By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info Having arrived in town at the end of the Labor Day weekend, the Dells Ducks will enter a final tune-up on home ice at the Lake Delton Ice Arena this weekend giving locals a chance to get a preview on what should be a turnaround season. With 30 players on the roster, including former RWD goaltender Cooper Oakes, the Ducks headed to Oshkosh to take on the UW-Oshkosh ACHA squad Friday (Sept. 16) and Saturday with some interesting results.
While the Titans captured 4-1 and 7-1 wins in the game, the Ducks held a wide margin in shots, reportedly topping 50 in both games. It has been a while since a Ducks’ team racked up a total like that. Rookie Nolan Winkler (’05/Plano, IL) scored for the Ducks in the first game and the second game goal was scored by Associate Captain Adam Brown (’02/Westmont, IL), a forward/defenseman back for a third season with the Ducks with a season in Hershey, PA in between. Head Coach Anthony Rohde was mostly happy, in particular with several younger players battling nerves in the second game. “We dressed a lot of rookies in the second game,” said Rohde in a telephone interview. “It took two periods for the team to really start playing.” Poor ice conditions and a good defensive gameplan for the Titans played a part as well said the coach. This weekend the locals will play host to a Showcase type tournament with split squads from both the Ducks and the Chicago Cougars a well as a team made up of Wisconsin Riverkings players and college club teams from UW-La Crosse and Aurora University. The Ducks will kick off the event Friday (Sept. 23) with back-to-back games against the Cougars at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. In all, both Ducks teams (Ducks White and Ducks Purple) will play four times, the finale on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. matching the teams in a Purple vs. White head-to-head match. In all there will be a dozen games played at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. Admission is free but the team will have a place for donations to help Jacob Cartland, a forward with the Ducks last season and a standout at the varsity level with the Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc club before that. Cartland is battling hard to recover from some horrific injuries after a car crash earlier this month. Follow the link below for a full season schedule for the Dells Ducks including all 12 games for this weekend. https://www.dellsduckshockey.net/seasonschedule Duckprints — Oakes is one of five goaltenders currently battling for ice time with the Ducks. The team invited members of the RWD varsity team to join them this weekend and it appears junior forward Brady Baldwin will take them up on the offer.
— Ducks will open the USPHL Premier Midwest-West regular season a week from Friday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings.
— A third member of last season’s RWD club will also be playing in the tournament. Rookie forward Trevor Slaght has been in Chicago since Labor Day weekend with the Cougars and last weekend made a successful junior debut with a goal on the team’s opening weekend at the Fifth Third Arena in Chicago on a two-game weekend against the visiting Motor City Gamblers.
By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info The Dells Ducks are back in town and early indications show a team ready to return to the upper echelons of the USPHL Premier Midwest-West Division.
After five seasons with mostly young and inexperienced players trying to learn on the fly, the Ducks have a full roster of nearly 30 players — some returners, some with previous junior or college experience and some high-quality prospects making the jump from successful high school careers. The team has returned to its roots in recent seasons with the return of Shaun Falzone, the team’s original (2011-12) Head Coach who is now the new team owner. This season Falzone has kicked himself upstairs to the office allowing him to look after the business side of things while one of his former players steps in as Head Coach.
Anthony Rohde was a player on that original squad and in two seasons since returning as an Assistant Coach and advisor he has become a popular local figure as his tireless efforts have seen him help not only the Ducks, but many of the local varsity and youth teams as well. This is much is certain to anyone who has watched Rohde in the past few seasons, he will be tireless and relentless in carving out a winning team in the Dells. The loosely tied, heck, practically untied skates are generally on his feet from sunup to sundown and when he is not on the ice, he is standing in the lobby, cup of coffee in hand, talking hockey with anyone who wants to strike up a conversation. Rohde’s hockey connections in Illinois and Wisconsin have helped him put together a lineup that will compete hard on weekends after being forced to compete equally as hard through the week just to earn a spot on that roster. Back for a second season with Rohde is Mario Lachica, cut from the same mold as Rohde. They played college hockey together in Aurora and are more than familiar with each other’s styles having spent much of the last decade working together with different teams. Another former college teammate and former Ducks player, Kevin Salinas, the team’s second captain (2012-13) will also be on the bench this season. This trio may appear mostly soft spoken in public, but make no mistake, they are here to construct a winning team and with the number of players currently signed, they have options if they don’t like what they see. The Ducks enjoyed one day of relaxation, the day after Labor Day when they arrived in town. Since