Oakes latest addition to Team Tracy

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Goaltender Cooper Oakes became the latest in a growing list of quality RWD varsity seniors to be honored by ‘Team Tracy’ on Jan. 20.  

Playing the final home game of the regular season at RACA (one more will be played at Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 8), the RWD Cheavers held a brief ceremony at the end of the opening period to present the ‘Team Trophy’ plaque, named in honor of Tracy Jones, a hockey enthusiast, youth hockey volunteer, coach, manager, and hockey parent who passed away after a courageous battle against Cancer, Dec. 22, 2015. 

Cooper Oakes accepts Team Tracy honor from RWD varsity Head Coach Neil Matson.

Oakes, known for much more than being a solid goaltender, is a popular figure with all RWD Cheavers fans for his efforts both on and off the ice, making him an obvious candidate for this honor.  

Oakes is the seventh player and second goaltender to collect the honor, following the first recipient of the award, Mike Olson (2015-16).  

The following season, Chris Jones, oldest son of Tracy was named for the honor in a season that saw him score 34 goals in 23 games, one of the highest single-season totals in the team’s 12-year history. 

Ben Horzewski was next to receive the honor, a solid contributing forward in all four years he played on the varsity team, Horzewski collected 69 points in 71 games with the Cheavers and currently sits 10th on the team’s all-time scoring list.  

In 2018-19, Ben Jones, another son of Tracy, was named as the winner in a solid senior season that saw him put up 22 points to wrap up a 50-point career with the team.  

In 2019-20, Thomas Pfaff was the team’s captain and leader, receiving the fifth spot on the plaque in a season that saw him put up 28 points to wrap up his own 86-point career, good enough for seventh spot on the overall list.  

Last season, Connor Schyvinck became the first defenseman to collect the honor. A great 200-foot player, Schyvinck finished his four-year run with 42 points, among the highest total for a blue liner. 

All six of these athletes impressed Head Coach Neil Mattson with their efforts in and out of the locker room.  

Oakes is four games from finishing an amazing high school run as a four-year starter in goal. His 14 wins this season rank him second in state behind only the 15 wins collected by Dante Desidero of the Waukesha Wings. He enters play next week with a 2.05 Goals Against Average and a .926 Save Percentage, both just a good game or two away from moving into the state’s top 10. 

A three-sport athlete, Oakes has said his primary spot is hockey and he is looking to continue to play, likely at the junior level and ultimately as a college athlete. 

Chris Jones on hand for the ceremony, said he was confident it would be Coop getting the award. Several years ahead of Oakes as a player, Jones said the young goaltender was no secret. 

“Cooper’s always been someone you knew about,” said Jones. “Growing up through youth hockey he was always a strong goaltender. I knew his dad through youth hockey and yeah, he has always been a strong hockey player. It’s no surprise he’s the player that won it tonight.” 

“I didn’t know he was winning it ahead of time, but kind of had a gut feeling that it would be him.” 

Jones recalls his big senior season with the team and modestly handed much of the credit to his linemate that currently leads all RWD scorers. 

“A lot of it comes down to who I was playing with,” said Jones with a chuckle. “I felt that I just kind of got into a zone and was able to find the net. Playing with Dylan Brown, he makes it real easy to play hockey.” 

Jones had a great touch though as a finisher and the two were perfect for each other. 

“Dylan could make any pass and he just told me to get to the net,” said Jones.  

Tracy’s own personal mandate was primarily to make sure everyone had a chance to play the game she loved, and this writer was lucky enough to be a co-coach with Jones for a season a decade ago. The team excelled at having a good time despite a long time between ‘W’s, which is what goes into this award. 

“Yeah, Sportsmanship, Character development, all that,” agreed Jones  

“I remember that season you coached with her, it was Squirt ‘B’ I think. I definitely remember that year and it wasn’t about wins and losses it was about making sure everybody was being coached and being developed as opposed to just going out there and trying to win games.” 

Jones graduated from UW-Madison with a Chemistry degree in December and was recently hired to a job in Verona doing pharmaceutical coding. 

He pulled out the skates for the first time in a couple seasons to play in the annual RWD Alumni tournament in December.  

“I would like to play more. COVID definitely messed things up for men’s leagues and stuff like that, but I would like to get out and play a little more.” 

The annual presentation of the ‘Team Tracy’ honor is a great excuse for Jones to see his alma mater in action again and of course, to honor his mother. 

“It’s always good to see the other players that have won it and just have that night to remember and be recognized.” 

Oakes joins the prestigious list now and hopefully will get a chance to make an annual visit as well as the list grows by one each season. 

Oakes is another player that Tracy would have been proud to cheer on at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena. 

