Overtime fatal for Cheavers again in Onalaska

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
The RWD Cheavers have lost eight times this season, (as of Jan. 24) but there hasn’t been much separation between them and the victors on most nights.


On Tuesday (Jan. 24) the Cheavers lost its third extra-time decision of the season as the host Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers spoiled a great road game with a 4-3 overtime decision.


Of the nine defeats, three have been in extra time and the team has never been separated by more than two goals.
At Onalaska, the Cheavers opened a 2-0 lead with two goals in 21 seconds in the second period but it was 2-1 entering the middle period and Onalaska pulled even at 3-3 just 21 seconds after the visitors moved in front for a second time in the final period.


Sophomore Matt Tillman gave the Hilltoppers its first and only lead of the contest with his goal 78 seconds into overtme.


Senior Caden Brandt and junior Andrey Tougas notched the Cheaver first period goals with assists for senior Carsen Brandt along with juniors Brady Baldwin and Trey Lariden.


The Cheavers will stay on the road with a tough assignement againt the undefeated (in conference play) Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Friday (Jan. 27) at LeBahn Ice Arena, then return home to face the DeForest Norskies in its Badger Challenge match on Monday.


Baldwin took a feed from Brandt and buries his second period goal putting the Cheavers in front again at 3-2.
Sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe stopped 28 of 32 through the regulation periods and overtime segment.
The Cheavers fired 26 at the oppositemend including a 2-1 margin through the brief overtime.

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

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. 

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.

Griebe shutout, Scott hatty pace Cheavers past Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The first of two annual meetings refueling the RWD Cheavers vs. Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds rivalry wrapped up Saturday (Dec. 10) at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo and went to the Cheavers 5-0. 

John Scott, pictured here in a game earlier this season, picked up a natural hat trick with three second period goals against the Baraboo-Portage Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Pavilion Saturday (Dec. 10). Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

A pair of sophomore goaltenders continued awesome campaigns, Alex Griebe earning his first varsity shutout for the Cheavers while Burke Schweda turned in another awesome performance, stopping 42 of 47 albeit once again in a losing cause.  

The Thunderbirds have scored just two goals this season and this game marked the fifth time the team has had a shutout hung on it. 

The Cheavers got another big game from senior John Scott who notched a hat trick while juniors Iszak Elder and Brady Baldwin counted the other goals, Elder and senior defender Logan DeMars both collected a couple assists as well.  

Other assists came from junior Trey Lariden, senior Lukas Vana and freshman RJ Manley. 

Elder’s goal was the game winner, scored just past the seven-minute mark of the opening period before Scott contributed a natural hatty, all three coming in the second frame. Baldwin rounded it out with the lone final period tally, 5:28 into the frame. 

Both teams entered the contest without a conference  win and desperate to get on track. The Cheavers boosted its conference record to 1-2 and its overall mark to 3-3 and the Thunderbirds remain winless in seven and have dropped four Badger West contests.  

Both will be in action Tuesday, the Cheavers facing defending conference champion Madison Edgewood Crusaders at Reedsburg Area Community Arena and the Thunderbirds hit the halfway mark in conference at Oregon against the host Panthers.  

Goaltender Alex Griebe, pictured here in a game earlier this season, stopped all 12 shots fired at him Saturday (Dec. 10) to collect his first varsity shutout against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at PIerce Park Pavilion. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Clary lifts Eagles to overtime win at RACA

By JIm den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
The Sauk Prairie Eagles stayed undefeated in Badger West Conference play as Landon Clary notched an overtime game winner lifting the guests to a 4-3 win Tuesday night at Reedsburg Area Community Arena.


While the win boosted the Eagles to 3-0 in conference matches and 5-1 overall, the host RWD Cheavers fell under .500 at 2-3 and 0-2 in Conference — both league losses coming in overtime.
Both teams are looking to find their way without their top offensive threats as seniors Caden Brandt of the Cheavers and Luke Mast of the Eagles are both out with injuries. The loss of Brandt might not be as permanent though as tests after the game in Oregon found a bad sprain opposed a broken or fractured bone.


In this game, the Eagles went to work early, junior Garret Mittelsteadt connecting for the first goal of the night in the second minute, from junior Karsyn Banta and Colin Harrington. Senior Blake Howery added another for the Eagles from junior Steven Romaker just before the 10-minute mark, but RWD sophomore Kaden Uminski struck back just 35 seconds later converting a feed from freshman RJ Manley to get the Cheavers within a goal.
That held up until late in the middle period when RWD senior John Scott notched his fourth of the season, unassisted to even the score. Sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner put the Eagles in front again before the end of the period with help from Harrington and freshman Landon Froese.
Senior defenseman Lukas Vana scored the lone third period goal from junior Brady Baldwin setting the stage for the overtime frame.
Senior Landon Clary stepped up as the overtime hero for the Eagles with his unassisted goal in the sixth minute.


