Local youth hockey teams named

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info.

All three of the Sauk County Youth Hockey organizations have announced players on at least a few of their teams.

The Sauk Prairie Flyers and Sauk Prairie Monkeys will have a total of 13 teams at the compertitive levels — two each at the Squirt, Peewee and Bantam levels for the Flyers as well as the 10U and 14U levels for the Monkeys. The Monkeys will boast an amazing three teams at the 12U level.

There are also 39 players registered at the 8U (Mite) level cross-ice programs and another 44 are signed up at the 6U Beginner levels

For more information on the rosters of the various Sauk Prairie teams for the upcoming seasons, visit the organization’s website at https://www.saukprairiehockey.com/ and look under the Teams tabs.

RWD has named both its Bantam and Mite Rosters and with final tryouts at the Squirt and Peewee level taking place late last week, the two teams at each level will also be named in the next day or so as well.

This week, the Squirts and Peewees have pre-season schedules practice with regular schedules next week and season openers as early as the Oct. 29-31 weekend.

For more information on the RWD teams, check out the organizations website https://www.rwdhockey.com/ and visit the team or ice schedule links.

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Youth Hockey organization has printed rosters of its competitive teams at the Squirt, Peewee and Bantam levels as well as the 14U Badger Lightning squad.

For more on the Thunderbirds and Badger Lightning visit the organization’s website at https://www.thunderbirdyouthhockey.com/.

New look Ultimate Tournaments returns

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Ultimate Tournaments has been a part of the regular hockey season in Sauk County for more than a decade. This year the tournament series will return with its regular dates, including some massive events on Martin Luther King Weekend in January and President’s Day weekend in February.


The tournament offers a unique hockey experience for the teams that attend, with deals offered in the community’s top waterpark resorts, offering a great family weekend with parents and children provided with an exciting experience on and off the ice.


Ultimate Tournaments owner, John Schwarz and Tournament Director Johnny Schwarz also provide weekend jobs for dozens of referees, scorekeeper/timekeepers and directors in more than one location.

The Lake Delton Ice Arena is generally the primary arena on tournament weekends, but Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA), Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo and the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) frequently host games as well. Ice time rentals in Reedsburg, Baraboo and Sauk Prairie directly benefit the youth hockey organizations in all three communities.


Old School hospitality and updates is combined with modern era methods in making the players, parents and coaches up to date on all that is happening. In the arenas, Paper schedule/standings sheets are updated within minutes of the completion of every game and updates are also available online at http://www.ultimatetournaments.com thanks to John Schwarz who uses a home office in Chicago to keep everyone posted, often to events in more than one location on the same weekend. Schwarz’s office is jokingly referred to as ‘Toronto,’ as it serves a similar function to the NHL’s replay center in the Canadian city.


Players have become familiar with the ‘goodies’ provided to team managers at the start of each event, providing some hockey related items to welcome the players to the Dells. Also provided is an information book outlining the many activities available in the Dells and the cloth bag the items come in is a handy piece of equipment the manager can use for the remainder of the season.
While the Dells is the original home for Ultimate Tournaments, Schwarz now runs similar events in St. Louis, Chicago and as of this season, South Bend, Indiana.
The tournaments have some new names and a new look this season. The Dells tournaments will start in with the ‘Northwoods Showdown ‘21 Nov. 12-14 followed a week later by ‘Bucks And Pucks.’


The Martin Luther King Weekend event is once again a double tournament now known as the Glacier King Championship. With an extra day available, this has traditionally seen several Friday to Sunday Divisions along with some that begin Saturday and wrap up on the holiday Monday. This year the events will be run together Jan. 14-16 and Jan. 15-17.
A week after, the Cheddar Cheese Classic will be held Jan. 21-23, 2022 and the Dairyland Classic will also debut in 2022.

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.

Cheavers split final two regular season contests

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Tonight’s the night.

The RWD Cheavers varsity hockey team wrapped up its hockey season this past week and heads into do-or-die action starting tonight in one of three Regional finals for WIAA Division 1 Section 3 .

But first, let’s wrap up the regular season.

The Cheavers had three games scheduled for its final week, but the first, a final home game, against the Janesville Bluebirds was cancelled due to threatening weather. The second half of a scheduled home-and-home set was played in Janesville Thursday (Jan. 28), the Cheavers collecting a 3-1 win. On Saturday, the season ended on a down note at the Omni in Onalaska as the home Hilltoppers handed the Cheavers a 7-2 defeat.

