Varsity fall sports up next but plenty of hockey being played

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Students are likely not pleased but the summer break is nearly over for athletes.

After what seemed to be the busiest summer yet for varsity hockey players, a majority of them will be heading to football fields, soccer pitches, volleyball or tennis courts, pools, golf courses or cross-country running courses for the next few months.

Football practices begin Tuesday while boys’ soccer, girl’s tennis, golf, volleyball, swimming, and cross country for both kicks off a week or two later, depending on the team.

Unofficial captains’ practices for hockey players will likely begin in early September as the ice will be in the Lake Delton Ice Arena by then and SPARC in Prairie du Sac will have floor hockey sessions.

Official first practices for the varsity hockey programs will begin on Nov. 8.

RWD Cheavers

The RWD regular season is scheduled to begin once again against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders, this time around at the South Wood County Recreation Center on Nov. 23. Sauk Prairie Eagles will face Onalaska Hilltoppers in its first of two home games to kick off the season on the same night.

Sauk Prairie Eagles

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will faceoff on home ice against the Menomonie Mustangs Dec. 1.

There hasn’t been any official information released yet, but the three Sauk County varsity teams will be in a slightly different conference. Gone are the Waunakee Warriors, Beaver Dam Golden Beavers and DeForest Norskies, replaced by the Madison Edgewood Crusaders, Oregon Panthers and Monroe Cheesemakers.

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds

The Badger Lightning schedule is not available as of today (July 27).

The Dells Ducks will be on the ice a little earlier, beginning with a tryout camp in Crystal Lake, Ill. Aug. 6-8.

Dells Ducks

Players will arrive in town in late August, the players will begin with a week of dryland training and then hit the ice. The team will head to Motown for a weekend of exhibition matches against the Detroit Fighting Irish and Motor City Hockey Team Sept. 10-12.

The following weekend, the Ducks will open the USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season with games Sept. 17-18 against the Rum River Mallards from Isanti, Minn.

Jordan O’Connor
Kaylee Engel
Jack MacDonald
Julianna Teske

Locals at colleges will begin soon after.

After COVID all but wiped out seasons for a trio of locals last year, they will be looking forward to finally playing a regular NCAA Division 3 campaign this fall.

Kaylee Engel from Lavalle, captain of the 2019-20 Badger Lightning varsity team, will begin her sophomore season with the Northland College Lumberjills while, Jordan O’Connor, a 21-game winner in her senior season with the Sauk Prairie Eagles, will also be back for her second year between the pipes for the UW-River Falls Falcons while Julianna Teske, a Reedsburg resident will begin her sophomore season with the Augsburg Auggies. Regular seasons will begin in late October for all three players.

Former Baraboo/Portage captain, Jack MacDonald will begin his freshman season with the St. Michael’s College Purple Knights in the Northeast-10 Conference. The Purple Knights play out of Colchester Vermont and that season is also scheduled to begin in late-October.

Before you know it, full time hockey will be upon us again.

RWD third at Onalaska tournament

After dropping its opening game Friday (July 23), the RWD Cheavers charged back with three straight wins to wrap up third spot at a summer tournament at the Onalaska Omni Center.

Led by a solid group of incoming seniors, it was a fun weekend with Billy Oakes stepping in behind the bench with RWD Head Coach Neil Mattson away for the weekend.

The RWD Cheavers picked up wins in three of four games to claim third place at a tournament in Onalaska July 23-25.

After wrapping up a 2-1 record through three round robin games, the Cheavers finished second in its pool and grabbed a 3-1 win against former Badger North Conference rival Waunakee Warriors in a battle of second place teams Sunday morning.

The Cheavers dropped a 4-0 decision to the Brookfield Stars on Friday night before returning Saturday to earn a 7-1 decision against the Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche in that team’s home barn, then clinching second place with a 4-1 win against the Viroqua Blackhawks Saturday evening.

Friday

RWD Cheavers 1 Brookfield Stars 4

After the tournament Sunday, Oakes said he thought RWD came out a bit flat on Friday, finding its game in the final 15-minutes but already out of it by then as the Stars scored twice in each of the first two frames.