Five of the seven members of ‘Team Tracy’ posed together during a brief ceremony held between periods at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena Thursday night. From left are Mike Olson; Thomas Pfaff; Cooper Oakes; Ben Horzewski and Chris Jones. Others not in attendance were Ben Jones and Connor Schyvinck.

Meyer-Bowen power Squirt ‘B’ Cheavers’ offense

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Squirt ‘B’ Cheavers earned a split in a three-game weekend, wrapping up a 2-2 tie and a 5-3 win against the host Sparta Spartans then returned to the Coulee Region and dropping a 5-4 decision to the host Onalaska Tornado on Sunday. 

Cheavers 2, 5 @ Spartans 2, 3 

Something about Sparta agreed with Cheavers’ forward Owen Meyer who played a part in all seven goals scored on Saturday. 

After firing both goals, unassisted in the opening contest that also saw a three-minute scoreless overtime period, Meyer notched the hat trick in the second game, setting up Thomas Bowen on the other two.  

Cheavers 4 @ Tornado 5 

On Sunday, the Cheavers made the trek to the Omni in Onalaska coming up just short in a one-goal defeat.  

Bowen and Meyer formed a nice tandem again, Bowen scoring twice and Meyer once, both earning assists on the other’s goals.  

William Fenwick counted the other RWD goal, unassisted.  

Isaac Howe handled the work in goal in all three games for the Cheavers.  

The weekend results pushed the team’s record to 4-12-2 on the season. They will be back in action this weekend returning to the same area for the tournament in West Salem. 

Stracke-McInerney share another Eagles shutout

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles stayed hot with a 4-0 shutout against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers in one of five Badger West Conference wins against rivals from the Badger East Conference at Waunakee Ice Ponds. 

For the second time this season, junior goaltenders Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerny shared a shutout, combining to handle all 16 shots put at them by the Golden Beavers. 

All four Eagle’s goals came in the middle period, scored by seniors Nick Mast, Micah Hanson, and Erik Peterson along with junior Luke Mast. The first three came in a span of 2:19 in the middle of the frame. Hanson added two assists, the other three goal scorers each picking up one helper. Other assists went to junior Ethan Tranel and sophomore Karsyn Banta. 

The Eagles dominated the contest with a 44-16 edge in shots.  

The win continues a winning streak for the Eagles to eight games and the team’s overall record is 11-2.  

The Eagles return to action Tuesday (Jan. 18) back on the road to face the Sun Prairie Cardinals, the first of three consecutive road matches. Next home game will be Feb. 1 when the Eagles play host the RWD Cheavers. 

Rough final period costly for varsity Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo Thunderbirds grabbed leads twice but it was Milton Redbirds using a dominant final 17 minutes to rally for a 3-2 win at the Badger Challenge Saturday at the Waunakee Ice Pond. 

Thunderbirds scored first and controlled the shot clock in both the first and second periods in the battle of fifth place teams from the Badger West and Badger East Conferences, but the score was even at 1-1 after the first and 2-2 heading to the third period. 

Sophomore Carson Zick notched the first of the contest for the Thunderbirds 2:14 into the game, unassisted but senior Gannon Kilgora equalized or the Redbirds 66 seconds later. Baraboo held an 11-8 edge in shots in the period. 

In the middle period the Thunderbirds scored first again, first-year Nathan Gneiser pulling the trigger with help from juniors Luke Schweda and Peyton Sloan. 

Redbirds rallied to tie it again with a goal from sophomore Ty Johnson and Baraboo/Portage had the edge in shots again 10-8. 

The Redbirds flipped the tables in the final frame, outshooting the Thunderbirds 15-5 and junior Colter Thorn gave the Badger East squad its lone win of the day with his goal in the period’s second minute. 

Senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl turned in a 28-save effort for Thunderbirds who unfortunately saw its losing streak stretched to eight games with the loss. 

The local squad returns to action Tuesday with a home game against the Viroqua Blackhawks starting at 7:30 p.m. 

Pfaff fires two, leads Cheavers past Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers continued its winning streak and wrapped up a season sweep against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds with a 5-1 win at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 11). 

The Cheavers extended its current winning streak to eight games to eight games and nearly a month with the win, outshooting a game Thunderbirds squad 39-21. 

Senior C.J. Pfaff scored his first of a pair unassisted to open the scoring with the only goal of the opening period 2:44 from the buzzer.  

The Cheavers added two more in the second before senior Oliver Scanlan notched the lone T-Birds marker late in the period with help from junior Luke Schweda and sophomore Carson Zick. 

Senior Trevor Slaght scored the game winner, his fifth in seven games since returning to the Cheavers from injury, converting a pass from junior Caden Brandt 5:32 into the middle frame and Junior John Scott stayed hot, scoring his ninth and seventh since the Monk’s tournament, unassisted later in the period. 

