Overtime fatal for Cheavers again in Onalaska

By Jim den Hollander

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Spartans’ offense too much for Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team couldn’t stay with the McFarland Spartans in a 7-0 shutout loss at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 24).


Once again it took a valiant effort from junior goaltender Burke Schweda to keep the game relatively close as the visiting Spartans owned an overall edge of 54-18 on the shot counter, including a 24-7 margin out of the gate as the guests jumped into a 3-0 lead.


The Spartans added three more in the middle period and added just one on 13 third period chances.
Juniors Caleb DeChambeau and Mason Pommerening paced the Spartans with two goals apiece.
The loss is the third in a row for the Thunderbirds who fell to 3-17 on the season with four games remaining on the schedule, all at Pierce Park Pavilion.


That stretch begins on Tuesday (Jan. 31) with a visit from the Janesville Bluebirds from the Big Eight Conference followed Saturday by the DeForest Norskies from the Badger East. Next week Thunderbirds will wrap up the regular season with a game against Madison LaFollette/East Lakers on Feb. 7 and finally, its regular season and Badger West Conference finale against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders.

Eagles wrap up Badger West with shutout win

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
With senior Luke Mast leading the way, the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team wrapped up its 2022-23 Badger West Conference schedule on a winning note Tuesday (Jan. 24).


The Eagles wrapped up second place in the conference with an 8-0 win at Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) in Monroe, wrapping up an 8-2 Conference schedule and boosting its overall regular season record to 14-4-2.


The Eagles all but settled the game with four unanswered first period goals despite a narrow 13-10 edge on the shot counter. The Eagles wrapped up the win with two more in both the second and third periods.
Mast, in the hunt for the overall state lead in scoring, put up four goals and set up another three to stay with the front runners. Freshman Landon Froese and sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner both added a goal and assist with other goals scored by juniors Steven Romaker and Colin Harrington. Junior Karsyn Banta chipped in two assists.


With the conference season wrapped up, the Eagles will finish the regular season, beginning Friday (Jan. 27) with a home game against the Muskego Co-Op Ice Force (9-12-0, 3-3 Classic Eight).
Next week, the Eagles will complete its home schedule against Madison West from the Big Eight Conference Tuesday and DeForest Norskies from the Badger East Thursday.


The regular season finale will take place in Tomah Feb. 7.

Lightning defense does the job against Beaver Dam

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info


The Badger Lightning snapped a three-game losing streak and kept its own string of perfection alive with an impressive defensive outing and a 4-0 shutout against the Beaver Dam Beavers at Pierce Park Pavilion Monday (Jan. 23) night.


Only some standout work between the pipes by Beaver Dam first year Emily Smedema prevented a more lopsided score as the host Lightning dominated to the tune of a 54-15 edge in shots overall.


The Lightning who have never been defeated by the Golden Beavers, busted out of its latest skid with an awesome work ethic, great speed and precision passing. While Smedema stopped everything she could see, all four Badger Lightning goals came from tenacious play on top of the blue paint.


The first two were scored by senior Bella Bowden, in her element with hardnosed physical play and refusal to give up on loose pucks.


The game winner came late in the opening period with a setup from sophomore Kayla Garbacz who also enjoyed a big night with assists on the first three goals. First year defender Paige Othmer collected an assist on the second one, scored 4:35 into the middle frame.


Later in the middle period, senior Mallory Ruland had a couple opportunities and stayed witht he puck until she finally jammed it home to widen the gap with assists for Garbacz and senior Kayla Capener.


Junior Reese Olson notched the final goal also on a second effort 4:47 into the third from Capener and Ruland.
The conference win was crucial for the Lightning who face the conference leading Metro Lynx Thursday on home ice and make the trip to Viroqua Feb. 2 for what could be a crucial game with a home game in the post season on the line.
In between, the Lightning will spend a busy weekend in Beaver Dam, playing three games in a tournament this weekend.

Taped interviews with Coach Capener and senior defender Lily McPherson would not convert to the proper format for this story.

Kayla Garbacz enjoyed a big night Monday with three assists against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Kligora spoils great offensive night for Lightning

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Three unanswered third period goals lifted the host Rock County Fury to a come from behind 4-2 win and spoiling what may have been the best offensive showing ever for the Badger Lightning varsity team.


It’s not long ago the Lightning was used to facing a barrage every game, but in this one, it was the local Co-op blasting the host Fury with 51 shots in a wide open 90-shot contest.


The Lightning started quick, senior Kayla Capener getting them on the board before the end of the first minute with the 50th goal of her varsity career, unassisted.


Capener’s goal stood up as the lone marker of the opening period and she added another from senior teammate Mallory Ruland five minutes into the middle period.


