Jimmy D’s all-Saukhockey.info varsity team

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Jimmy D’s Notes

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. 

First Line  

Forwards  

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. 

Defense  

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. 

Goaltender  

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.  

Second Line  

Forwards  

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. 

Defense  

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.  

Goaltender  

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. 

Third Line  

Forwards 

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. 

Defense  

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. 

Goaltender(s) 

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. 

Fourth Line  

Forwards  

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. 

Defense. 

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  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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.  

Havoc, Steele dominate Ducks in final three games

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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.  

Playoffs ahead 

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. 

Plans and thank yous

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Jimmy D’s Notes

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. 

Thank Yous  

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. 

Eagles wrap up great run in a super conference

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Jimmy D’s Notes

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. 

Fun but stressful week of WIAA playoffs

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Jimmy D’s Notes

  • The WIAA hockey post season has to be the most exciting, but also the most heartbreaking time of the hockey season. With my own coverage of four Sauk County teams, there was plenty of both.  

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds  

  • First, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds came up with what had to be their grittiest and best defensive effort for 34 minutes against the RWD Cheavers. For seniors like Oliver Scanlan, Gabe Fitzwilliams and in particular, goaltender Andrew Schaetzl among others they clearly saved their best for last and it was tough the game got away from them down the stretch against an RWD team that seemed to be on a misson. Another regular contributor was senior forward Zach Huffaker.
  •  It was a tough season from the start for the Thunderbirds with illness and injury among the contributing factors — three Thunderbird seniors — Kyle Poole, Luna Larson and Charlie Gibbs unforunately combined to appear in just 17 games.

RWD Cheavers 

  • A couple nights later and again, one of the Sauk County teams was leaving with heads low no matter what the final. The Eagles shrugged off a couple regular season losses against the Cheavers, using a key span in the middle period to put up four goals and then hold off a desperate RWD team through the game’s second half.  
  • For RWD, a group of players that have played varsity minutes since their freshman year – senior goaltender Cooper Oakes who will likely hold most of his team goaltending records for several seasons. Senior forward CJ Pfaff has had a great run. His grit and ability to kill time or find space when none seemed available made him a player that had to be on the ice in any close game. Senior forward Trevor Slaght, one of the best skaters around. It’s no coincidence, the team’s great 14-2 run that started in mid-December started right around the time Slaght made his surprisingly early return from an acl injury. 
  • Another surprise, the play of senior forward Tomas Korndorfer who was likely the team’s best sniper and played a part in giving the team two top lines 1A and 1B. 
  • On the blue line the tireless defensive play of senior Ty Thompson the team’s hardest hitter and Grant Marsich, also a physical force with a heavy shot and a knack for getting under the skin of his opponents. 
  • Depth forwards Carter Scully, Mitch Henke and Malachi Strompolis-Salama who made the most of every second they played for the varsity team and helped in a way many didn’t see – contributing their leadership and winning attitude to create an amazing competitive season for the players that will carry that into the future of the RWD program. 

Badger Lightning  

  • Official results are not available as this is written but a third Sauk County team wrapped up its season with a tough 3-0 defeat at Sun Prairie Ice Arena against the host Cap City Cougars.  
  • It was a different Lightning team that walked onto the ice there than the one that succumbed 8-0 a few years ago. Granted, the Cougars are a younger team this season, but the three Lightning seniors – Carson Blosenski, Signe Begalske and Emily Gunnel spent two seasons leading this team because there were no seniors on a short-staffed team last season.  
  • It says here, the Lightning will win its first playoff game in several seasons a year from now…it will be on home ice and the three players who are leaving the Lightning will deserve some credit for it. 
  • An official story on the game played Friday in Sun Prairie will appear on this facebook page later this weekend.

This is the first of a number of editorial type stories that will be posted in the next few days/weeks. One thing about the end of the hectic varsity season, it will give me a chance to say and thank a lot of people that I just haven’t had the time to do yet. 

But, for now, please join me in cheering on the Sauk Prairie Eagles. Let’s hope the third time is the charm at the Sectional semis and this is the team that can find a way past the Badger West Conference Champion Madison Edgewood Crusaders. 

Go get it boys. 

Eagles power past Norskies in final period at SPARC

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Three goals in the opening six minutes of the final period helped the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team turn a close 3-2 match into a comfortable 6-2 margin in their opening WIAA Division 1 playoff encounter against the DeForest Norskies at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Feb. 15). 

