Schaetzl stops 51 for T-birds but its not quite enough

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo Thunderbirds got a standout effort in goal and came up with one of its best offensive nights as well but fell just short against the visiting Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Feb. 8) night. 

Thunderbirds came up with 30 shots in the game, one of its best totals this season, but counted heavily on senior Andrew Schaetzl in goal who stopped 51 of 54 Avs’ shots to keep it close.  

Schaetzl stopped 19 of 21 in the opening period to allow the Thunderbirds a chance to come out of the opening 17-minutes down just 2-1 despite a 21-7 edge on the shots board for the visitors. 

Juniors Tanner Bass and Ethan Meyer scored 11 seconds apart to give the Avalanche a 2-0 lead early in the contest, but Thunderbirds senior Oliver Scanlan converted a feed from senior Gabe Fitzwilliams to cut the lead in half later in the period.  

First year Avs’ forward Casey Keane restored the two-goal margin early in the second period but once again the T-Birds cut into the lead, this time Fitzwilliams pulling the trigger with an assist for sophomore Carson Zick. 

Teams battled through an even third period, the Avalanche with a narrow 14-13 edge in shots, the final one an empty net goal for junior Evan Johnson nine seconds before the final buzzer.  

Thunderbirds fell to 4-19 with the loss to the Avalanche who boosted its own record to 9-14. 

Thunderbirds will play one final regular season game Thursday in Waupun against the host Warriors on Thursday (Feb. 10) before opening the post season on Tuesday in Lake Delton against the RWD Cheavers.  

Hilltoppers dominate Lightning again at Pierce Park

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Onalaska Hilltoppers continued its domination of the Badger Lightning varsity hockey team with an 8-0 win at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Feb. 8). 

The Hilltoppers also defeated the Lightning 7-0 at the Omni Center in Onalaska earlier this season and have won 14 in a row against the local squad dating back to 2012. 

The Lightning has turned in some solid efforts against teams that have had their number this season, including a recent game with the Cap City Cougars that went to overtime, but the Hilltoppers dominated the host team from the opening faceoff in this one.  

Sophomore Madchen Ewig took a turn in the blue paint with regualar goaltender Alyssa Gada unable to play. Ewig was easily the busiest player in this game as the Hilltoppers outshot the Lightning 45-15, including a massive 22-3 edge in the middle period when they turned a 2-0 cushion into a comfortable 6-0 margin.  

Senior Kiya Bronston enjoyed a two-goal, five-point game for the Hilltoppers and senior Lydia Walz also fired a pair. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 8-13 in regulation period and extended its current skid to four games. The Lightning will wrap up its regular season Friday playing host to the Medford Raiders at Pierce Park Pavilion. The Lightning played the Raiders twice at an event in Beaver Dam, Jan. 29 winning both. 

Schweda makes it difficult, but JV Cheavers prevail

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD junior varsity Cheavers made the trip to Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo Monday, rallying back from an early deficit for a 3-1 win in the penultimate game of the regular season. 

Burke Schweda in goal for the Thunderbirds was unbeatable through the first half of the contest, allowing a goal by junior Kyle Buelow in the first period to stand up as the lone goal in the contest until a 200-foot rush by sophomore Iszak Elder pulled the Cheavers even 88 seconds from the end of the second period.  

First year Nathan Gneiser picked up an assist on Buelow’s goal, the only shot to elude Mark Othmer, taking his turn as the goaltender for the night in the Cheavers’ cage. Elder’s was a solo effort. 

Junior Conner Putz put RWD in front for the first and only time with the game winner 3:35 into the final period from junior Nate Stando and first year Carter Renneberg.  

A solo effort from Kaden Uminski about five minutes later added some insurance for RWD won took the win and continued a string of wins that goes back to its first meeting with Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Dec. 3.  

The Cheavers will wrap up its junior varsity season on Tuesday (Feb. 8) against the Janesville Bluebirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena.  

Third period rally for Iceberg erases Lightning lead

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning wrapped what might have been the busiest week in team history on Friday (Feb. 4) with a second straight heartbreaker, falling 5-4 to the Icebergs at Mandt Community Center in Stoughton. 

The Lightning dropped a 4-0 decision to the same team on Dec. 21 but found its scoring touch on the road and carrying a 4-2 lead into the final period.  

Icebergs hit the scoreboard first, but junior Mallory Ruland evened it up late in the opening period with a set up for senior Carson Blosenski. 

