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.

Beale’s pair leads Thunderbirds past Red Hawks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds used a pair of first period goals from freshman Jordi Beale to vault them in front and send them on their way to their third win first home win of the season at Pierce Park Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 14).

Thunderbirds got two more in the third to collect a 4-2 win against the Milton RedHawks in their Badger Challenge contest. They collected a win by the same score against the Red Hawks at a Stoughton tournament on New Year’s Eve. 

Two more goals in the third period just over a minute apart broke a 2-2 deadlock and sent the Thunderbirds to the win. 

Beale’s first goal was unassisted four minutes into the contest and the other, scoring 4:08 later was set up by senior Peyton Sloan. 

Aaron Thompson, a Milton senior got the Red Hawks on the board with a little under five minutes to play in the first period and sophomore Ty Johnson tied it early in the middle period.  

Sloan nailed the game winner 5:19 into the final frame with help from Beale and insurance came 79 seconds when Landon Olson scored with assists for Sloan and Dylann Carpenter.

 

Junior goaltender Burke Schweda collected his third win of the season with a 32-save effort and the Thunderbirds fired 41 shots against Benett Thompson at the other end of the pond. 

The Thunderbirds improved their record to 3-14 on the season, but 3-5 since the Christmas Break as well.  

They will head back to Badger West Conference play with a home game against the Monroe Cheesemakers on Tuesday (Jan. 17) and a test in Lake Delton against RWD on Thursday night. 

Late goal lifts Golden Beavers into draw with Eagles

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info

A third period goal lifted former conference rival Beaver Dam Golden Beavers into a 3-3 deadlock with the high-flying Sauk Prairie Eagles in their Badger Challenge match at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Friday, Jan. 13. 

The Eagles and Golden Beavers hold down second spot in the Badger West and Badger East respectively and showed there isn’t much separating them head-to-head. Last season, these matches were all held on the same day in Sun Prairie but this season it is up to the respective teams to schedule their contest.  

The Eagles entered the game with a 13-3-2 record, 7-1 in Badger West Conference play. The Golden Beavers were 9-4 on the season including 5-1 in Badger East Conference play. 

Teams were even at 1-1 after a period as senior Luke Mast opened the scoring from freshman Josh Mast and junior Colin Harrington with 5:47 to play in the period only to have senior Alex Woods tie it for the Golden Beavers 1:32 later. 

The Eagles took control 3-2 in the second with goals from senior Landon Clary and freshman Landon Froese. Luke Mast set up both with another assist for Harrington. Junior Jacob Lont countered with the long Beaver Dam marker in between the two Eagles’s goals. 

Woods fired his second of the game just five seconds from the third period horn to pull the Golden Beavers even and teams were scoreless through an eight-minute overtime period.  

Shots were almost even as well, Eagles’ senior goaltender Kaden Stracke stopping 34 while junior Henry Vick kicked out 35 for the Golden Beavers.  

The Eagles were scheduled to move on to play a non-conference home game against Stevens Point Pacelli on Tuesday, then face a huge conference test against the Edgewood Crusaders on Thursday. 

Panthers roll over Thunderbirds at home

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Playing at home for the first time in three weeks, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds were unable to use it to their advantage, dropping a 9-0 decision to the high-flying Oregon Panthers at Pierce Park Pavilion on Thursday (Jan. 12). 

Despite a 16-6 edge in shots in the opening period, the Panthers grabbed just a 1-0 lead thanks once again to the standout goaltending of junior Burke Schweda.  

The guests stepped up their attack in the middle period, peppering Schweda with a 29-6 edge in shots and widening the margin to 4-0.  

Another five in the third period with a 24-2 edge in chances wrapped up the goose egg for the Panthers, led by junior Andrew Jicha who scored three and set up another pair for a five-point game. 

After a long stretch on the road, the Thunderbirds began a stretch of three straight at Pierce Park Pavilion, followed Saturday (Jan. 14) with a rematch against the Milton Red Hawks followed Tuesday (Jan. 17) with a Badger West Conference match against the Monroe Cheesemakers. 