RWD Cheavers 3 @ Janesville Bluebirds 1

Despite a 13-8 edge in shots through the opening 17-minutes, the Cheavers found themselves looking up at a 1-0 deficit after a period in Janesville.

Senior Danny Ely pulled his team even, from senior defender Connor Schyvinck and sophomore Caden Brandt near the halfway mark of the middle period and then added another, unassisted about six minutes later.

Freshman Brady Baldwin added insurance with the lone goal of the third period from juniors Clayton Pfaff and Trevor Slaght.

Junior goaltender Cooper Oakes stopped 25 of 26, including everything he saw in the final two periods to collect the win in goal. The overall shots on goal were 32-26 in favor of the Cheavers but the Bluebirds held an 8-5 margin through the final period.

 

RWD Cheavers 2 @ Onalaska Hilltoppers 7

This game was settled in the opening period as the host Hilltoppers rolled to a 5-0 lead, outshooting its guests by a 13-4 margin.

To its credit, the Cheavers regrouped and played even the rest of the way.

Cheavers trailed 6-0 before junior Mitchell Henke found the mesh 3:58 from the end of the second period with help from freshman Brady Baldwin.

Caden Brandt notched his 23rd goal of the regular season just past the halfway mark of the final period from Schyvinck but Onalaska restored its five-goal cushion just a few minutes later.

Overall, the Hilltoppers held a 36-22 edge in shots.

 

Overall – 11-7-0

The Cheavers are not exactly limping to the post season but consider the team’s record following the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic win (7-2) and the second half (4-5) is not so flattering. There have certainly been some peaks and valleys in that stretch, but the bottom line for RWD is the team enters the post season with a 0-0-0 record and a chance to redeem itself from the drop of the puck.

As the number six seed, the Cheavers will host the 11th seeded Middleton Cardinals tonight (Tuesday, February 2). It’s certainly strange seeing this team ranked this low, but this has been a crazy year and the Cardinals have only five games played on its schedule – the only win coming this past Wednesday when the team shutout Sun Prairie 3-0. Ironically, that game was also placed at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) where the Cardinals and Cheavers will lineup tonight.

Winner of tonight’s game will play at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Thursday night. The locals would love a shot at redemption against the Sauk Prairie Eagles who spanked them 7-1 on Jan. 12.

First, they must get by the Cardinals.

WIAA Sectional playoff brackets set

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

All four area schools had at least one game added to their respective schedules Sunday (January 25) with the release of the WIAA Sectional Brackets for this spring.

As expected, Sauk Prairie drew the best seed of the local crew, set at #3 in the group, behind only the Madison Edgewood Crusaders and Verona Wildcats. Those three will draw a first round by along with number four Onalaska and number five Waunakee who will play each other in the Regional finals round.

The RWD Cheavers were granted the sixth seed and will open the post season at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the 11th ranked Middleton Cardinals. Winner of this match will advance to play at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) two nights later.

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will also get a first-round home game at Pierce Park Pavilion, also on Feb. 2 and also against the Cardinals…but out of Sun Prairie. Winner of this contest will draw a tough assignment, moving on to play the top seeded Edgewood Crusaders.

For the Badger Lightning, the six-team Sectional pool (Section 3) will begin play on February 4. The Badger Lightning have looked better each time it hits the ice, but unfortunately, that has not converted to wins and as a result, the Lightning, looking for its first playoff victory since 2012 will be placed as the sixth seed, traveling to Onalaska for its opening round contest against the Hilltoppers.

Ironically, the Lightning faces the same team tonight (Jan. 25)  at Pierce Park Pavilion so it will be interesting to see if coaches hold cards close to their chest in this one.

Following is a closer look at the first-round matchups.

 

RWD (10-6) vs. Middleton (0-3-1) – The Cardinals are generally among the favorites in this Section, but have possibly seen players jump to junior or AAA squads this season as the team played just a handful of contests and none at Capitol Ice in Middleton.

The two teams have met twice in the past, the Cardinals capturing a 3-2 win in the first meeting in the Fall of 2017 at Capitol Ice while the Cheavers collected a 2-1 win at RACA in February of 2019.

On paper, this is a tough match for the Cheavers against another opponent accustomed to deep playoff runs, but this year is a strange one and the Cardinals simply haven’t played enough games for a higher ranking.

Last year the Cheavers won its first-round game with a 1-0 shutout against Monroe, then dropped a heartbreaker to Edgewood in the second round, the winning goal in a 2-1 win coming in the final minute of the contest.

Middleton captured a 7-2 first round win against Tomah/Sparta but were ruled ineligible for the second round, Tomah/Sparta getting the spot instead.