Third period goals from Pfaff and senior defenseman, Ty Thompson widened the gap for the Cheavers and senior Cooper Oakes stopped all but one of the 21 shots he faced in goal for RWD. 

Senior Andrew Schaetzl kicked out 34 shots in goal for the Thunderbirds. 

The win was also the third straight Badger West Conference win for the Cheavers who now sit at 5-2 with three games to play. The Cheavers’ overall record is 12-5. 

The Thunderbirds have dropped its last seven and fall to 2-13 overall and 1-5 in the Conference.  

RWD and Baraboo/Portage now head into the Badger Challenge as all six Badger West Conference teams will take on teams from the Badger East Conference at the Ice Pond in Waunakee on Saturday. 

The Thunderbirds will face off against the Milton Red Raiders (5-7-1, 2-5-1 Badger East) at 2:30 p.m. while the Cheavers meet the Deforest Norskies (3-4-1, 2-3-1 Badger East) at 5 p.m. 

Cheavers continue streak at home against Panthers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team showed the grit and poise shown at the recent Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic was not temporary, putting together its best 51-minute effort of the season so far in a thrilling 4-2 Badger West Conference win against the Oregon Panthers Thursday night at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

The Cheavers never trailed but didn’t have the game fully under control until an empty netter from Trevor Slaght with 27 seconds to play. 

The win extends the team’s current winning streak to seven games dating back to the team’s previous meeting with the Panthers, a 5-1 loss on Dec. 15.  

The team honored its seniors and their parents between the warm-up and pre-game flood.

All three forward lines and defense pairs along with senior goaltender Cooper Oakes played to expectations and Head Coach Neil Mattson showed he was not afraid to put anybody on the ice in high pressure situations. And, considering the Panthers entered the game with the state’s top three points leaders and are currently ranked second in state among Division 2 teams, that is a pretty darn high level of pressure. 

RWD hit the scoreboard first, senior Tomas Korndorfer hitting the mesh from a tough angle 7:29 into the contest and sophomore Brady Baldwin buried a pass from Korndorfer to give the host Cheavers a 2-0 cushion at the first period break.  

Andrew Jicha fired his state-leading 28th goal of the season for the Panthers early in the second period and a penalty called in the final minute of the frame gave the visitors reason for optimism at the break. 

Senior C.J. Pfaff turned the tables though, intercepting a pass and heading the other way alone, making several moves before depositing the puck into the Oregon cage for a shorthanded goal 31 seconds into the final period.  

The only issue the team struggled with was some tough penalty calls in the second half. After the Panthers were assessed the first four infractions of the game, the Cheavers had the finger pointed at them five consecutive times from the 11:33 mark of the second to the 12:01 mark of the third. 

Successful at killing off the first four, the Panthers finally found a way through as senior Joe Roemer buried one bar down from about 40 feet out with 3:42 to play. 

That set the stage for Slaght’s clincher with assists for Pfaff and sophomore Trey Lariden. 

Overall, the Cheavers held a 35-27 edge in shots. 

The win boosted the team’s overall record to 11-5 and more importantly, boosted its Badger West Conference record to 4-2, keeping league title hopes alive. 

The Panthers fell to 9-6 and 2-4 since its previous win against the Cheavers and their conference record falls to 3-3. 

Next up for the Cheavers is another conference battle as they travel to Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 11) and the Panthers will also move on to play at Pierce Park on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.  

Cheavers roll over Comets for sixth straight win

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Inspired by a great performance at the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic tournament over the Christmas holidays, the RWD varsity Cheavers headed into the post-Christmas portion of the schedule with another impressive win. 

The Cheavers travelled to Waupaca and collected a 6-0 shutout win against the host Comets, extending its current winning streak to six games.  

The potent offense struck quick, senior Trevor Slaght notching his second goal in five games since returning from an off-season injury in the game’s third minute, from senior C.J. Pfaff.  

That stood up as the game winner, but the Cheavers added more in the opening 17 minutes. Junior Caden Brandt and senior Tomas Korndorfer fired goals in the middle part of the period before Slaght found the net for another.  

Junior John Scott fired the lone middle period goal, his eighth of the season and sixth in the past four games and Korndorfer wrapped it up with his second of the contest and fifth of the season in the final period.  

Pfaff and junior Carsen Brandt both picked up a pair of assists in the game with singles for Slaght, senior Grant Marsich and sophomore Brady Baldwin. 

Cooper Oakes kicked out all 27 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season and once again smash his own record for career shutouts with his 13th

The win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 10-5 while the host Comets slipped to 7-6 (2-1 in Great Northern Conference). 

Huge test ahead  

The Cheavers are hoping to carry some momentum from its recent streak into a massive conference test on home ice Thursday as they kick off the second half of the Badger West Conference against the Oregon Panthers.  