Cheavers were kept off the shot clock entirely through the first period and sophomore Brady Baldwin counted the team’s only goal unassisted on one of four third period shots.

Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kicked out a dozen shots for the Cheaves and freshman Alex Griebe came on later to save another seven.

Saturday

RWD Cheavers 7 Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche 1

RWD bounced back with a big win Saturday morning, scoring twice in the opening period, including its first just 2:05 into the contest by junior John Scott, his first of three in the game.

Scott also fired the other first period goal, the game winner, late in the period, senior Clayton Pfaff and junior Caleb Eastman counting middle period markers.

Griebe went the distance in goal, turning aside 17 of 18 shot, the only one to get by him coming early in the third.

The Cheavers responded with three more goals, from Eastman, Scott and finally, senior Mitchell Henke. Senior Carter Scully along with juniors Nate Stando and Logan Demars both collected assists in the contest.

RWD Cheavers 4 Viroqua Blackhawks 1

Saturday night, Cheavers blasted off quickly again, Pfaff firing an unassisted regular strength goal before the end of the opening minute and Yevgeny Dedun converted a feed from Baldwin on a powerplay less than a minute later to add the game winner.

Viroqua pulled one back late in the opening period but that was as close as they got, Baldwin and Scott notching unassisted goals in the middle period to put this one away.

Oakes picked up the win in goal for the Cheavers, stopping all but one Viroqua shot.

RWD Cheavers 3 Waunakee Warriors 1

A change in the Badger Conferences for the upcoming season sees an end to 11 seasons as rivalry with the Waunakee Warriors, but seeing those purple jerseys still gets the Cheavers fired up.

That was certainly the case Sunday with a more chippy and emotional contest than the other three.

RWD notched the first goal once again, Eastman relaying a feed from Stando with 3:33 to go in the opening segment, but a goal in the final minute of the second had the Warriors at the break.

The Cheavers came out fired up for the final 15 minutes and despite a trio of third period infractions, it was the Cheavers providing all the offense as well.

Henke sank the game winner from Baldwin and Scott’s fifth of the weekend added insurance a short time later.

Griebe kicked out 22 of 23 to pick up the win in goal.

Many of the Cheavers players will turn their focus to football, soccer or cross country as they prepare for the varsity fall seasons.

Captains practices for both RWD and Baraboo/Portage will kick off in early September at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and the first practice of the 2021-22 regular season will take place in early November.

Three eras for SP Eagles since 2010-11

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Part three of my four-part summer project (It will turn into 8-12 parts, I believe) wrapped up on the weekend as I finally wrapped up tabulating the games for the Sauk Prairie Eagles beginning with the 2010-11 season.

Again, I must give thanks and praise to www.wisconsinprephockey.net for having game sheets and statistics’ dating back that far. In the case of the Eagles, it goes back a season or two further, but I started at the 2010-11 season to keep it level with the RWD and Baraboo/Portage programs which started that season.

The Eagles have an interesting modern history which saw the team start out the 11-season stretch as a solid mid to high pack squad, led by players like Luke McElhenie who played just three seasons with the Eagles, compiling a total of 80 goals and 80 assists with just 42 PIM.

That was followed by some extremely lean seasons, from 2013-14 to 2015-16 that saw the club endure an overall record of 12-58-0.

The team turned a corner in 2016-17 which coincided with the arrival of David Lohrei as Head Coach. Lohrei, with mentoring experience at the highest junior levels as well as stints in the pros, has put together a 71-30-6 mark so far, highlighted in 2019-20 when a tough 3-2 loss in the regular season finale against Middleton prevented the team from posting 20 regular season victories – a rare feat.

Ironically, the team has posted 20 regular season defeats, in the 2014-15 season with a tough 3-21-0 run through that campaign.

The Eagles longest winning streak is nine games which were the first nine games of the 2020-21 campaign, a shortened season that saw the Eagles entering the playoffs with a 12-1 record. The teams longest losing streak is 15 games, from Dec. 12, 2014, to Feb. 5, 2015.