Tough night at home for Lightning

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning has seen a little bit of everything this season. Come from behind wins, hard fought defeats but Friday might be the first time the team saw one slip away, dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Cap City Cougars. 

‘Coming up flat’ is an expression used by every level of team, including top notch pros when they inexplicably have an off night. 

That was the Lightning on Friday as they played host to the Cougars, a team it defeated 2-0 in Sun Prairie on Dec. 5.  

This time around, at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo, the Cougars dominated the local side with a 38-12 edge in shots and pulled away from a 1-1 draw with three unanswered through the final two periods.  

The Lightning was missing a player to suspension and dealing with the distractions always in place on Senior Night and dealing with a team that was not happy with losing to the Lightning for the first time in several seasons and looking to settle the score. All of these may have been factors in the loss, but the main thing was despite a solid penalty kill, the Lightning gave their opponent to may extra skater opportunities.

Mallory Ruland posed with her parents before scoring the lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Cap City Cougars Friday at Pierce Park Pavilion.

Cougars were on the board before the three-minute mark but senior Mallory Ruland pulled the Lightning even with her goal, set up by senior Kayla Capener and sophomore Reese Olson with 7:08 to play in the period. 

Ill-timed penalties and giveaways hurt the Lightning who saw a chance at a big home win evaporate when the Cougars scored twice in 77 seconds in the middle period. 

Another near the five-minute mark of the third period added some insurance for the visitors. 

Alyssa Gada was a bright spot in goal for the Lightning, kicking out 34 shots. 

Allysa Gada was once again the busiest player on the ice Friday, making some big stops for her team in goal.

The Lightning are hoping to get back on track in time for a non-conference road test in Onalaska Monday and will also travel to Beloit Thursday to take on the Rock County Fury Thursday evening.  

Next home game for the Lightning will be Thursday, Jan. 26 against the Metro Lynx, the final home game of the regular season. 

Video interviews with Coach Capener and Mallory Ruland from this game are unavailable.

Badger Lightning seniors were honored Friday including from left: manager Zoe Udelhofen, forward Bella Bowden, forward Mallory Ruland, defender Lily McPherson, forward Kayla Capener, defender Eryn Benson and forward Lani Selje.

Ducks looking for finish strong in USPHL

By Jim den Hollander  

Saukhockey.info 

Editor/Publisher  

The Dells Ducks rode a promising stretch into the Christmas Break and came out the other side looking to continue its inspired play into the portion of the season that has been its Waterloo in previous years. 

Generally, teams come out of the Christmas Break having completed their Showcase events or else have one final Showcase right away in January. 

Following that, the Ducks engage in head-to-head Midwest-West Division matches through the season’s homestretch and they have had little success in those games in the past. 

This season, the Ducks lost its first 14 games before finally breaking into the win column in early November. Since then, the team has posted a record of 9-12 and for the most part, they have been in every contest. 

The highlight of the season so far was likely the opener at the Chicago Showcase on Dec. 15 as goaltender Chris Mazurek (‘03/Batavia, IL.) kicked out all 45 Chicago Cougars chances and led his team to a 1-0 edge against its Midwest-East Division rival. Captain Bryce Jacobsen (‘02/DeForest, WI) scored the lone goal. 

The Ducks wrapped up the event 2-2 with a 5-1 win against MHC, a tournament team put together by the Metro Jets along with a 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones from the Great Lakes Division and a 6-0 loss in its finale against the Northern Colorado Eagles from the Mountain Division. 

Following the Christmas Break, the Ducks returned on a promising note with a closer than it sounds 4-1 win at home against the Steele County Blades on Jan. 7. 

Noah Czech (‘04/Natick, MA) scored first and newcomer Ashot Davyton (‘05/Russia) put the Ducks in front to stay 2-1 in the final period. Ryan Hammer (‘05/Wheaton, IL) and Logan Potts (‘03/Allen, TX) both added last minute empty netters to put the win away. 

