 52 seconds from the final buzzer into an empty cage.
The empty netter wrapped up a hat trick for Crusaders’ sophomore David Halbleib.
RWD goals came from seniors Lukas Vana and Logan DeMars with an assist for John Scott, continuing a six-game scoring streak for the senior and team leading scorer.
Sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe kept RWD in the contest, stopping all nine shots he faced in the opening period as the locals were outshot 9-2. Overall, the goaltender stopped 26 of 29 while sophomore Hayden Reuhl stopped 13 of 15 for the Crusaders.


The loss dropped the Cheavers to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in Badger West conference play. They will wrap up the first half of its conference schedule at RACA against the Monroe Cheesemakers.