McElhenie had a solid supporting cast two with names like Travis Jacobson, Jacob Free, Dayne Leonard and others that were regular scoring contributors. McElhenie went on to play USHL hockey in Madison and in three seasons at UW-Stevens Point he helped the team to both WIAC and National D3 Championship in 2018-19. Look in this space for story and interview with McElhenie in the next week.

McElhenie held the team’s points lead until Riley Jelinek who led the entire state in scoring in both 2018-19 and 2019-20 compiled a massive run of 92 goals and 148 assists for 240 points in 89 games. Linemate Camden Desroches also moved past McElhenie with 94 goals and 87 assists for 181 points in 91 games.

It’s hard to imagine anyone coming close to Jelinek’s total but 2022 senior Nick Mast will factor in as he enters his final varsity season with 58 goals and 68 assists for 126 points in 60 games. Rounding out the top five for the Eagles at this point is Jacob Free with 34 goals and 57 assists for 91 points in 60 games.

Luke Mast is not far off the pace, the incoming junior already compiling 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points in 37 games while Hakon Peterson, an incoming senior sits at 16 goals and 41 assists for 57 points in 60 games.

The top point getters also lead both goals and assists while the team’s highest Penalty minutes total goes to Cam Gesicki with 129. The only player over 100 minutes in his career is Ryan Fitzsimmons at 108.

In goal, Dakota Pickhard leads in games (it appears having a name on the game sheet is classed as a game played which is a little unusual for goaltenders) with 83 and he also has the most minutes played – 3,019:12. Pickhard bridged the Dark Ages era and the Revival era, facing 1,737 shots in that period and beaten 184 times. He lowered his Goals Against Average each season after that tough opening year, ending up with a 3.11 GAA and Save Percentage of .894.

In Wisconsin High School games, it appears a Save Percentage over .900 is rare and only one Eagles’ goaltender with at least 10 games played have hit that mark.

Stephen Schultz was the team’s workhorse in the first few seasons, compiling a record of 22-16-3 with 2,089:26 minutes played, which converts to 40.97 games. He stopped 1,141 of 1,226 shots for a 3.15 GAA and a SP% of .901.

Jordan O’Connor played all 1,239:15 minutes of the 2019-20 season, compiling an awesome 19-4-1 record. She put up a goose egg in five games and kicked out 311 of 347 shots for a 1.48 GAA and a SP% of .899.

Schultz leads the goaltenders in shutouts with nine and Pickhard blanked the opposition a half dozen times.

Saukhockey.info will wrap up the varsity summer project with the Badger Lightning. I am not 100 percent sure when the schools all combined to form Badger Lightning, but we will use the 2010-11 season as the start point for this as well.

Soon after, stats from the first decade of Dells Ducks will be highlighted.

Jimmy D’s notes — Summer Project for a Stats-nerd

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Closing in on the halfway mark of compiling statistics on all four Sauk County varsity hockey teams, it seems a good time to tease some of what has come together.

Jimmy D’s Notes — Saukhockey.info

RWD was the first to be complete as far as regular season team and game stats and Baraboo/Portage should be done in the next week. Sauk Prairie Eagles and Badger Lightning will follow in July. Then season by season conference standings and post season stats.

The primary purpose of doing these is to have some interesting background information for pre-game and post-game write ups, but here is some of the interesting things I have come up with.

Please note – I owe a great deal of thanks to wisconsinprephockey.net. Simply put, that is my source for information with almost all game sheets available dating back more than a decade. For RWD and Baraboo/Portage, I have compiled stats going back to 2010-11 when the two teams were formed. Before that, all four teams – Reedsburg, Baraboo, Wisconsin Dells/Mauston and Sauk Prairie ran their own teams and for a few seasons Reedsburg and Baraboo were combined.

In 2010-11, the RWD coalition (with Mauston) was formed as was the Baraboo/Portage squad. Sauk Prairie might go back a little further and I believe the Lightning, a marriage of Baraboo and the Freeze, out of Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells was formed around the same time.

Since the RWD squad was formed, it has compiled a record of 152-88-13. The team has posted only three sub-.500 seasons. In 2014-15, the team compiled its most regular season wins with a 19-3-2 record including 16-straight regular season wins, beginning with a three-run sweep at the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic and lasting to the end of the season, the only non-win a 1-1 draw with Baraboo/Portage.