then, they have been working hard, first off the ice, and as of Monday (Sept. 12) on the ice as well. The first pre-season test for the Ducks will take place this weekend when they head to Oshkosh to play games Saturday and Sunday against the UW-Oshkosh Titans ACHA squad. The first game will be at 7 p.m. Saturday with a second game at 3 p.m. Sunday. The following weekend, the team will host a pre-season tournament at the Lake Delton Ice Arena with both junior and college teams taking part. The Chicago Cougars from the Midwest-East Division along with Midwest-West rival Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings will take part along with ACHA college squads from Aurora University in Illinois and UW La Crosse. Both the Ducks and Cougars will split their team into two squads for the tournament so there will be plenty of chance to see the team in action. The Ducks will also open its regular season and as has been custom in recent seasons, there will be a healthy helping of home games out of the gate. Beginning September 30 against the Rivkerkings, the Ducks will open the USPHL Midwest-West schedule with seven straight home games in 16 days. Among the differences this season, the team will not make a trip East for a Showcase in New England, instead playing three Showcase tournaments all in the Midwest. The first will be Oct. 27-30 at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, MN and new this season will be trip to the Motor City for another four games Nov. 18-20. The final Showcase will be the Chicago event, once again sending the Ducks into the Christmas Break, Dec. 16-19. The Ducks have traditionally returned from the Christmas Break and headed straight to the Boston area for its third tournament, but with that out of the way, the team will be able to focus on the regular season homestretch with its final 13 games, all against Midwest-West rivals. Watch this space in the days ahead, including the announcement of team captains and possibly some other big news for the local fans.
Trevor Slaght has worn a lot of hockey jerseys over the years and Wednesday night he added his latest, the Chicago Cougars.
As a product of the Wisconsin Dells area, Slaght played with the Dells/Delton Blades, South Central Cyclones and finally RWD Cheavers through his youth and varsity high school seasons.
The Cougars play in the USPHL Midwest-East division, made up primarily of teams in the Chicago-Detroit corridor, but also including Decatur south of Chicago.
A four-year starter with the varsity hockey team, Slaght appeared in 79 games, scoring 27 goals and collecting 61 points.
His career highlight came in the spring of 2021 when Slaght, as a member of the Janesville Jets U18 team played a part in a USA Hockey Tier 2 National Championship. It was a bittersweet moment for Slaght who suffered and acl injury in the national championship game which sidelined him until nearly Christmas.
Slaght worked hard though and returned earlier than expected from the injury. He made his presence felt almost immediately with the RWD varsity team and wrapped up his senior season with 12 goals and 24 points in just 14 games.
When Slaght returned on Dec. 21 against Tomah/Sparta, the Cheavers had stumbled to a 5-5 start to the season. After his arrival they posted a 13-1 record the rest of the way although the playoffs ended a little earlier than expected, on home ice against the rival Sauk Prairie Eagles.
The Cougars, coached by former Dells Ducks Head Coach Josh Dallman and former Dells Ducks players, Johnny and Cory Schwarz are familiar with Slaght both as a player and as an official at most of the local versions of Ultimate Tournaments.
The team gains a player blessed with solid speed and hands, a great hockey IQ and the ability to find open ice.
“We are excited to add Trevor Slaght to the Cougars roster,” said Coach Dallman in a telephone text interview. “With his skill, work ethic and leadership he will be a great addition to our team.”
Slaght is the second member of the RWD varsity team to make the jump to junior hockey as Cooper Oakes is a few weeks away from joining the Willmar Warhawks of the NA3HL as well.
Local fans will get a chance to see Slaght and the Cougars in action as the team is scheduled to take part in a pre-season tournament, hosted by the Dells Ducks at Lake Delton Ice Arena Sept. 23-25.
Sherman Mowery, one of the Dells Ducks’ all-time leaders was back in town for a visit with his billet family this week.
Mowery, a native of Grand Rapids, MI played the 2014-15 season as well as the next two campaigns with the Ducks, totaling 60 goals and 128 points, both second most in team history.
The 5’11” 200 lbs. Forward moved on to play hockey and attend school at Davenport University before joining the work force the following season. Most of that time has been spent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and this past season, he once again suited up for a competitive season.
After three years away from the game, Mowery joined his hometown Calumet Wolverines in the Great Lakes Hockey League, competitive full contact senior league.
In 18 regular season games with the Wolverines, Mowery notched four goals and collected 16 points. He followed that up, playing a part in the Gibson Cup Championship win for the team.
Mowery said he enjoyed the return to competitive hockey and he is already looking forward to the 2022-23 GLHL season.
While in the area, Mowery visited the Barney family on Coon Bluff Road, the same family he spent parts of all three seasons with while with the Ducks. Mowery spends some time on the road in his inside sales position with Gator Bar, a fibreglass Rebar company and whenever possibly, he stops in to see is old friends.