Senior Kaden Stracke collected the win in goal for the Eagles, his fourth of the season with 25 saves on 28 shots while sophomore Alex Griebe kicked out 23 shots for the Cheavers.
The Eagles have played all but one game so far this season on the road and will get a chance to face one more tough road test Thursday at LeBahn Arena in Madison when they square off with the Madison Edgewood Crusaders.
This game has added importance as the Eagles and defending conference champion Crusaders are the lone undefeated teams in conference — the Eagles at 3-0 and the Crusaders with two wins.
The Eagles will finally play in front of friendly fans on Tuesday (Dec. 13) when they host the Monroe Cheesemakers at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) but then head on the road for another pair.
The Cheavers will look to get their own conference season on track Saturday when they travel to Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo for a 7 p.m. faceoff against the host Thunderbirds, then return home for a Tuesday night contest against the Crusaders and a Friday game against the Cheesemakers, taking them to the halfway mark of their Badger West Conference schedule.

Jicha spoils valiant comeback by RWD

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Alec Jicha brought a disappointing finish to a hard fought, gritty and emotional contest for the RWD Cheavers at Oregon Ice Arena Friday (Dec. 2) night, sinking the game winner of a 3-2 Conference contest in overtime. 

After a tough start, the odds stacked further against the visiting Cheavers when one of the state’s top players, senior Caden Brandt was forced to leave the game with an apparent lower leg injury.  

Down 2-0 late in the opening period, the Cheavers were threatening on a powerplay with a flurry around the Oregon Panthers’ goal but when the whistle sounded, Brandt was on the ice and ultimately had difficulty getting up. He was eventually helped off the ice and the game continued.  

If the Cheavers felt sorry for themselves, it didn’t show as senior John Scott snapped home the team’s first goal before the end of the period and still on the powerplay. Fellow seniors Carsen Brandt and Logan DeMars had the assists. 

Caden Brandt’s regular linemates – senior Scott and junior Brady Baldwin picked up their own game following his injury and utility player, junior Iszak Elder filled in flawlessly to round out the line. Scott and Baldwin teamed up on the tying goal, Scott dropping a perfect pass that Baldwin slammed home 4:19 from the end of the period. Senior defenseman Lukas Vana also collected an assist. 

Following a scoreless final period teams headed to overtime and junior Andrew Jicha ended the game just before the end of the second period. Jicha, the lone remaining member of the Panthers’ powerful top line from last season, also opened the scoring for the Panthers and set up the second goal, scored by senior Edgar Nieto.  

Sophomore Alex Griebe stopped 32 of 35 shots in goal for the Cheavers while senior Josh Kean handled 25 of 27 for the Panthers.

The loss dropped the Cheavers to 2-2 on the season and 0-1 in Badger West Conference play while the Panthers avoided an 0-2 start to league play with the win while boosting their regular season record to 2-1. 

 The game is the first of five straight conference matches for RWD and the loss adds some importance to its next match at home at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the Sauk Prairie Eagles. 

Iszak Elder did a great job moving up from the blue line to fill in with John Scott and Brady Baldwin after the injury to Caden Brandt at Oregon Ice Arena Frdaiay. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

 

Alec Jicha (6) scored twice for the host Panthers including the overtime game winner Friday night, but sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe made the stop on this opportunity. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Cheavers double up Robins 4-2 in Somerset Conso

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Cheavers rebounded from a tough loss Friday, doubling the Antigo Red Robins 4-2 to capture the Consolation title at the Somerset Invitational Tournament on Saturday. 

Cheavers were led by senior John Scott who set up three, but the final score flatters the Red Robins as the Cheavers dominated them with a 48-11 edge in shots on goal. 

Junior Brady Baldwin fired his second of the season and second of the weekend to put the Cheavers in front, from Scott and senior Carsen Brandt with the lone goal of the first period in the 10th minute. 

Robins dressed just 10 skaters for the contest but kept it close and Paden Michalik pulled them even early in the middle period. Junior Iszak Elder put the Cheavers up again 9:04 into the period with his first of the season, helped by junior Andrey Tougas and Scott.  