A trio of first years combined to give the Lightning its first lead of the contest, Audrey Hanko hitting the mesh with help from Kayla Garbacz and Reese Olson.  

The Icebergs pulled about four minutes later, but the Lightning grabbed control of the contest with a pair of goals in the final 4:09 of the period. 

Garbacz scored the first, from Katelyn Allen and Blosenski and junior defender Eryn Benson added another unassisted 82 seconds later.

The hosts responded to the deficit with three unanswered third period goals, the game winner coming with 6:39 to play. 

The loss wrapped up a seven-game week for the Lightning who were 4-3 in that stretch and likely happy to have a few days off on the weekend. 

The now 8-12 Lightning has two games remaining on its schedule, both at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo. The first game will see the Lightning hosting the Onalaska Hilltoppers on Tuesday (Feb. 8) at 5 p.m. with the Medford Raiders in town for the regular season finale Friday at 7 p.m.  

Schaetzl shines despite lopsided loss at home

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds wrapped up its Badger West against the toughest team, the Madison Edgewood Crusaders wrapping up a 7-0 shutout win on Thursday at Pierce Park Pavilion. 

The Crusaders clinched the first Badger West Conference championship with a lopsided win against the Monroe Cheesemakers Thursday (Jan. 3) then closed in on a perfect conference season with the win in Baraboo the following night. 

Despite the loss, Andrew Schaetzl earned star honors, stopping 40 shots and allowing just three on 25 shots through the final two periods.  

The Crusaders dominated the opening 17-minutes, scoring four unanswered goals with a 22-5 margin on the shot clock.  

It was more of the same through the final two, but Schaetzl kept it respectable as the Crusaders rolled to a 47-12 edge on the shot counter. 

The loss dropped the Thunderbirds to 4-18 in regular season play and wrapped up a 2-8 Badger Conference record, good enough for fifth place.  

Thunderbirds will play its final home game Tuesday against the Avalanche Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Pierce Park Pavilion, wrapping up its schedule on the road in Waupun two nights later. 

The Crusaders boosted its record to 9-0 and will look to close out a perfect first season in the Badger West at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Thursday night. 

Gada kicks out 45 in heartbreaker against Cougars

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team gave an idea of how far it has come this season despite dropping a 2-1 decision to the Cap City Cougars in overtime at Pierce Park Pavilion Thursday (Feb. 3). 

Since 2011-12, the Lightning and Cougars faced off 20 times before Thursday’s contest. The Cougars won 19 of them, the lone Lightning win coming a decade ago as of Jan. 12.  

The Cougars added a 20th win on Thursday, but it was more like they escaped with a win thanks to a supreme effort between the pipes from Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada.  

The shots show more of the same, the Cougars holding a 46-16 edge in regulation play. Gada stopped all but one of those shots as senior Magnolia von Bauer scored 3:03 into the contest. Gada stopped 19 of 20 Cougars’ shots in the opening period and blanked them with 26 stops through the final two periods. 

Meanwhile, junior Mallory Ruland evened the score early in the second period with assists for junior Kayla Capener and senior Signe Begalske.  

The Lightning was 55 seconds away from a tie when Keegan Sanderfoot sank the game winner on the only shot for the Cougars in the overtime segment. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 11-8 in regular season play and 5-8 in Badger Conference play. 

The team was looking at a quick turnaround with a trip to Stoughton Friday (Feb. 4) to play its final Badger Conference contest against the Icebergs. That will leave two home games on the schedule, Tuesday (Feb. 8) against the Onalaska Hilltoppers and Friday against the Medford Raiders. 

Schaetzl backstops Tbirds to Badger West win

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

There’s one more game to go, but the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds clinched fifth place in the Badger West Conference with an 8-4 win at Monroe against the host Cheesemakers at Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) on Tuesday (Feb. 1). 

The win shows that a team plagued with injuries and illness through much of the season could be taking shape in time for what will be a tough post season run.  

Last time the new conference rivals met, the Thunderbirds claimed a 2-1 win at Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 18. The win at SLICE saw the Thunderbirds coming up with its best offensive total this season.  

Cheesemakers hit the scoreboard first and carried a 3-2 lead into the middle period. It was 4-2 7:50 from the end of the middle period, but it was all T-Birds after that.  

Four goals in the final 7:03 had the Baraboo/Portage squad up 6-4 and they added two more unanswered goals in the final period to put it away. 