By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info While there were marked improvements over the previous season, the 2021-22 campaign was a rough one for the Dells Ducks junior hockey team.
But one of the best diamonds in the rough to emerge from the year was the play of rookie defenseman Jack Kopfstein, (‘05/Vista, CA). An online search by the young defender, looking to find a higher level of play than what was available on the left coast couldn’t have worked out better for team or player. “Yes, I found the Ducks by searching online and looking around for junior teams to play,” said the smooth skating defender.” As a result, he attended a spring prospects camp in Lake Delton and both sides couldn’t be happier they crossed paths. “Probably one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Kopfstein who before a season ending injury suffered just before Christmas, collected three goals and a dozen assists for 15 points, equalling a club record for points by a 16-year-old set by forward Jacob Cameron in 2017-18 despite playing just 29 games. Despite being one of the youngest players on the team, Kopfstein seemed a perfect fit on the blue line and was perhaps the team’s most consistent and solid defenders on both ends of the rink. Kopfstein said it did not come so easy on or off the ice. “It was definitely not as easy as it seemed,” insisted Kopfstein. I had to put in a lot of work during practice and during extra skates. The transition wasn’t too bad. The toughest thing for me was living away from home. The first month was a big change but after that it was easier.” Kopfstein said the game is played differently in the Midwest than in California which added to the adjustment period.
“The style of play in the Midwest is much more physical and faster than California hockey,” said Kopfstein who clearly made the adjustments he needed to make. While the injury ended his season early, Kopfstein has spent much of the summer off season in Illinois working with Rohde to continue his march up the learning curve. “My training with Coach Rohde has been great. We’ve already made major progress from last season. I have high expectations for myself, and the bar is higher for the start of the season,” said Kopfstein. The coach is equally as impressed with his young defenseman. “We are excited to have him back this season and look forward to seeing his speed going up the ice on the rush,” said Rohde adding he wanted to wish Kopfstein luck as he attends the main camp for the Tier 2 North Iowa Bulls next month. “My goals for the season are to triple my points and be more of a leader. I could quarterback the team, mainly on the power play. I think our team has a shot at having a top powerplay. Kopfstein will get a chance to meet his new teammates this weekend when the Ducks host its tryout camp in Naperville, IL.
A few years ago, I was talking with a coach who said he wished there was an all-area team based on an all-City varsity team put together by a Madison newspaper.
I have wanted to do that but have been shy as it is completely opinion based and opens the door for criticism. This season in particular, the talent level is sky high on all four Sauk County varsity teams making it difficult to decide.
I have decided to put my selections out there and I invite others to put their own list together. Points, leadership, and consistency were the prime consideration in putting this together but there are no formulas because, well, I hate math.
I have four full lines of players and four goaltenders on the first three lines. I am picking a player of the year and future stars as well.
Let the debate begin
Jimmy D’s All-Saukhockey.info teams.
Nick Mast (Sauk Prairie Eagles) – Mast’s inclusion on here is a slam dunk. He put up 43 goals and 68 points this season to wrap up a massive four season (regular season only) total of 101 goals and 194 points. He is the first player to put up a three-digit goal total and his 194 points leaves him second behind only the amazing 240 point run of Riley Jelinek.
I attended a few pre-season Captain’s practices and Mast was a leader on the ice during those sessions as well as others and he is generous, working with youth players in town as well.
CJ Pfaff (RWD Cheavers) — Pfaff has always made his presence felt with RWD, but this season he led by example from start to finish. The line of Pfaff/Slaght/Caden Brandt was one of the most potent trios in the RWD team’s history and might have been overshadowed slightly in a season that saw some amazng top lines in Sauk (Mast/Mast/Peterson), Oregon and Madison Edgewood.
A constant scoring threat, Pfaff increased his value by being so effective in his own end and perhaps the best penalty killer in the conference.
Luke Mast (Sauk Prairie Eagles) — The lone non-senior on the first line, Luke Mast got the nod for me ahead of the other RWD players based on the playoff head-to-head meeting.
Luke outpointed his brother this season by a point and was among the state leaders in assists with 47. Of course, it helps having a guy like his older brother pulling the trigger on a lot of those passes. Luke will be the obvious leader for the Eagles next season.
Hakon Peterson (Sauk Prairie Eagles) – The Eagles showed in its playoff game in Reedsburg this season, it can hold on to a narrow lead through a period or more. Peterson was the defensive leader for this team and a key part of the offense, in particular on powerplays with 10 goals and 36 points.
Grant Marsich (RWD Cheavers) — Like Peterson, Marsich was effective at both ends of the ice. A physical defender he played with a chip on his shoulder and enjoyed getting under the skin of opponents. He was on the ice in every situation for the Cheavers this season.