The following night, the Blades responded with a 4-2 win, Ducks goals fired by Davyton and Ethan Matthews (‘02/South Bend, IN). 

This past weekend was a rough one though, after dropping a narrow 4-3 decision at South Wood County Recreation Center (SWCRC) in Wisconsin Rapids Friday night, an on-ice incident sidetracked the team Saturday, and they were pounded 11-4. 

Jacobsen fired the lone first period goal and the host Riverkings led 3-1, adding another in the middle period before Hammer and Mikel Ferran Cobo (‘02/Cuernabaca, Mexico) fired late goals to make it interesting. 

Major penalties early allowed the Riverkings to pile up six unanswered first period goals and they never looked back  

Jack Kopsfstein (‘05/Vista, CA); Matthews; Reece Atkins (‘03/Amery, WI) and Jacobsen fired the Ducks’ goals. 

The Ducks will look to improve on its 1-3 record since the start of the New Year but it will be hard with the lone contest this weekend at Hudson Sports and Civic Center against the first place Hudson Havoc.

Below are some interviews from the Chicago Showcase. Not as timely now, but still some great comments from Head Coach Anthony Rohde and goaltender Chris Mazurek.

 

Cheavers bounce back from so-so tourney showing

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Unable to continue a two-year run as the champions of their own tournament, the Dells Ducks bounced back with some solid and promising performances to start the new calendar year. 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles robbed them of a chance to mount a nice string, but the team is certainly rounding into shape for a solid regular season homestretch run. 

Hopes of a third straight home tournament trophy ended quickly as the Kenosha Thunder edged them 2-1 on Dec. 28 in the opening round of the newly named Bobber’s Winter Classic, sending the home side to the consolation side of the draw. 

The Rice Lake Warriors compounded the pain with a 3-1 win against the Cheavers the following day sending them to the seventh-place final for the first time ever. 

The Cheavers took out frustrations with a 7-0 against the Avalanche made up of La Crosse area schools to avoid a winless showing at the event. 

That win started some momentum for the Cheavers who returned from the Christmas Break with another goose egg – 8-0 against the visiting Waupaca Comets Jan. 3 and an impressive 2-1 edge in its return to Badger West Conference play on home ice against the Oregon Panthers.  

The run ended though with a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the host Sauk Prairie Eagles at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Jan. 10). 

At the Winter Classic, the Cheavers scored the lone goal of the first period against Kenosha but couldn’t add another. The Thunder scored twice about four minutes apart in the final period. Against the Warriors it was the visitors on the board with the lone goal in both the first and second period before the Cheavers pulled one back early in the third. An empty netter with nine seconds to play clinched the win for the Warriors. 

Against the Avs, the Cheavers scored once in the opening period adding two more in the second and putting it away with a four-goal final frame. 

The Cheavers blitzed Waupaca with four first period markers, adding two in both the second and final periods. 

The win on home ice against the Panthers was satisfying as it avenged a 3-2 overtime defeat in Oregon back on Dec. 2. A pair of first period goals was enough for the win but the Panthers gained some consolation, ending a stretch of 154:45 of shutout hockey for sophomore Alex Griebe in the second period.  

Goaltender Alex Griebe, shown here against the Sauk Prairie Eagles had a stretch of more than 150 minutes of shutout hockey and Caden Brandt (#15) paced the offense with 11 points in a six-game stretch.
Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

At SPARC, the Cheavers were looking for a little more revenge having dropped its earlier home game against the Eagles 4-3 in overtime Dec. 6. 

Teams were even at 2-2 after a period but the Cheavers were in control with a 4-2 cushion heading to the third. The host Eagles, still with a shot at a share of the conference title battled back in the third, scoring the game winner just 20 seconds from the final horn. 

Offensively, senior Caden Brandt returned from injury and helped the Cheavers with five goals and 11 points over the six-game stretch, senior John Scott chipping in six goals and eight points. Another senior, Nate Stando enjoyed an offensive explosion, putting up five goals and seven points while senior Carsen Brandt added a goal and four helpers. 