Baraboo/Portage (7-10) vs. Sun Prairie (0-1) – The only game registered for the Cardinals this season is a 5-0 loss at Beaver Dam suffered on Saturday. The team is scheduled to play three times this week including twice (tonight, May 25 and Wednesday) at RACA against Waunakee and Middleton respectively.

These teams have never crossed paths, at least in the Baraboo/Portage history which goes back to 2010.

Last season the Thunderbirds drew the same seed and dropped a heartbreaker 3-1 against Madison Memorial at Pierce Park Pavilion while the Cardinals drew a first round bye and defeated Sparta/Tomah in the Regional finals before dropping a 3-2 edge in Sectional semis against Edgewood.

 

Badger Lightning (2-9-0) @ Onalaska Hilltoppers (2-3) — The Lightning faces a tough task entering the post season at the Omni as the team has not won a post season contest since the spring of 2012 and have never beaten the Hilltoppers, going back to the 2011-12 seasons. They have played at least once every season and twice a couple times, Onalaska winning by an average score of 6.72-2.09.

Teams meet tonight (Jan. 25) at Pierce Park Pavilion which will give a preview of what is to come. Lightning have looked better of late, limiting opponets to four goals or less in the past three games, but a tough 3-2 loss on the weekend at Brookfield has be considered a setback as the Lightning beat the same team 5-2 at Pierce Park in the second game of the season.

Tough lessons for youngest RWD squad will pay off in future

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The youngest competitive team in the RWD Cheavers’ stable continued its tough learning process on the weekend of Jan. 9-10 with some hard assignments on home ice against a pair of Wildcat teams. The lessons learned now will pay off in the future for the young pucksters.

The Squirt ‘B’ Cheavers dropped a tough 9-0 decision to Verona C2 Wildcats at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA)  in its first game and put up a stronger fight before ultimately falling 5-2 in another home contest against the Waunakee Wildcats the following day.

Busiest player in the first game was Cheavers’ goaltender Jase Uminski who faced a barrage. The lopsided score might have hidden the fact the Uminski stood tall in the crease, kicking out 30 shots along with the others that got by him.

Verona jumped into a 2-0 lead and added five more in the second along with another pair down the stretch.

Uminski stopped 13 of 15 in the opening period.

The following day, Waunakee jumped into a 2-0 first period lead before Rainier Scott’s unassisted goal cut the lead in half with just under five minutes to play in the second. The visitors added two more to extend its lead and both teams added one down the stretch.

Uminski skated out with Aria Gada getting a turn in goal and Uminski collected the third period goal for Cheavers, also unassisted.

Gada stopped 11 shots in the contest.

The losses dropped the Cheavers to 4-14-2 on the season so far.

After a game this past weekend was cancelled, the Squirts will next see action this coming weekend with a visit from the West Madison Polar Caps at RACA at 5:15 p.m. Sunday.

Back to back hat tricks for Stando

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

In a lead up to a key battle with Sauk Prairie, the RWD Peewee ‘B’ Cheavers put up three wins last weekend (Jan. 9-10) at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA).

On Saturday, the Cheavers were visited by the West Madison Polar Caps, capturing back-to-back wins, 6-4 and 10-2 in what was technically a home-and-home series. On Sunday, before heading to Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC), the Cheavers entertained the West Salem Panthers, handing them a 7-1 defeat.

The first game against the Polar Caps was the closest as the Cheavers carried a 2-1 lead out of the opening period and were still up by a goal, 4-3 heading to the third.

Noah Backeberg’s second of the game with 6:34 to play was the game winner and Dayne Wagner added another just over a minute later for insurance. Andrew Stando also scored twice, both he and Backeberg collecting an assist as well  and the other goal was scored by Cassidy Putz.

Olivia Renneberg picked up the win in goal, turning aside 23 shots in a game that saw RWD outshoot its opponent 32-27.

The second game saw the host Cheavers pile up a 5-0 first period cushion. The Polar Caps cut into it with a pair of unanswered second period goals, but the Cheavers responded with another four in the final frame.

Backeberg piled up another four goals for the Cheavers in the win, Andrew Stando adding three goals and an assist. Aiden Knull picked up a goal and assist in the contest with other goals for Putz and Mathew Stando. Nicholas Warneke and Wagner added assists. Renneberg kicked out 16 saves to pick up the win in goal.

A big first period carried the Cheavers again when the Panthers paid a visit Sunday as the locals owned a 5-1 cushion heading to the second, wrapping it up with unanswered single goals in both the second and final period.