This would be a nice defensive combo with Peterson and Marsich both bringing a hard-hitting physical presence and comfortable in any game situation. Perhaps, we will get a chance to see this combo later this month at the Senior’s tournament.
Cooper Oakes (RWD Cheavers) – A starting goaltender for the Cheavers since his first game as a first year, Oakes won 18 this season, giving him a total of 52 victories, more than double any player that has gone to the crease since RWD was formed.
Able to put up a big game any time, Oakes’ biggest improvement this season was consistency. A critic would be hard pressed to produce a bad game for Oakes in goal in 2021-22.
Erik Peterson (Sauk Prairie Eagles) — A lanky, aggressive forward who can put the puck in the net , Peterson was the perfect fit with the Mast brothers. Coming off a 12-week run with Team Wisconsin that wrapped up on the eve of the WIAA regular season, Peterson was in mid-season form out of the gate and he contributed 16 goals and 38 points for the Eagles.
Caden Brandt (RWD Cheavers) — Like Luke Mast in Sauk, Caden Brandt will inherit the reins of the RWD Cheavers in 2022-23 and he has been a key player on the squad since his sophomore season. He was among the scoring leaders as a sophomore and added 15 points to his totals with 26 goals and 46 points this past season. He has already put up 91 points in 67 varsity contests and he will be among the team’s best by the time he finishes his senior season.
Kayla Capener (Badger Lightning) — A look at playoff results shows a Badger Lightning team making a first-round exit again. However, the team took a mighty step forward, closing in on the .500 mark with nine wins, matching its best season since 2015-16. Capener, named to the all-state squads as a sophomore, played a big part of that for the Lightning, collecting 16 goals and 38 points and becoming just the second player on the team to cross the 100-point plateau with her senior season yet to come. Her consistency was the most impressive part of her game. She collected points in 17 of the team’s 21 games, including a six-point game and two five-pointers.
Carsen Brandt (RWD Cheavers) — For a guy that wasn’t even supposed to play this season, Carsen Brandt, Caden’s twin brother couldn’t have made a bigger impression this season. Many were nervous about the RWD blue line heading into this season, but the emergence of Marsich combined with the stability and great 200-foot game of Brandt and the amazing play of Cooper Oakes in goal played a big part in the second in conference finish of the Cheavers in the opening season of Badger West action. He will be as important as his brother in 2022-23 and both will for sure be wearing letters on their jerseys.
Carson Blosenski (Badger Lightning) — Small but growing numbers for the Badger Lightning put Blosenski in a unique and tough position of being a leader on this team as both a junior and senior. Despite a marked improvement in the offensive play, thanks in part to a player infusion that took the team from two to three lines this past season, the d-corps and goalie were kept busier than normal this season and Blosenski was up to the task.
Kaden Stracke (Sauk Prairie Eagles) — The fourth junior on the line, Stracke turned in another awesome season in goal for the Eagles. Stracke turned in 11 regular season wins and two more in the post season for the Eagles. Stracke edged out Brooks McInerney again this season, but McInerney was right there with five wins and both goaltenders picked up shutouts. As seniors, Stracke and McInerney will be relied on to backstop an Eagles that will be looking to replace a lot of goals from graduating players.
Trevor Slaght (RWD Cheavers) — This might be an unpopular spot for Slaght, and it says here he deserves to be on one of the upper lines as well. The two factors that pushed him down a bit – both completely out of his control – are a late start due to acl injury and just a stellar cast this season on all four teams.
While the injury prevented him from scoring a higher spot on this team it is also part of what made Slaght’s season so amazing. First, he returned weeks earlier than expected from the injury, a tribute to his hard work off ice and in 14 regular season games played, he put up 12 goals and 12 assists, turned, put the team’s top line on a new level and played a part in helping a 5-5 team to an 18-6 final regular season record.
Oliver Scanlan (Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds) — Scanlan’s role might have been a little obscured on a team that not only featured a small number of seniors but saw some of them sidelined due to injury or illness for much of the campaign.
Scanlan and senior linemate, Gabe Fitzwilliams scored 23 goals between them which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that’s nearly half of the Thunderbirds’ 49-goal total. Scanlan shared the team scoring lead, adding seven assists to his total. Playing on a young team subjected to the adversity this team faced couldn’t have been easy, but Scanlan showed up and gave his best all season.
Signe Begalske (Badger Lightning) — Another player on the Badger Lightning who served two seasons as a ‘senior’ team member (the team had no seniors in 2020-21), Begalske enjoyed a big spike in scoring playing as a linemate with Kayla Capener. Begalske totaled 13 goals and 30 points, nearly doubling her 17 points from the previous campaign. Begalske showed a willingness to dig the puck out of corners for Capener or be the trigger-player herself with a rugged but clean game – Begalske sat just four minor penalties this season, one more than the previous year.