Senior Lukas Vana had four set ups, junior Andrey Tougas adding two goals and an assist and senior Logan DeMars collecting three assists. Junior Trey Lariden scored twice, junior Brady Baldwin added a goal and assist. Senior Caleb Eastman notched a goal and other assists came from sophomore Kaden Uminski and junior Iszak Elder. 

Game winners came from Lariden, Scott and Stando. 

In goal, despite a 3-3 record through the stretch, Griebe racked up the long shutout stretch and overall kicked out 108 of 118 shots for a save percentage of .915. 

A postponed Badger Challenge game (The Cheavers will now host DeForest Norskies on Jan. 30) leaves a rare stretch of nine days without a game. Next up will be a game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds. The Cheavers will renew the rivalry and host a ‘Hometown Hero’ game Thursday. 

Capener, Ruland lead Lightning into second half

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team returned from Christmas Break looking to snap the longest skid of its breakthrough 2022-23 WIAA varsity season. 

In five games since the break, the Lightning has righted its season with 23 goals and a 3-2 record.  

After an impressive 4-1 start to the regular season, the Lightning ran into some tough competition and entered the break riding a four-game losing streak. 

In the first game back, sophomore Reese Olson sank the overtime game winner leading the Lightning past independent Northern Edge 4-3 at Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 28. The following night, the Lightning collected one of its biggest wins ever with a 12-1 win against the Northland Pines Eagles, but the streak was ended with a 5-0 loss on home ice against the Warbirds last Thursday (Jan. 5) followed by a 7-3 loss at the Ponds in Brookfield against the host Brookfield Glacier.  

Lightning broke back into the win column and added another conference win with a 4-2 doubling of the Icebergs Monday, also at Pierce Park Pavilion. 

Against Northern Edge, both teams scored once each period, setting the stage for the overtime heroics. Senior Mallory Ruland played a part in all four goals, scoring two and setting up the other pair. 

Against the Eagles, Lightning held a 47-15 edge on the shot clock, opening a 5-1 first period lead and never looking back. 

The Lightning have had plenty to celebrate so far this season and there is still more to come.
Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Junior goaltender Alyssa Gada kept the Lightning in it against the Warbirds despite a massive 52-16 edge on shots. After stopping all 15 shots faced in the opening period, the Warbirds finally wore her down a bit with three goals on 23 middle period chances, adding two more in the third. 

At Brookfield, the host Glacier opened a 3-1 first period lead adding two more in the middle frame before the Lightning played through an even 2-2 third period.

In the most recent game, the Lightning battled back from a 2-0 first period deficit with a pair in the second and two more in the third. 

Senior Kayla Capener notched the game winner and collected three points in the contest on her way to a six goal, 12-point run through the five games. Her next goal will be the 50th of her varsity career and her next point will give her 125. 

Mallory Ruland
Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
Kayla Capener
Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Ruland wrapped up the stretch with three goals and 10 points while Olson also scored three along with four assists. First years Paige Othmer and Ryleigh Bychinski both collected four points, Othmer with three goals and Bychinski three assists and a game winner. 

Sophomore forward Kayla Garbacz notched two goals and an assist, senior defender Eryn Benson adding a goal and two helpers. Senior Bella Bowden and Kyran Merrell both collected a goal and assist and senior Lani Selje also scored once. 

Capener, Bychinski and Olson counted the game winners.

In goal, Gada collected three wins and dropped just one, stopping 104 of 115 shots for a .904 Save Percentage. First year goaltender Claire Scates came on in relief against the Eagles, kicking out both shots faced in the third period and she got the start in Brookfield, making 20 saves. 

The Lightning will look to climb back over the .500 plateau (7-7) Friday (Jan. 13) when the Cap City Cougars visit for a Badger Conference match at 7 p.m.  

The Lightning earned a 2-0 shutout win in the previous meeting in Sun Prairie on Dec. 3.  

The Lightning currently sit fourth in the conference with a 4-3 record.