Andrew Stando picked up his second straight hat trick in game, Mathew Stando, Knull and Wagner each adding a goal and assist with the other goal scored by Caydence Putz. Molly Stokes collected a pair of assists and Mason Mattson collected the win in goal, unbeaten in the final 38:42 of the contest.

 

 

 

Jorgenson helps power Flyers past Cheavers Peewee B’s

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Sauk Prairie Peewee ‘B’ Flyers and RWD Peewee ‘B’ Cheavers showed a potential preview to what could be a thrilling Regional match up in their meeting at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Sunday afternoon, the host Flyers rallying for a 2-1 win.

Dayne Wagner put the visitors up with the lone goal of the opening period, assisted by Cassidy Putz. That proved to be the only shot, of 15 to elude Flyers’ goaltender Jameson Ballweg in this contest.

The Flyers struck back in the middle period, Ryan Jorgenson connecting for the tying goal 5:07 into the period and then setting up the game winner, fired by Ethan Goodman about two minutes later.

The third period saw goaltenders facing the most shots, but Olivia Renneberg turned aside all nine shots she faced, on her way to a 29-save effort and Ballweg kicked out all eight Cheavers’ shots.

The last time these two teams met was also a single goal difference, the Flyers collecting a 6-5 win on Dec. 20 at Reedsburg Area Community Arena and they also squared off at SPARC back in late November, the Flyers capturing an 8-5 win.

Peewee 3B Regionals will be held in early February and the State Championship tournament for teams at this level will be played in Rhinelander March 13-14.

 

Griebe shutout leads Bantam Cheavers past Verona

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

A 17-save shutout for Alex Griebe helped the RWD Bantam Cheavers wrap up a 3-0 win against the Verona Wildcats at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) on Sunday (Jan. 10).

The Cheavers collected a goal in each period, waiting until the final seconds of the frame on the first two.

Tristan Edgerton collected the game winner converting a pass from Carter Renneberg as the buzzer sounded to end the first period and Bryton Clark notched the second just 14 ticks from the end of the middle period from Tye Barney and Jason Hess.

Nick McPherson added the insurance marker early in the final period from Alec Breunig and Renneberg.

RWD outshot the Wildcats 26-17, the widest margin coming in the middle frame when the home team held a 13-3 advantage.

The win boosted the team’s overall season record to 16-5 and this weekend the team hits the road to a Sparta tournament beginning Saturday with a 10 a.m. game against the Oregon Panthers and then back at 2 p.m. against the Sparta Spartans.

Bantam Cheavers have not played either team yet this season.

Next home game for the Cheavers will be next Saturday against Onalaska.

Tristan Edgerton’s goal at the first period buzzer ended up being the game winner on Sunday

Manley fires three to lift Cheavers past Wildcats

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

In between matches at the Dells Cup Tournament, the RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers jammed in two more with a pair of games against the Waunakee ‘B’ Wildcats at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) on Saturday.

The result was a split as the Wildcats collected a 4-2 win against the Cheavers Saturday morning, just 12 hours after its tournament opener on the same ice. The Cheavers salvaged a split with a 3-2 win in another game at 12:15, giving players time to rest up for another game Saturday night in tournament action.

In the first game, both teams scored in the first period, Landen Uminski scoring for the Cheavers and Trevor Day for the Wildcats.

Wyatt Arnold had a set up on the Uminski goal and collected another assist on a second period goal for Tyler Krieski.

Wildcats scored three times in the middle period, Rylan Port collecting the game winner and insurance goals with the other added by Paige Nowinski.

Jordan Kowalski stopped 19 of 23 shots in the game for the Cheavers who outshot their guest 26-23.

RJ Manley notched all three goals for the Cheavers in the second game, including the only goal of the opening period with a pass from Arnold.

Wildcats tied it up with a goal from Port early in the second, but Manley put the Cheavers into the lead again in the seventh minute of the period and then padded the margin with 2:51 to go in the frame after taking a pass from Elizabeth Haag.

Lilly Wagner scored for the Wildcats 58 seconds later, but that was as close as they could get thanks to Kowalski who kicked out all seven shots he faced in the third on his way to a 24-save effort. The Cheavers fired 35 shots the other way, including 15 in the opening period.

The win Saturday afternoon snapped a three-game skid for the Cheavers, its longest of the season.

The weekend matches move the Cheavers to 21-11 on the season  and the teams head into a well-deserved rest this weekend before heading North for a tournament in Rice Lake Jan. 23-25.

RJ Manley finished off his hat trick with 2:51 to play in the second period.