Ty Thompson (RWD Cheavers) — Thompson deserves a spot on this list as recognition of a solid role as a defensive defender for the Cheavers. He seldom hit the game sheet as an old school defensive defenseman, there are no stats that highlight the role he plays. Often partnered with a defender that likes to jump into the offensive play, Thompson looks after the house and often, rides a charging forward off the puck or at least gives them a low percentage outside opportunity.
Carson Zick (Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds) — Zick was another bright spot on a team that struggled due in part to injuries and illness and other adversity this past season, especially in the second half of the season when he became a game sheet regular.
Zick, a sophomore, collected nine goals and 19 points to share the team lead and he will no doubt be a leader even as a junior for the Thunderbirds in 2022-23.
Andrew Schaetzl (Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds)/Alyssa Gada (Badger Thunder) — It’s impossible to separate Schaetzl and Gada who both played huge roles on teams that seldom held the margin on the shot clock.
Schaetzl was another of the key seniors on a young Thunderbirds team. He faced an average of 37 shots per game and a 4.77 Goals Against Average and a .867 Save Percentage don’t tell the whole story of a player that was the last line of defense on a team that found it difficult to stop the attack.
The team’s two biggest games were wins against the Monroe Cheesemakers to clinch fifth spot in the Badger West Conference. In those games, Schaetzl handled 61 of 66 shots to help lift his team to two of its four regular season victories.
Gada, a sophomore was in a similar situation with the Badger Lightning. While the team showed a marked improvement this season, Gada was still accustomed to facing more shots that the opposing keeper.
She appeared in 19.13 games for the Lightning and faced an average of about 30 shots per game. She notched seven of the team’s nine wins including a pair of goose eggs, tying her for second overall for the team with Gabby Christensen and Kelcie McElhenie. She might not approach the 11 clean sheets that Jamie Dutton put up as a Lightning tender, but Gada still has two more seasons to make her mark in the blue paint.
Tomas Korndorfer (RWD Cheavers) – The Czech Republic exchange student was a huge surprise for the Cheavers, and he might have been the most dangerous player in the County this season inside of the opposition blue line. Almost all his goals were the highlight-reel type as he managed to often put it into the smallest openings. Korndorfer ripped 15 goals and 29 best, third best total on the team. With the arrival of Slaght near Christmas, Korndorfer combined with junior John Scott and sophomore Brady Baldwin to form a second high scoring line for RWD, a rarity in varsity hockey.
Micah Hanson (Sauk Prairie Eagles) — In what will likely be the final season of competitive hockey for the Division 1 Lacrosse recruit (Canisius College), Hanson put up 13 goals and 19 points. A special teams regular, 10 of Hanson’s goals came on powerplays, along with four assists. He also picked up an assist while shorthanded.
John Scott (RWD Cheavers)/Gabe Fitzwilliams (Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds – This decision was just too tough. The role Fitzwilliams played as a senior on Baraboo/Portage can’t be overlooked, but Scott enjoyed a breakthrough season and set himself up as a player that will be relied on heavily next season.
Fitzwilliams partnered with Oliver Scanlan to collect 18 points forming a dangerous combo on offense for a team that struggled to find the net. He came up big in big games, scoring five of his 12 goals in the four Thunderbird wins including the overtime game winner against Tomah/Sparta on the road in the T-Birds’ second game of the season.
Scott was a deadly triggerman, scoring 14 goals and 19 points, most of his goals coming on one timers from the top of the crease. He benefited from having his billet brother (Korndorfer) on his line, scoring five goals at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic, shortly after the line was formed. In the first 11 games he scored twice, adding another dozen in the second half. Not shy about getting into the physical play, watch for Scott to be a heart and soul player for the Cheavers in his senior season.
Logan DeMars (RWD Cheavers) — DeMars stepped up his play this past season and with the graduation of Marsich and Thompson, there will be big expectations from this lanky, physical defender who scored four goals and set up another half dozen this past season. DeMars, like Brandt, is a good 200-foot player, capable of carrying the puck and dish to potential goal scorers at the other end.
Eryn Benson (Badger Lightning) — Another junior that will be stepping into a leadership role, Benson is blessed with a powerful shot from the blue line, which helped her rack up five goals and 14 points for the Lightning this past season. She has made her presence felt since she was a first year, but this season’s 14 points showed a marked improvement in that area. On a team that spent a lot of time in its own end, Benson teamed with Blosenski to form a solid combo, limiting opposition chances.