That 2-1 cushion help up into the final period when Tougas hit the net with the game winner early in the period, from senior Logan DeMars and junior Trey Lariden. 

Riley Leveque got the Robins within a goal again near the halfway mark of the final frame setting the stage for senior Caden Brandt who sank his fourth of the campaign on a feed from Scott 91 seconds later.  

Scott (2g, 3a) and Caden Brandt (4g, 1a) share the overall team scoring lead three games in with five points apiece.  

Alex Griebe collected his second win of the season in goal for the Cheavers. 

While the Cheavers moved to 2-1 on the season, the Robins fell back to 2-2 heading into play in the Great Northern Conference, Somerset Spartans captured the championship of its own event with a 3-2 win against the Eau Claire North Huskies later Saturday.

The Cheavers will enjoy a few days off allowing them to prepare for the Badger West Conference opener at Oregon Ice Arena against the host Panthers on Friday. 

Next home game for the Cheavers will be at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) Tuesday, Dec. 6, the second of five straight conference matches that will carry them to the league’s halfway mark before Christmas for a second consecutive season. 

Scott scores two but Huskies hold off Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

For a second straight season the RWD varsity Cheavers ran into a tough Eau Claire North Huskies team at the Somerset Invitational tournament.

This time around teams met in their respective opening games at the tournament, the Huskies advancing to the championship game with a 5-3 win against the Cheavers. Both the game winning and game clinching goals came in the final four minutes of the contest. 

Teams traded goals through the first period, senior Nick Thompson firing his first of three in the game 5:13 into the contest before Brady Baldwin notched his first of the campaign about four minutes later, unassisted on the Cheavers’ powerplay. 

The lone goal of the second period came seven seconds into the session, senior John Scott burying his first of two in the contest and first of the season with just seven ticks off the clock. This goal was also unassisted. 

The Huskies rallied to tie the score 4:25 into the final period, Thompson pulling the trigger again and senior Brayton Thillman put them in front again at the 9:17 mark.  The lead lasted just 27 seconds before Scott buried his second of the game, from senior Caden Brandt. 

Thompson connected on a powerplay with 3:28 to go to finish off his hat trick and before the final buzzer Thillman added another as well. 

Sophomore Alex Griebe kicked out 26 of 31 shots in the contest while senior Tristan Bock collected the win in the season opener for the Huskies with 24 saves.  

The other game in the four-team tournament matched 2-0 Antigo Red Robins against Somerset Spartans, setting up a consolation match between the Red Robins and Cheavers Saturday while the Spartans and Huskies were scheduled to play for the championship. 

Brandt fires three to lead RWD past Red Raiders in opener

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Three goals from senior captain Caden Brandt and 26 stops for sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe led the RWD Cheavers to a 4-1 win at Reedsburg Arena Community Arena (RACA) in its 2022-23 WIAA season opener against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Tuesday night.


The Red Raiders are frequently among the first competitors for the Cheavers and the win Tuesday avenged a season opening loss in Wisconsin Rapids last season.


While Brandt found the mesh for three of the four RWD goals, the team showed off three solid lines and appeared to be in control for much of the contest, although shots on goal show the visitors with a 27-17 overall margin.
Czech exchange student Lukas Vana made his presence felt in his first WIAA contest. A defenseman, he showed off a strong 200-foot game and he stepped up from the blueline to collect his first varsity goal, the game winner, giving the Cheaves a 2-1 cushion in the final minute of the opening period.
Brandt notched the first of the game on a feed from twin brother Carsen Brandt 9:38 into the contest but Carter Morrison evened it up just 45 seconds later on a powerplay, unassisted.


Brandt scored the other two goals, 1:50 apart in the second period. The first had set ups from Vana and Logan DeMars and the other was a solo effort, sniped from about 30 feet out.
Griebe made the lead stand up, blocking all 16 shots in the final two periods to help the Cheavers collect the win.
Like last season, the Ducks will head to Somerset for the post-Thanksgiving weekend to compete a four-team event.
First up will be last season’s tournament champion Eau Claire North Huskies from the Big Rivers Conference on Friday with a 2 p.m. faceoff and the Cheavers will wrap it up Saturday against either Somerset Spartans from the Middle Border Conference or Antigo Red Robins from the Great Northern Confernce.
The Cheavers will follow that up with five straight Badger West Conference matches, beginning on the road in Oregon Dec. 2 against the Panthers with the next home game at RACA Dec. 6 against the Sauk Prairie Eagles.