The Cheavers added three more playoff wins to reach the State Championship quarter-finals.

The longest losing skid for the team was four games, on three different occasions.

The surprising thing so far for both RWD and Baraboo/Portage is the number of ties. It would seem rare for a team to play through eight minutes of overtime without settling a draw, but RWD has just three seasons, including 2020-21 without at least one draw.

To the surprise of nobody, the team’s leading scorer through that stretch is Dylan Brown with 67 goals and 97 assists for 164 points in 60 games, an impressive total for a player who missed most of his junior season.

Derek Pawlak is next on the list and the all time leading goal scorer with 70 goals and 122 points in 71 games. One of the originals, Luke Bjorklund is third highest with 57 goals and 112 points despite playing just two seasons and 46 games under the RWD co-op.

Rounding out the top five is a tie between Jordan Bill (49-58 – 107) and Jordan Brown (47-60 –107). 2021 senior Danny Ely (44-58—102) is so far the only other player to top the 100-point plateau.

Jonathan Zobel leads the team in penalty minutes with 134, just four more than Austin Schyvinck and Zach Clisch was two more minors behind.

In goal, Cooper Oakes already owns most of the high marks, with 34 wins, 1,703 shots, 1,538 saves and nine shutouts, including his first game in goal for the Cheavers, a 5-0 goose egg at Wisconsin Rapids Nov. 20, 2018.

Oakes is still chasing, but will catch early in the season, the total minutes, (24:66.05) currently held by Tyler Arneson. Oakes should nab that mark in the second game of the season.

A couple of players with less than two full games of varsity – Logan Sullivan (.952) and Gary Wiles (.938) hold the best save percentage. Among the regulars, Shane Moilanen posted a .930 Save Percentage with three shutouts in 2010-11 and Dylan Stein was .916.

Among the single season highlights in goal was an awesome six-shutout season for Stein in 2016-17.

That’s an example of the stats saukhockey.info will be able to regurgitate through the regular season. Add to that the team’s record against every team it has played in that 11-year stretch and scorers from each game.

Hopefully it adds a little color to the upcoming season.

That’s my excuse for being a stats-nerd.

Scott, Blue Devils wrap up third at Summer Showcase

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Off season hockey rolls on, giving RWD junior John Scott a chance to not only prepare for an upcoming varsity tournament while helping the Wisconsin Blue Devils 16U squad to a solid third place showing at the 2021 Summer Showdown Showcase Tournament.

The tournament brought the Blue Devils squad based out of Tomah, to a familiar venue, the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn.

Scott collected two goals and two assists over the weekend, getting the team to within a goal of the championship game and ultimately finishing in third spot.

Scott, a forward for the RWD Cheavers was attending his third and final summer tournament with the Blue Devils. Next weekend he will join his RWD teammates at a High School varsity off season event hosted by the Middleton Cardinals at Capitol Ice in Middleton.

The eight 16U teams at the Summer Showdown played in two four-team pools, beginning Friday. Limited ice time in the off-season months means the Blue Devils look to rediscover on ice chemistry each time out and on this weekend, the team was better with each game, beginning with a so/so effort against the Midwest Knights hockey club, playing to a 2-2 draw on Friday (June 11) evening.

John Scott (right) collected two goals and four points for the Wisconsin Blue Devils at the 2021 Summer Showdown Showcase Tournaement at the National Sports Center Super Rinks, Blaine, Minn. this past weekend. Also pictured is Johnny Thrasher, a former RWD varsity player who played with the Blue Devils on the weekend.

The Blue Devils played a tight defensive game with the Magic Selects, an affiliate of the Tier 2 junior Minnesota Magicians out of Richfield, Minn. In the end, the Selects held on for a 1-0 win, but the Blue Devils rallied back Saturday night with a lopsided 6-1 win against the Steel Shots which was good enough to rank second in pool play and advance to the Championship semifinals.