Benson will be a key fixture on a Lightning team that will receive some valuable, but young additions in her senior season.
Honorable Mention – Who to Watch
Brady Baldwin (RWD Cheavers) — It’s hard to believe I couldn’t find a spot on these teams for this valuable player. In his first two seasons with RWD, Baldwin has put up 15 goals and another 15 assists and he was always on the ice with the game on the line. An agile and speedy skater he is equally comfortable as a setup man or a finisher.
Other RWD players to watch – Iszak Elder, Yevgeny Dedun and Trey Lariden
Luke Schweda (Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds) — A quick agile and physical player who has played both forward and defense, Schweda will be an anchor and a scoring threat for the Thunderbirds in his senior season).
Other Baraboo/Portage players to watch – Nathan Gneiser, Jordi Beale and Peyton Sloan.
Gunnar Nachreiner (Sauk Prairie Eagles) — Only in the lineup for 15 games this season, First year Nachreiner put up four goals and 12 points to finish sixth in team scoring. He is a good bet to be on one of the top lines in 2022-23 and beyond.
Other Sauk Prairie Eagles players to watch – Karsyn Banta, Ethan Tranel, Thor Peterson.
Bella Bowden/Mallory Ruland (Badger Lightning) — Limited to just a half dozen games and one goal this season, Bowden was one of the conference’s fastest skaters as a sophomore. In a perfect world, Bowden comes back for her senior season with something to prove and wreaks havoc on the Badger Conference.
Ruland also saw her points total dip a bit this past season playing on a different line. A potent sniper she found the net eight times though, which is one more than the previous season. As a senior leader she could combine with Bowden along with Capener and Reese Olson, who enjoyed a massive first season with nine goals and 19 points along with a host of younger and incoming players that will make the team bigger offensive threat.
Other Badger Lightning players to watch – Reese Olson, Lily McPherson, Kayla Garbacz.
Player of the Year – Cooper Oakes
This was an easier choice than I expected. That’s not to say there aren’t a host of candidates from all four teams.
What most fans saw was a goaltender that has had fans chanting his name since he played youth hockey add consistency to all the great attributes he had between the pipes. When the team got off to a slow start in the early games, it was the work of Oakes in the blue paint that kept games close. In previous seasons, his skills were on view in many games but there were games when the entire team, including Oakes were not on their game. He would be the first to agree with that assessment too.
This past season though, I am hard pressed to point to any games when the puck stopper wasn’t in perfect form.
What fans might not have seen – this was Oakes’ team this season. As a senior, he took the leadership role seriously, doing all he could to lead by example and not shy about playing bad cop when he thought it was necessary. If he didn’t think players were focused or pulling their weight, he was fine with letting them know. What made it ok was he didn’t expect any more out of his teammates than he expected out of himself.
Oakes is a three-sport athlete. He will move on to varsity baseball almost immediately, but his game is hockey. He will be playing junior hockey somewhere this fall and the team that lands him is lucky.
By Jim den Hollander
The RWD Peewee A Cheavers, closing in on their trip to the WAHA Peewee 3A State Championship tournament in Somerset March 12-13 got another tournament test this past weekend.
Looking to add to hardware collected as champions at the Ultimate Tournaments Dairyland Classic in all the local rinks the previous weekend, the Cheavers won two of three at a tournament in Green Bay last weekend (Feb. 26-27).
After opening the event with a 6-2 win against the Ozaukee Ice Dogs Saturday morning at Cornerstone Community Center, the Cheavers hit the ice again Saturday afternoon, falling by the same 6-2 margin against eventual tournament champion Escanaba (Michigan) Hawks.
The loss Saturday afternoon snapped a six-game unbeaten string for the Cheavers, and they went right back to work starting a new streak Sunday with a 4-0 win against the Iron Kings, another Michigan-based squad.
Cheavers 6 Ice Dogs 2
In the first game, the Cheavers carried a 2-0 lead out of the person and had the game in hand with a 6-1 cushion heading to the third.
Landen Uminski paced the offense with a three-goal game, Ethan Wilcox scoring twice and setting up another and Tyler Krieski scoring the other, along with two assists.
Evelyn Gurney and Andrew Stando picked up assists as well and Jesse Arnold picked up the win in goal with nine saves.
Blake Atchison kicked out 23 shots for the Ice Dogs.
Cheavers 2 Hawks 6
The Cheavers gained some consolation in the knowledge they played the Hawks closer than any other team as the Hawks collected their second win of the week and claimed the title with a 12-4 margin against the host Green Bay squad.
Hawks were up 4-0 after a period and 5-1 after the middle frame, both teams adding one more in the third.