Both teams are 3-2, the Panthers collecting a 5-1 win in the first half meeting in Oregon.  

The Panthers entered the week ranked second among Division 2 teams in the state according wisconsinprephockey.net. 

While the Cheavers are riding a five-game winning streak, the Panthers dropped three in a row after defeating RWD before winning its most recent pair against Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc (KMMO) and Fox Cities at a holiday tournament hosted by KMMO. 

Eagles roll past Marquette to win Culver’s Cup

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles wrapped up a perfect weekend in the Madison area, collecting the Culver’s Cup in its first try. 

Thrilled to be among the eight teams in the varsity division for the first time, the Eagles used a 10-4 win against Oshkosh Ice Hawks and a 8-0 shutout against the Marshfield Tigers to roll into the championship game.  

The Marquette Hilltoppers were the final team in their path and the Eagles rolled over them 4-0 with another big game for the Mast brothers, senior Nick and junior Luke along with senior Erik Peterson who combine for one of the most potent lines in the league. 

Through the first two games, the trio combined for a total of 14 goals and 25 points.  

Sophomore Karsyn Banta scored the game winner 2:41 into the contest from Nick and first year Gunnar Nachreiner. 

The high scoring trio took over from there, Luke scoring later in the period with set ups for the other two and Peterson adding insurance with a pair of middle period goals, both with assists for Luke and additional help from senior Hakon Peterson on the first. 

In goal, juniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInenerny shared the shutout, combining to stop all 17 shots faced.  

The three wins at the Culver’s Cup tournament boosted the Eagles’ overall record to 9-2 and runs its current winning streak to six games.  

The team will begin the second half of the season on home ice at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center on Monday (Jan. 3) wrapping up the first half of its Badger West schedule. On Thursday the same team will be in Monroe at SLICE to take on the host Cheesemakers.  

Eagles crush Ice Hawks 10-4 in Culver’s opener

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles made a dynamic debut in its first appearance at the annual Culver’s Cup Tournament on Monday (Dec. 28) reaching the Championship semis with a 10-4 win against the Oshkosh Ice Hawks. 

After carrying a 2-0 cushion out of the opening period at Madison Ice Arena, the Eagles exploded for four more in the middle period before the Ice Hawks suddenly came alive with three in 77-seconds, the first two six-seconds apart. 

Any thoughts of a rally were squashed with a 4-1 margin for the Eagles through the final 17 minutes. 

Senior Nick Mast enjoyed another big offensive night with three goals and three assists for the Eagles, senior Erik Peterson and junior Luke Mast both scoring a pair. Senior Hakon Peterson, junior Blake Howery and first year Gunnar Nachreiner collected the other Eagles’ goals. 

Eagles outshot the Ice Hawks by a 42-17 margin. Junior goaltenders Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney shared the win in goal for the Eagles. 

Other quarterfinal matches at the Culver’s tournament saw Marshfield Tigers getting by Madison West Regents 6-1, Monona Grove Silver Eagles downing Ashland Oredockers and Marquette Hilltoppers awarded a win against the Madison Memorial Spartans. 

Griebe and Cheavers run shutout string to four games

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Of course the primary goal is to attract attention and get the promotion to varsity, but the RWD junior varsity Cheavers have quietly put together a bit of a dream season so far.  

A 2-0 win at home to Sauk Prairie Dec. 17, followed up by a 5-0 win in Tomah Dec. 21 continued a string of four-straight shutouts and boosting the team’s overall record to 10-2. A shutout is shared by all teammates, but first-year goaltender Alex Griebe has put together a run of 203 minutes and 12-seconds without allowing a puck past him in the blue paint for the Cheavers heading into the Christmas Break.  

Eagles 0 @ Cheavers 2  

Griebe and Eagles junior Brooks McInerney both stopped everything shot at them through the opening period. First-year Alec Breunig broke through with the game winner 2:24 into the middle period after a set up by junior Conner Putz. 

The other goal came in the third period, an unassisted marker scored by Kaden Uminski. 

Griebe kicked out all 28 Eagles’ shots while the Cheavers fired 18 the other way.  

Cheavers 5 @ Tomah-Sparta 0  

In Tomah, teams played through a scoreless first period again and Breunig fired his second straight game winner with the lone second period goal unassisted.  

The Cheavers padded its lead with four more unanswered goals in the third period. Senior Malachi Strompolis-Salama paced the squad with the second goal and two assists in the period.  Senior Carter Scully and junior Nate Stando both picked up a goal and assist in the period, the other goal scored by Uminski. 

Cheavers held an overall edge of 37-11 in Tomah. 

The junior varsity squad will be back in action on Tuesday Jan. 4 at Waupaca.