Seeded fourth in the playoff round, the Blue Devils came up against the top seeded Minnesota Freeze, pushing that team to the final buzzer, but ultimately falling 3-2.

The loss pushed the Blue Devils to a Consolation (third place) final against the same Magic Selects it fell to the previous day, but this time it was the Devils racking up seven goals and a 7-0 shutout win.

Meanwhile the Freeze captured the Championship trophy, avenging a Friday night loss to the Global Prospects Academy with a 6-2 win, the team’s fourth straight victory.

Oakes shines for Jets at NAHL Prospects Challenge

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Before embarking on a senior season and adding to an already history-making career as the primary goaltender for the RWD varsity hockey team, Cooper Oakes is getting a look at his hockey future.

Oakes, an ’03 from Reedsburg, attended a North American Hockey League (NAHL) combine in Columbus, Ohio in April and in late May he backstopped a Janesville Jets sponsored 18U team to a pair of wins on a weekend that saw the team wrap up at 3-1 at an event at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn.

The team played four times as one of several teams at the NAHL event played while the mother Janesville Jets were playing in their Division semifinal against the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Alaska-based Brown Bears have been using the Minnesota rink as a home barn.

After starting out with a 4-3 (so) win against the Austin Bruins, the Jets dropped a 5-2 decision against the Northeast Generals, then bounced back with a 3-1 win against the Lone Star Brahmas and finally, a 2-0 edge against the Kenai River Brown Bears.

Janesville Jets 4 Austin Bruins 3 (SO)

In the opening game against the Austin Bruins 18U squad, Oakes took the reins from Noah McCrary (‘04/Sun Prairie) in the middle period and helped the team to a 4-3 win in shootout. Oakes Bkicked out all three shots he faced in the shootout.

Regulation goals for the Jets came from Brady Moore (‘04/Eau Claire Memorial); Tyler Steuck (‘04/Janesville) and Eric Horein (‘04/Madison Capitols). The lone goal of the shootout came in the third round from Ben Carlson (‘03/Chippewa Falls).

Janesville Jets 2 Northeast Generals 5

Oakes and McCrary flipped the roles in the second game, Oakes starting the contest and handing off to Mc Cray with the Jets trailing in the second.

The pair combined for 29 saves in the contest with Jets’ goals scored by Pavel Rettig (Waunakee) and Horein.

Generals carried a 2-0 lead out of the first period and extend its lead to 4-1 in the middle frame, both teams adding one in the third.

Janesville Jets 3 Lone Star Brahmas 1

Against the Brahmas, the Jets went with McCrary between the pipes and he stopped 22 of 23 to nail down the win.

Jets trailed 1-0 after a period and charged back for the win with three unanswered in the final frame.

Carter Plante (‘04/Eau Claire) tied the score early with Horein notching the game winner and adding a clincher into an empty Brahmas’ goal with 34 seconds to play.

Janesville Jets 2 Kenai River Brown Bears 0

Oakes got the call for the finale and turned in a perfect effort, blocking all Brown Bears’ attempts in a shutout win.

The game’s first goal came in the sixth minute of the third period from Joe Roemer (‘04/Oregon HS) and Gavin Hruby (‘04/Waunakee) followed up with an insurance tally in the final minute.

Brandt and Zick reach NAHL Prospect semis with 15U Jets

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

A pair of local talented hockey players – Incoming RWD junior Caden Brandt and Carson Zick who will be a sophomore for Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds in 2021-22 took part in the high caliber NAHL Prospects Challenge tournament this past weekend, suiting up for the 15U Janesville Jets.

The event brought together a dozen teams, all under the umbrellas of North American Hockey League teams.

The team put together a 2-1 record in round robin matches and advanced through the Playoff quarterfinals before falling in the semis to the eventual tournament champs.

All games were played at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, Minn., Friday May 29 – Sun day May 31.

Janesville Jets 3 Austin Bruins 4

The Jets trailed 3-0 early in the second period but rallied for three goals in the frame to knot the score at 3-3 heading to the final session.

Unfortunately, the only goal in the final period put the Bruins in front again with 8:20 to play in the contest.

David Emerich (‘06/Waunakee) scored twice for the Jets, sandwiching a goal for Grant Halmstad (‘05/Wausau).

Janesville Jets 3 Chippewa Steel 0

A goal in each period and a shutout effort in goal for Grenier Mason (‘05/Milwaukee) evened the Jets’ record.

Halmstad, Joseph Gerbitz (‘05/Green Bay) and David Dina (‘05/Verona) scored the Jets goals in this one, wrapping up play Friday.

Janesville Jets 2 Odessa Jackalopes 1 (so)

This defensive struggle didn’t see a goal until the Texas-based Jackalopes found the mesh early in the second period.

Brandt (‘05/LaValle) set up Will Rotar (‘05/Stoughton) about four minutes later to pull the Jets even and that’s the way it stayed through regulation and overtime.

In the shootout Rotar and Emerich both scored to lift the Jets to a win clinching a spot in the playoff quarter-finals.

Janesville Jets 6 Springfield Jr. Blues 1

The Jets’ collected its most decisive win later Saturday turning a 1-0 first period lead into a 4-1 middle stanza cushion and adding two more unanswered down the stretch.

Brandt led the charge scoring twice for the Jets and Zick (‘05/Baraboo) added a third period assist to help the cause. Other Jets’ goals came from Gerbitz, Emerich, Reid Post (Chippewa Falls) and Lars Brotzman (‘05/Verona).

Janesville Jets 1 New Mexico Ice Wolves 4

Just four teams returned Sunday for tournament semi-finals including three from the Jets’ round robin Division.

While the Jets squared off with the Ice Wolves, Chippewa Falls and the Jackalopes squared off in the other semi.

Brandt fire his team’s only goal, tying the game at 1-1 late in the second period, but the Ice Wolves recaptured the lead 51 seconds later with the game winning tally.

The Ice Wolves went on to claim the tournament championship with a 6-1 win against the Chippewa Steel.

Jimmy D’s notes — June plans

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

June 1 is probably about as far from the hockey seaon that you can get in Sauk County.

If local arenas are being used at all it is for indoor activities, likely related to fairs and carnivals…at least in Reedsburg.

For Saukhockey.info, hockey will still be included with a couple projects and some looks back.

Over the past month and with the great assistance of statistics kept on wisconsinprephockey.net, I have begun compiling some all time statistics.

I wrapped up the first part for RWD — tracing results from every game and compiling points and penalty minutes for every player that suited up for the Cheavers, since the start of the Reedsburg-Wisconsin Dells-Mauston Co-operative effort in 2010-11.

Currently I am working on the same for Baraboo/Portage and over the month I will continue with the Sauk Prairie Eagles and Badger Lightning.

I have something similar for the Dells Ducks, but need to add the 2020-21 stats to it. I will do a brief look at the overall stats when I complete each team, but the primary purpose of this is background information which will come in handy everytime RWD, Baraboo/Portage or Sauk Prairie Eagles come up against each other.

I am going to go back and do conference histories and Playoff histories for each team over the course of the summer.

The RWD hockey team has some summertime activity planned including something next weekend which will keep them in the headlines. I am trying to find out more about the other teams as well.

Also, I want to go back and do season reviews on each team as well as the junior Ducks and also take a look a the short freshman college seasons for Jordan O’Connor, goaltender at UW-Superior Yellow Jackets and Kaylee Engel from the Northland College Lumberjills in the WIAC along with Julianna Teske of the Augsburg Auggies in the MIAC.

I have been wanting to do either a weekly video show or podcast and plan to set it up with something once a month or more frequently if I have material, in the off season months and then weekly starting in September.

Other stories will surely come up each week during the summer months. If anyone knows of something coming up related to hockey, I would be glad to include coverage of it. I can be reached a jim@dellsduckshockey.com or text 608-393-2876.

Also, still looking for someone that might be interested in helping with this website/facebook page and a possible partnership. I would really like to find someone that is adept, or at least interested in advertising and hopefully, website design.

More stories will be rolling out soon.

 

Jets top Bobcats in all-Wisconsin National final

By Jim den Hollander

Publisher/Editor

Saukhockey.info

Two of 16 teams that began play in the 2021 Chipotle USA Hockey Tier II 3A National Championship tournament in Green Bay were from the host state. On Monday morning, they were the only teams left standing.

A quick start for the Janesville Jets 18U squad was close to nullified in a frantic third period rally by the Green Bay Gamblers but in the end the Jets held on for a 3-2 edge to grab the gold plate and pennant that signifies the USA Hockey Champions.

Janesville 18U Jets celebrate winning the 2021 Chipotle USA Hockey Tier II 18U 3A National Championship in the traditional way.

Both teams headed into the contest with matching 5-0 records showing themselves as the class of the field talentwise and they matched it with class in the presentations, many of the players familiar with each other from varsity high school battles.

The Bobcats were clearly disappointed but smiles and hugs were common as players from both teams shook hands with the opposite team after accepting their respective medals. After the medals and plates – silver to the Bobcats and gold to the Jet – and medals were presented, the teams gathered at the presentation table for what seems a rare double-team photo.

Janesville Jets 3 Green Bay Bobcats 2

The clash of titans matched a Bobcats team that relied heavily on goaltender Lincoln Simons (’04 sophomore Ashwaubenon). Not that the team couldn’t come up with key goals when called on – Grady Coppo (’03 Neenah-Hortonville-Menasha) and Dayne Deanovich (’03 junior Fond du Lac Springs) both among the tournament’s top five points collectors heading into the championship game.

Meanwhile the Jets also had solid goaltending – Ian Hedican (’02 Senior Madison West) and John (Jack) Schroeder (’03 University School) sharing a shutout in the opening contest and splitting the work throughout the weekend. The best weapon for the Jets seemed to be that it could generate a goal whenever it needed one, as shown against the Minnesota Moose when it fought back from five single-goal deficits and in the quarterfinals when it battled back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period against Cheektowaga Warriors from New York. Heading into the final, Isaac Frenette (’02 senior Chippewa Falls) led all scorers with 11 points, one more than teammate Boone Mathison (’02 senior Tomah).

After being presented with the plate, medals and pennant, Janesville Jets players head across the ice to celebrate with friends and family.

Both teams battled and left every ounce of what they had on the ice on Monday, the Jets grabbing early control when Mason Manglitz (’02 senior Onalaska) one timed a feed from Mathison

.

Jets carried the 1-0 cushion into the middle frame and widened the gap 39 seconds in as Frenette gathered in a clearing attempt, then skated in and buried a shot just under the bar on the far side over the shoulder of Simons who seemed to have the angle well covered.

Some solid forechecking by Danny Amberg (’03 Tomah) behind the Bobcat’s goal. He backhanded a pass in front to Jordan Degaetano (’03 senior Onalaska) who quickly flipped it into the top right corner just 2:42 later to put the Jets up 3-0.

Trevor Slaght (#21) gets his chance to hold the Golden Plate after a 3-2 win for the Janesville Jets. It was a bittersweet afternoon for Trevor Slaght who was in easily the biggest game of his live, but unfortunately was limited to the bench after a lower body injury suffered in the first period.

That lead held up until the final period the Bobcats finally pushing one past Hedican out of a flurry on top of the blue paint with 11:16 to play in the contest. Kole Altergott (’03 Ashwaubenon) jammed it home for the goal with assists for Cooper Routheau (’03 Ashwaubenon) and Tanner Newton (’03 De Pere).

The second goal came with Simons on the bench in favor of an extra attacker as Alex Freund (’02 Senior Neenah-Hortonville-Menasha) banked a shot from beside the goal off the pad of Hedican to get the host squad within a shot.

Jets held off the last frantic attempts for the Bobcats and finally got a chance to celebrate when the buzzer sounded.

Slaght a National Champion

Included in that celebration was Trevor Slaght, an ’03 junior from Wisconsin Dells and a member of the RWD varsity hockey team.  Slaght logged a regular shift in the previous five contests with the Jets and scored a goal in an earlier game, but suffered some kind of leg injury in the opening period. He was helped off the ice and tried to return later. He was on the ice for one of the second period goals but fell again right after and spent the rest of the game on the bench. He was clearly in some discomfort after the match.