Hailey Dietl fired the first RWD goal, unassisted and the other game from Uminski with a feed from Wilcox.
Arnold kicked out 19 shots in the contest while Bryce Bichlor stopped six to pick up the win for the Hawks.
Cheavers 4 Iron Kings 0
The Cheavers shrugged off the loss to the Hawks and went back to work Sunday, collecting the 4-0 shutout against the Iron Kings.
The game winner came in the first period and the other three goals all game in the middle period.
Krieski and Uminski scored two goals each, Krieski adding an assist. Other assists were credited to Dayne Wagner, Noah Backeberg and Ethan Pope.
Arnold picked up his third shutout of the season and second in the past two weeks with eight saves, Aubree Moore stopping 16 for the Kings.
The 2-1 win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 27-17-2 and the team is an impressive 6-3-1 in its past 10 games.
The Cheavers were ranked fourth at the tournament based on some points system used for the event.
The final chance to catch the Cheavers on home ice will be this weekend as they get some tough tests on home ice at Reedsburg Area Community Arena Saturday, playing the Sun Prairie ‘A’ peewees Saturday (March 5) at 10:45 a.m. then return for a 4:45 ‘B’ test against the Waunakee ‘B’ Wildcats at 4:45 p.m.
On Sunday, the Cheavers will play the Tomah ‘A’ peewees at 9:15 a.m.
The Dells Ducks wrapped up the USPHL Premier regular season with a tough trio of games but some friendly faces on the finale on Sunday night.
Back-to-back losses (10-0, 6-1) in Hudson against the Havoc Friday and Saturday and a 7-0 loss in both its home and regular season finale at Lake Delton Ice Arena Sunday against the Steele County Blades wrapped up a stretch of 13 losses suffered by the team since returning from the Christmas Break.
Some trades in the past few weeks have seen the team’s top two scoring players – Caden Glamkowski (‘04/St. Charles, IL) to the Chicago Cougars for Francesco Addante (‘02/Glenview, IL) who scored the previous weekend in Wisconsin Rapids and Jayden Tkaczuk (‘02/Channahon, IL) traded to the Detroit Fighting Irish for Andrew Crawford (‘05/Seattle, WA) heading to teams with a shot at a long playoff run.
They would be eligible to return next season which could give them a chance to improve on some strong offensive seasons this time around. Glamkowski became just the third player in the 11-year history of the Ducks to hit the 30-goal plateau in a season, joining Aidan Verbeke (37) in the team’s first season and Ian Wood (36, 34) who accomplished it in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Tkaczuk was the team’s leading scorer last season, and his 56 points (24g, 32a) ranks him 16th all time, two points and one spot in front of Glamkowski.
Ducks 0, 1 @ Havoc 10, 6
Friday night was a tough one for the Ducks in Hudson, the home side scoring twice in the opening six minutes on its way to a 4-0 first period lead, a total it matched in the middle period before rounding it off with two more down the stretch.
Anthony Falzone (‘03/St. Charles, IL) and Drew Moseley (‘02/St. Louis, MO) were the busiest players on the ice, facing a combined 67 shots while the Ducks challenged Matthew Powell with 19 shots, and he kicked them all away.
While cutting down the shots against and improving its own shots total Saturday night, the goaltending of Moseley was tested once again. He stopped 47 of 53 shots including all 19 of the shots he faced in the first period.
The Havoc found a way past him in the second period though and scored four times before Ducks’ captain Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI), notched his 12th goal of the season, unassisted.
Hudson added one more in the final period to clinch the win.
Blades 7 @ Ducks 0
Sunday’s game saw the Ducks once again outshot by a wide margin on a night that saw the team struggle in all three periods to get the puck beyond its own blue line.
Falzone got the start and once again faced a barrage from the opening faceoff, the Blades topping 20 shots in each frame while the hosts couldn’t get to double digits. Overall, it was a 74-15 edge for the visitors who scored, three in the first and last periods and once in the middle.
The seventh goal came against Jadon Mammen (‘04/Grapevine, TX) who replaced an exhausted Falzone through the final few minutes and faced eight shots.
The Ducks move on to the post season as a major underdog, the number eight seed in the Midwest-West Division, taking on the top seeded Minnesota Blue Ox who finished the regular season 66 points ahead of the Dells’ squad.
The Best of Three series will begin Friday at the Coon Rapids Ice Center at 7 p.m. and the second game will be played Saturday night at the same time and place.
If needed, a third game would be played on Monday at 2:30 p.m., also in Coon Rapids.
Winner of this series will advance to the second round of four, battling for one of two Midwest-West division berths at the league’s national championship tournament to be played in Hudson, NH March 24-29.