The Fury finally found a way past junior Alyssa Gada when senior Amery Stuckey potted a powerplay marker with just over two minutes to play in the second period.


The third period was the Emma Kligora show as the Fury junior fired the tying, game winning and insurance goals to wrap up a natural hat trick in the final frame. The tying goal came 16 seconds into the period and the clincher with 2:37 remaining in the contest.


The loss is the third straight for the Lightning, dropping the team’s overall record to 7-10. In Badger Conference, the Lightning sits fifth of seven with a record of 4-5.


The Lightning will look to get back to .500 in conference Monday with a home game against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers at Pierce Park Pavilion. On Thursday the Lightning will face the currently undefeated (in Badger Conference) Metro Lynx in the team’s final home game of the regular season before embarking on a five-game road stretch to wrap it up. Three of those games will be at a Beaver Dam Tournament next weekend.

Kayla Capener scored the 50th goal of her varsity career against the Rock County Fury. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Goalies step up in Heroes Night game in Lake Delton

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
On a night that saw the RWD varsity and junior varsity teams honoring Hometown Heroes, the goaltenders stepped into that role for both the visiting Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and the host RWD Cheavers. Thursday (Jan. 19) night.
RWD sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe wasn’t called on often, but he was perfect when needed, posting his fourth shutout of the season and his second clean sheet against the Thunderbirds in a 2-0 win.

As usual, Thunderbirds’ junior goaltender was supertasked in the blue paint and his 46 saves kept the Thunderbirds in the game until senior Lukas Vana buried the second Cheavers’ goal, an unassisted shorthanded marker 2:07 from the third period horn.

The shutout lowered Griebe’s Goals Against Average to 1.84 which ranks him sixth lowest in the state. Meanwhile, there doesn’t appear to be statistics to back it up, but Schweda has to be near the top of the list in shots faced.


The other RWD goal came from senior Carsen Brandt who snuck up from the blueline on an RWD powerplay to slam home a rebound. Twin brother Caden and Vana chipped in on an all-senior goal scored 4:35 into the contest.
The game was played in front of a packed house at Lake Delton Ice Arena.
The win boosted RWD’s current record to 9-7 and they sit at 4-4 in Badger West Conference play, a nice rebound after dropping three of their first four league games.


The Cheavers will hit the road for a pair of games this week, at Onalaska Tuesday (Jan. 24) and at LeBahn Ice Arena in Madison to take on the Edgewood Crusaders on Friday.


Thunderbirds fell to 3-16 on the season, but those three wins have all come since the Christmas Break. In Conference play, Thunderbirds have yet to post a win in nine contests with the unenviable task of taking on the undefeated (in conference) Crusaders in the season finale Feb. 10.


Thunderbirds have just one game this week, taking on the McFarland Spartans Tuesday (Jan. 24) to begin a stretch of three straight home games.

Burke Schweda faced another barrage iBaraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday, kicking out 46 of 48 in a 2-0 loss against RWD. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
Alex Griebe collected his fourth goose egg of the season Thursday, collecting the shutout against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Crusaders find a way past Eagles for Badger West crown

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Looking to snap a nearly two-year long streak for the visiting Madison Edgewood Crusaders in Badger West Conference play and put themselves into the Conference championship picture, the Sauk Prairie Eagles had it all under control entering the final period Thursday (Jan. 19) at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). 

Eagles entered the game with just one conference loss, a 1-0 heartbreaker at LeBahn Arena in Madison on Dec. 3 against the Crusaders who have yet to lose a conference match since the Badger West division was created for the 2021-22 regular season. 

After a scoreless opening period, senior Luke Mast fired his 22nd goal of the season from junior Colin Harrington and freshman Landon Froese 50 seconds into the middle frame. Thanks in part to 17 saves from senior goaltender Kaden Stracke, that lead held up into the final period.

The goal lifted Mast into a share for the overall state points lead with 52j and he is second in state with 30 assists. Stracke is also ranked in the state’s top 10, his .918 Save Percentage seventh best.   

The Crusaders found a way to spoil the night for a packed crowd at SPARC, getting on the board 4:49 into the final frame on a goal by senior Michael Baer and then stealing the win with the game winner scored by freshman Owen Barnet just 3:35 from the third period horn.  

An early powerplay set the tone for the Eagles who looked dominant early in the final period but in the end, the Crusaders held a 16-10 edge in shots in the period and a 33-31 edge overall. 

The win all but clinches a second straight Badger West crown for the Crusaders who have three division matches remaining but sit at 7-0 while the Eagles have just one conference game yet to play and are equally as comfortable in second spot in front of the 5-4 Oregon Panthers and 4-4 RWD Cheavers. 