 

 

Jets and Bobcats stay perfect at USA Hockey Nationals

By Jim den Hollander

Publisher/Editor

Saukhockey.info

Could the Green Bay Bobcats and Janesville Jets 18U squads be on a collision course?

There’s a long way to go but the two Wisconsin-based teams exited round robin play with three wins at the 2021 USA Hockey Tier II 18U Nationals with matching 3-0 records at the Cornerstone Ice Arena in De Pere.

The Cats finished with a 5-3 win against the Littleton (Colo.) Hawks to finish with a perfect nine points in pool play in the ‘USA’ Division.

The Jets doubled the Igloo Jaguars from New Jersey 6-3 to wrap up its third win for eight of a possible nine points – three wins, but the middle one against the Minnesota Moose coming in a shootout.

Both teams enter the round of eight and the only way they could meet each other would be in the National Championship contest.

Green Bay Bobcats 5 Littleton Hawks 2

The Bobcats made sure there wasn’t much drama in its final round robin win with three unanswered first period goals and another in the second before the Hawks finally hit the board.

Once again, goaltending played a big role for the Cats who have been outshot in each contest, this time by a whopping 36-13 margin.

Truett Wilson (’03 Fox Cities) got his turn between the pipes for the Bobcats and delivered in a big way helping the team carry a 5-1 lead out of the second period despite a 25-10 edge in shots for the Hawks.

Offensively, Dayne Deanovitch (’03 junior Fond du Lac Springs) enjoyed another solid game with a couple goals for the Cats and Grady Coppo (’03 junior De Pere) chipped in a goal and three assists. Tanner Newton (’03 junior De Pere) added a goal and assist, Joshua Christofferson (’03 senior Appleton United) scoring the other and Alexander Freund (’03 Neenah-Hortonville-Menasha) assisting on two.

As the top seed in the ‘USA’ Pool, the Bobcats advance to play the Minnesota Moose (1-1-1) who ranked second in the ‘Olympic’ Division Sunday at the Hilliard/Weyers Arena – one of three ice surfaces in the Cornerstone complex, at 9 a.m.

Winner of that game will advance to the first of two semi-finals at 6:15 p.m. Sunday against either the Montgomery (Md.) Blue Devils or the Orland Park (Ill.) Vikings.

 

Janesville Jets 6 Igloo (N.J.) Jaguars 3

Despite wins in the first two games, the Jets had not clinched a spot in the quarterfinals but two goals 51-seconds apart near the middle of the first period sent the team on its way to a division clinching victory.

Up 2-1 after a period, the Jets made sure with three unanswered middle period markers then scored on its only shot of the final 17 minutes for the win.

Boone Mathison (’02 Tomah) paced the offense with a three-goal game and added an assist while Isaac Frenette (’02 senior Chippewa Falls) put together a third big game with four helpers. Travis Slaght (’03 junior Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells) and Adam Franken (’03 junior Oregon) both picked up a goal and assist and the other goal came from Mason Manglitz (’02 senior, Onalaska) who, like Frenette, contributed in all three contests.

John Schroeder (’03 University School) went the distance in goal for the Jets who move on to play the Cheektowaga Rec Hockey Warriors Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Hilliard/Weyers Arena, also at the Cornerstone complex.

The Jets moved through its round robin matches with relatively easy victories against both the Warriors and Pittsburgh Predators while showing amazing resilience battling back from one-goal deficit and ultimately capturing a 6-5 shootout against the Minnesota Moose to grab top spot in the ‘Olympic Pool.’ The Moose finished second with a 1-1-1 record.

The Warriors, playing in the ‘USA’ Pool finished in second, grabbing a 3-0 shutout in its opener against the Littleton (Colo.) Hawks Thursday before stumbling 5-2 against the Green Bay Bobcats Friday, then wrapping up the berth with a 5-1 win against Team Ohio.

The quarterfinal winner will return to the ice for a 6:30 p.m. match against either the McKinney (Texas) North Stars or Tri-Valley (Calif.) Blue Devils for a berth in the National Championship contest to be played at 11:15 a.m. Monday.