While the score was close, the shot clock showed a dominating effort by the Eagles who ultimately carried a 51-17 margin on the shot clock. 

DeForest senior Alex Kaminski did his job and more, helping the visitors stay within a goal despite a 34-12 edge through the first two periods.  

Junior Luke Mast fired the goal that stood up as the game winner 8:53 into the second period, just 45 seconds after Gabriel Larson, a junior from Lodi pulled his team even at 2-2 with what would be the final Norskie goal of the season.  

The younger Mast brother added four assists in the contest while senior Nick Mast fired two goals and set up a pair as well. Rounding out the top line was senior Erik Peterson who also contributed two goals and two helpers. 

The other Eagles’ goal came from defender Hakon Peterson who also collected an assist in the contest. Another senior, Porter Kreul picked up an assist for the Eagles. 

Scoring the other DeForest goal in the opening period was senior Preston Nichols. 

Eagles’ juniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney shared the work in goal, McInerney coming on for the final 9:13, facing three shots after Stracke stopped a dozen shots playing into the final period. 

With the win, the now 18-4 Eagles advance to one of four Section 4 Regional finals, Thursday (Feb. 17) at 7 p.m. at RACA in Reedsburg against the 19-6 RWD Cheavers. Winner of that game will advance to Sectional semis next week against either Madison Edgewood Crusaders or the Sun Prairie Cardinals. 

The season wraps up for the Norskies who finish the season with a 7-13-1 overall record.  

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

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brandt fires four to lead RWD past Oredockers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team wrapped up a two-game northern getaway Saturday (Feb. 5) afternoon with a 5-1 win against the host Ashland Oredockers. 

Four unanswered goals in the middle period made the difference in this one as both teams fired one in the opening period and the final 17-minutes was scoreless. 

RWD junior Caden Brandt fired his first of four to open the scoring, from senior Trevor Slaght and Grant Marsich 3:35 from the end of the opening period, but the Oredockers struck back with the only shot of 21 to get past senior Cooper Oakes in goal for the Cheavers with 13 seconds to play in the frame. 

Brandt notched the game winner from senior C.J. Pfaff and first year Kaden Uminski 49 seconds into the second, senior Tomas Korndorfer adding another before the end of the second minute, from senior Trevor Slaght and junior Logan DeMars. 

Brandt fired the other two, 49 seconds apart inside the game’s final three minutes. Pfaff collected an assist on both with Slaght also helping on one. 

Both teams fired 10 shots in the opening period, but it was a dominant RWD effort with a 15-5 edge in the second and a closer 9-6 margin down the stretch. 

The win boosts the team’s overall record to 17-6 and extends its current winning streak to four games. 

The Cheavers will wrap up the regular season Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. contest against the Janesville Bluebirds (12-9, 8-5 Big Eight Conference). 

Cheavers offense stalled but not stopped in Hayward

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team started the season with a trip north to play in a tournament and made a similar trip for its final two road games of the season this weekend. 

The Cheavers started the trek with a 2-1 win against the Hayward Hurricanes Friday (Feb. 4) night at the Hayward Ice Arena.  

The Cheavers turned in of of its best offensive games of the season, but despite peppering Hurricanes’ keeper, junior Logan Abric with 38 shots, he stood tall in the net on all but two.  

The Cheavers outshot its host 14-5 through the opening 17-minutes but teams were still scoreless until the second when senior Clayton Pfaff found the mesh with assists for senior Trevor Slaght and junior Caden Brandt.  

The Canes, who played with a roster of just a dozen skaters, tied the game later in the middle period setting the stage for junior defender Carsen Brandt who sank the game winner in the final period with assists for his senior defense partner Grant Marsich and Pfaff. 

While Abric turned in a solid effort in goal for the Canes, senior Cooper Oakes turned in another stellar performance as well, stopping all but one Hurricanes’ shot.  

The win boosted the Cheavers’ season record to 16-6, continuing its current winning streak to four games and adding to a record of 13-1 since Dec. 17. 

The Cheavers were scheduled to wrap up the weekend road trip Saturday (Feb. 5) afternoon at Ashland against the host Oredockers, then returning home for its regular season finale Tuesday at Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

The 14-team Section 3 playoff field will be set on Sunday with a seeding meeting.