With the end of varsity hockey for the Sauk County teams, the focus will switch a bit to the final games of the season for the Dells Ducks junior hockey team and a dozen local youth teams heading to WAHA State Championship tournaments.
Six squirt, 10U Girls, bantam and 14U girls’ teams will head to their respective events this weekend with the other six peewee and12U girls’ teams making their way to the second round of state tournaments.
One team, the Sauk Prairie Monkeys will be included as a host this coming weekend, so local fans could help cheer on the local 10U B Monkeys to a good performance. More details on this tournament along will the other five scheduled for this weekend will be up in the next day or so.
I am hoping to attend the WIAA Seniors Tournament later this month as well and from there are still some major events coming up in the next few months in Lake Delton, leading into the summer hockey season.
This has been an awesome hockey season for Saukhockey.info. In 2021 the site had nearly 25,000 views and this year is off to a great start with over 6,000 already, including a best month. I am thankful to all that have helped by reading my stories, liking my Facebook page and YouTube page. This past off- season I discovered it is possible to keep hockey in the headlines in some way throughout the year. Of course, the stretch from September to March is the busiest, but there are plenty of hockey loving youngsters on the ice out of town throughout April to August as well.
A special thank you to the RWD parents along with the Dells Ducks parents and alumni for a generous and surprising donation that will help this writer hear much better. Truth be told, many of my video interviews, usually done in noisy hallways are done by a reporter who does not actually hear the responses. Generally, I am hearing most of the comments for the first time when I upload the videos to my computer. That has led to a couple embarrassing moments when I have asked players or coaches something about which they have just addressed.
The hearing aids which will be in my ears by the time I attend the RWD and Badger Lighting team banquets March 10 and 13 and I am very thankful for that. The RWD varsity club allowed a presentation to me to take place during the final regular season game at Lake Delton Ice Arena and I am thankful for that as well.
I have met nothing but positive comments about my site, but three people have gone way beyond a pat on the back for me
Aaron Kirby and Shaun Falzone played a big part in raising the funds for me with one of those fundraising pages. I had only hints of what was going on, but the friendship and support from both men has been touching, humbling and will never be forgotten.
My best friend Dave Barney was there to take a picture when I was presented the honor and he embraced me in a way that made his excitement and pride obvious. The support of Dave and Janette has been huge, including allowing me to use an office in their business at no cost no matter what day or time of day I want to visit. Time of day is huge as I have become accustomed to breaking the Zinga Drive silence in the early morning hours as I leave from a night of watching and writing about the greatest game on earth. I get excited at times when I see how many have viewed different stories that I have posted and when I relay the information on to Dave, he is equally as thrilled. His encouragement and knowledge have helped me get Saukhockey.info to where it is now.
Parents, coaches and players from Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells, Baraboo, Sauk Prairie and communities outside of those areas (Wonewoc!) have been so supportive and I thank you all for your support.
With two teams still competing from the Badger West Conference, it confirms the division’s status as one of the best in the state this season. It was a wild season with four teams boasting stellar lineups with key players in their final season of varsity play
Hockey is no different from any other varsity sport where seniors play a big role as leaders, but there is seldom a season with so many top-notch seniors playing in the same conference.
The last Sauk County based team, the Sauk Prairie Eagles had seven seniors in their lineup including top line forwards Nick Mast and Erik Peterson who both spend off season time with Team Wisconsin along with Micah Hanson, a top six forward and regular contributor who wrapped up a great final season before moving on to his primary sport in the fall as a division 1 lacrosse player. Defensively the team relied heavily on Hakon Peterson who did double duty, protecting his own end while contributing 13 goals to the offense as well. Porter Kreul showed leadership in a supporting and set up role. Forward Brody Wolfe and utility player Brandon Mittelsteadt were both limited in games played this season but made their presence felt whenever they were able to play.
Past Performance and the talent level of the incoming seniors and juniors made the Sauk Prairie Eagles a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, they came along in a season and in a conference filled with talent. The RWD Cheavers had a ton of senior talent as well while the Edgewood Crusaders are among the Division 1 Final Four while the Oregon Panthers will play in their division 2 Sectional final on Saturday. This was an amazing year for all four teams and the Badger West Conference overall.
The Eagles finished this season with a 19-5 record overall. All five of their defeats came against Badger West opponents – three against the Crusaders and twice against the Cheavers. Also, this was the third straight season the Eagles were eliminated in the Sectional semis. The first two were both against the Verona Wildcats who both times reached the State Championship game, winning in 2019-20 and finishing as runner up last season. Ironically, the Madison Edgewood Crusaders were Verona’s victim in the Sectional Championship game on both occasions.