Senior Gabe Fitzwilliams paced the Thunderbirds’ attack with two goals and two assists, sophomore Carson Zick adding two goals and an assist and senior Oliver Scanlan contributing a goal and two assists. 

Senior Zach Huffaker also scored a pair with the other Thunderbirds’ goal fired by junior Peyton Sloan. Sophomore Bodie Thompson and junior Monte Hartmann picked up assists.  

Both teams fired 12 shots in the opening period, Thunderbirds with a 15-9 edge in the middle frame and senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl stopped all 15 shots he faced to allow his team to pad its margin despite being outshot 15-10. Overall, Thunderbirds held a 37-36 edge in shots. 

The win boosted Thunderbirds to 4-18 and 2-7 in Badger West Conference play. Thunderbirds were scheduled to wrap up conference play Friday (Feb. 4) on home ice against the Badger West Conference leading Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

That will leave two games next week, the final home contest against the Avalanche at 7 p.m. Tuesday and its final game on the road in Waupun two days later, followed by playoffs which will get underway the following week. 

Warbirds snap Lightning streak at Pierce Park

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team saw its four-game winning streak come to an end with a tough 6-1 loss against the Warbirds (out of Fond du Lac) on home ice Tuesday (Feb.1) evening at Pierce Park Pavilion. 

The Warbids dominated on offense, outshooting its host 42-17, including a 13-5 margin in the opening period that allowed the visitors to jump into a 3-0 lead.  

The Warbirds added two more unanswered middle period goals, both teams notching one down the stretch. 

Lightning junior Kayla Capener spoiled the shutout bid of junior Warbirds’ goaltender, Hailee Scheier with a set-up from senior Signe Begalske. 

The score may have overshadowed another strong effort between the pipes from Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada who stopped 35 shots including all but one of 12 in the final period. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 8-10 on the season and the team was scheduled to be back in action on Thursday (Feb. 3) with another home match against the always tough Cap City Cougars.  

Nick Mast hatty enough to Eagles against T-Birds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles kept a long winning streak alive but got a strong push back from the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 25). 

The team’s hottest shooter of late, senior Nick Mast fired all three Eagles goals, the lone goal of the first period and two more in the middle period before Thunderbirds’ sophomore Carson Zick fired his team’s only goal late in the second period. 

Sauk junior Luke Mast collected a couple assists in the game with others for senior Erik Peterson and sophomore Steven Romaker.

Senior Oliver Scanlan and sophomore Dylann Carpenter picked up assists for the Thunderbirds.

T-Birds’ senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl stopped 29 of 32 shots he faced including all 16 thrown at him in the third period while Eagles’ junior goaltender Brooks McInerney picked up with the win with 10 stops. 

The Eagles’ extended its current winning streak to 11 games, dating back to Dec. 20 and boosted its overall record to 14-2 and its conference record to 5-2.  

The Eagles have five games remaining to play, beginning Tuesday (Feb. 1) when the RWD Cheavers, one of only two teams to defeat the Eagles this season, pay a visit to Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) at 7 p.m.  

Thunderbirds drop to 3-16 on the season so far and 1-7 in Badger West Conference play. The team will play a pair on the road, Thursday (Jan. 27 at McFarland) and Tuesday (Feb. 1) at SLICE in Monroe, before returning to the Pierce Park Pavilion to take on Madison Edgewood Feb. 4.  

Following those three games, the Thunderbirds will have two left on its regular season schedule. 

State conteding Lynx handle Lightning

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team entertained the Metro Lynx Monday (Jan. 24) at Pierce Park Pavilion and found out the talent level of one of the state’s top teams.  

Ranked in the state’s top six all season long, the Lynx grabbed a 4-0 first period lead and never looked back on its way to an 8-0 win. 

The Lynx went to work in the first period scoring three times in 1:58 in the middle of the period on its way to a 4-0 first period cushion, adding two more in the second and third frames. 

Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada was kept busy with a shots margin of 43-8 for the visitors. 

Pacing the Lynx was junior Anna Faulkner with two goals and an assist while senior Ally Jacobsen added a goal and two helpers.  

The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-8 in regular season play and 3-6 in Badger Conference contests. Next up for the Lightning will be a home Conference game against the Viroqua Blackhawks at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Jan. 25) followed by five straight road contests that will carry the team into February. 

The Lightning has a total of 10 games to play before the regular season ends on Feb. 11.