The Eagles will wrap up its conference schedule Tuesday (Jan. 24) at Monroe’s Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) and will finish the regular season with four non-conference tests. Next home game for the Eagles will be Friday against the Muskego Co-op Ice Force. 

Despite the loss, goaltender Kaden Stracke (shown here earlier this season against RWD) turned in another solid effort against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders and he is currently among the state’s best in Save Percentage. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Janecke’s pair leads Cheesemakers past Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Having racked up some wins since the Christmas Break, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds hoped to collect their first conference win and second in a row Tuesday but fell just short in a 2-1 loss against the Monroe Cheesemakers at PIerce Park Pavilion. 

Monroe junior Wyatt Janecke spoiled the night for the Thunderbirds, scoring both Cheesemaker goals including the game winner just 30 seconds from the third period buzzer. 

Janecke opened the scoring 6:45 from the end of the opening period but Thunderbirds’ senior Peyton Sloan responded 94 seconds later on a feed from freshman Jordi Beale. 

Junior goaltender Burke Schweda stood out again in goal for the Thunderbirds, keeping this one even until the final minute despite a 59-37 edge in shots for the visitors. A 36-save effort for Xander Obert of the Cheesemakers was not too shabby either. 

The Cheesemakers swept the season set with the Thunderbirds, taking the earlier meeting 4-1 at Stateline Ice Arena in Monroe Dec. 6.  

Thunderbirds will continue a busy week at Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday, taking on RWD in its next to last Badger West Conference game. They enter the contest winless in eight conference contests. Overall, Thunderbirds have six games remaining on the schedule. The next home game will be on Tuesday (Jan. 24) against McFarland Spartans of the Badger East Conference. 

Peyton Sloan (center — pictured in a game against RWD) fired the lone goal for the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Tuesday night, evening the score at 1-1 in the first period. The visiting Cheesemakers scored late to spoil the night for Baraboo/Portage 2-1. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Harrington, Mast lead Eagles past Cardinals

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Colin Harrington’s goal late in the middle period broke a 2-2 deadlock and lifted the host Sauk Prairie Eagles to an eventual 4-2 win at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center on Tuesday (Jan. 17). 

The Eagles scored the first two goals but the visiting Stevens Point Pacelli Cardinals evened it at 2-2 before the end of the frame, setting the stage for Harrington, an Eagles’ junior. 

Senior Luke Mast opened the scoring with an unassisted marker 20 seconds into the match and later set up freshman Landon Froese less than two minutes later to put the host side up 2-0. Junior Karsyn Banta also collected an assist on the second goal.  

Cardinals senior Mason Zielinski got his team on the board 20 seconds later and added another before the end of the period to pull teams even. 

Harrington’s goal came with 1:28 to play in the second period from Mast and Banta and insurance came off the stick of Mast, wrapping up a four-point night from Harrington 7:46 into the third period.  

Brooks McInerney kicked out 21 shots to collect the win in goal for the Eagles and Cardinals junior Carter Herheim stopped 43 shots.  

The Eagles improved its overall record to 13-3-2 and now will prepare for a huge home game Thursday against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders with the Badger West Conference championship on the line. 

Colin Harrington (left, #5) scored the game winner against the Stevens Point Pacelli Cardinals on Tuesday. This photo is from an earlier game against the RWD Cheavers. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Lightning show improvement against Coulee

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning bounced back from a sub-par effort in its previous game but it wasn’t quite enough against a tough Coulee Region Cyclones team on the road Tuesday (Jan. 16). 

The host Cyclones opened the scoring in the opening minute and rolled to a 4-2 win at the West Salem Panther Den. 

That opening goal, scored by first year Brooke Borkenhagen ended up being the lone score of the opening period and her Cyclones teammate, senior Jaden Hammes added another in the fifth minute of the second period. 

Senior Bella Bowden got the Lightning on the scoreboard with her goal just past the halfway mark of the period, from senior Mallory Ruland and sophomore Kayla Garbacz but the Cyclones restored the two-goal cushion with another for Hammes. 

Katelyn Allen got the Lightning within a goal again 90 seconds into the final period but it was Samara Collins wrapping up the scoring for the Cyclones about three minutes later.  

Alyssa Gada faced 28 shots in the contest compared to 13 against Coulee keeper Diana Hanson. 

The Lightning wil return to Badger Conference play Thursday (Jan. 19) in Beloit against the Rock County Fury. In their previous meeting at Pierce Park on Dec. 16 the Fury pulled out a narrow 4-3 win. 

Next home game for the locals will be on Monday, another conference test against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. 

Katelyn Allen (left #15) fired Lightning’s second goal against the Coulee Region Cyclones Tuesday night. This photo is from a previous game against the Cap City Cougars. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer.