Second period flurry lifts Warhawks past Lightning

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity girls opened its regular season Saturday afternoon with a tough test at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.  

The first Sauk County team to take the ice in anger, the Lightning, made up of players from Baraboo, Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells, Sauk Prairie and Elroy High Schools came up short in a 6-1 loss against the Arrowhead Warhawks. 

The score didn’t indicate the effort in the contest as the Lightning, suddenly blessed with three solid lines and a capable group on the blue line and between the pipes, outshot their guests by a 26-24 margin. 

In the first period in particular the locals held a 12-6 edge in shots, but most of their opportunities were from 20 feet or further away and easily handled by Arrowhead junior Katie Friel.  

The Warhawks scored once in the opening period but put a stranglehold on the contest in a stretch of 2:31 in the middle period when they found the mesh four times, turning a 2-0 edge into a lopsided 6-0 decision.  

The Badger Thunder finally hit paydirt in the final minute of the period when a frantic scramble in front of Friel saw senior linemates Bella Bowden and Kayla Capener along with sophomore teammate Reese Olson all banging away at a loose puck on top of the crease before Bowden finally lifted it over Friel. 

The team looked solid in the faceoff dot with senior Mallory Ruland and sophomore Kayla Garbacz finding success throughout the contest.

Third period was played mostly in the middle of the ice, both teams adding just one more shot to their respective team total. 

Junior Alyssa Gada kicked out 18 shots for the Lightning who will go back to work and prepare for another home game Friday (Nov. 25 against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers, a team it has never lost to. 

Bella Bowden (1) gets a chance in close against Arrowhead goaltender Katie Friel. Behind the goal is senior forward Kayla Capener. — Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

JV Warhawks 8 JV Lightning 2 

Two seasons ago, the Badger Lighting varsity team consisted of two lines and the 2022-23 version not only opened the season with three solid lines of forward and defense, but enough extra players to schedule some junior varsity games this season.  

First-year Kyran Merrell, a defender collected both Lightning goals in the contest and Coach Capener also mentioned first year forwards Elizabeth Hagg and Emma Diehl for promising starts to the season as well while first year goaltender Claire Scates made her high school debut between the pipes. 

The jv squad will also be in action Friday against Beaver Dam and there is a junior varsity only match against conference rival Cap City Cougars in Madison early the following week. 

Kayla Capener (4) and Reese Olson work together against an Arrowhead player to grab a loose puck during action in the WIAA season opener for both teams at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo on Saturday. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Sauk County varsity teams rolling into season

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Here we go! 

The highly anticipated 2022-23 varsity High School hockey season is just days away from facing off.  

For the Sauk County teams – RWD Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and Sauk Prairie Eagles in the Badger West Conference and the Badger Lightning varsity team from the Badger Conference, weeks of captain’s practices turned into actual practices in recent days with the regular season kicking off as early as Saturday. 

The Lightning, looking to make a jump into the middle or upper tiers of the Badger Conference this season, will be first out of the gate, entertaining the Arrowhead Warhawks on Saturday.  

In terms of personnel, this is probably the biggest Lightning team in a decade or more. Two seasons ago, the team fielded exactly two lines, hoping the COVID epidemic or any other illness or injury wouldn’t affect its team that had to have every player available. 

Two seasons later, the Lightning has grown to a full 27-player roster which means junior varsity games will be included on the schedule. 

After finishing last season with a 9-13 record last season, the Lightning has its eyes on .500 or better this time around and will get an interesting test out of the gate against a Warhawks team it hasn’t faced off against in a while. 

First Badger Conference match will be Saturday Dec. 3 against the Icebergs at Mandt Community Center in Stoughton and first home league game will be Dec. 9 against the Rock County Fury from Janesville/Beloit. 

Among the leaders for the Lightning this season is an awesome group of seniors including Kayla Capener who garnered all-state recognition last season, Bella Bowden, one of the fastest skaters around looking for a bounce back after injuries and adversity kept her out of the lineup much of last season and Mallory Ruhland, a gifted goal scorer who travels all the way from Elroy to suit up.  

In goal, the Lightning has junior Alyssa Gada who has already shown herself to be one of the best keepers in the conference. With improvements all around likely limiting the shots she will face, watch for Gada to have a huge campaign. 

Sauk Prairie Eagles – of the local varsity teams, the Eagles went the furthest last season, falling in Sectional semi-finals against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders in Sectional semifinals. 

Several graduations affect the team both on offense and defense, but there are some key players returning as well, including Luke Mast who finished among the state leaders last season with 27 goals and 69 points. In three years on the varsity team, Mast has racked up 53 goals and 128 points. 

The team has plenty of experience at the most important position as well, seniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney both veterans of the high school game in goal. 

Other seniors include Cole Scallon and Landon Clary, and Head Coach David Lohrei has done an amazing job in his seasons with the team and is able to provide a game plan based on whatever strengths the team has. 

The Eagles will open the regular season with a pair of road games, in Onalaska to play the Avalanche Tuesday (Nov. 22) and at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena to face Middleton on Nov. 26. 

First home game will also be the team’s first Badger West Conference game, taking on the Oregon Panthers Nov. 29. 

RWD Cheavers – The Cheavers look solid at all positions despite graduating a goaltender who started nearly every game for the team in all four seasons he attended RAHS. 

Cooper Oakes has established every record of note for Cheavers goaltenders, but junior Alex Griebe put up some amazing numbers as a junior varsity keeper last season and Head Coach Neil Mattson is confident, he can be relied on to take the team to the next level.  

The Cheavers graduated a small but amazing group of seniors last season but led by the Brandt bothers, forward Caden and defenseman Carsen, the team looks solid both up front and on the blue line.  

Caden has scored 58 goals and collected 91 points through his first three campaigns and could be among the state scoring leaders this time around. Carsen showed his physical and mental toughness last year when he decided to put off shoulder surgery and played through some excruciating pain in the late season games. He enters this season healthy and ready to go. 

John Scott is coming off not only his best season with the Cheavers, scoring 14 goals, but also an awesome season as a running back for WDHS football which has college scouts from two different sports knocking on his door. 

Other key contributors among the seniors are hardnosed forwards Caleb Eastman, Yevgeny Dedun and Conner Putz along with defenders Nate Stando and Logan DeMars, both regulars on the blue line along with Carsen Brandt last season.  

RWD will have to hit the ground running with a tough opening to the regular season, including its annual duel against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders, opening the season at RACA on Tuesday, followed up by a return visit to the four-team tournament in Somerset on Friday/Saturday. 

RWD will open against the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday.  

Following that, the Cheavers will head into a stretch of five straight Badger West Conference contests, taking it immediately to the halfway mark of the conference season. 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds – Thunderbirds had its struggles last season with illness, injury and adversity playing a key part.  

Positive reinforcement from Head Coach David Clark and great leadership from forwards Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams and goaltender Andrew Schaetzl kept the team in a lot of games. 

Clark has moved away from Baraboo, but Tony Bluske who has been with the team for several seasons and knows the players well, will be a perfect fit as the new mentor. 

Like Griebe with RWD, Burke Schweda showed his potential in both junior varsity and varsity games last season, and he will give the team stability in the blue paint this year and into the future. Brother Luke Schweda, a hard working forward with a nose for the net will be among the senior leaders as well as others. 

The Thunderbirds will kick off the regular season on the road, taking on Monona Grove Silver Eagles Tuesday and will play its first three games on the road, including a tough conference opener against defending champion Madison Edgewood on Nov. 28. 

First home game for the Baraboo/Portage fans will be the first of three straight at home Nov. 29 against Tomah/Sparta. 

Schaetzl kept busy for T-Birds at tournament

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds turned in some solid efforts but were unable to snap its losing streak in a couple games at a four-team holiday event hosted by Arrowhead Warhawks Dec. 29-30. 

Playing at the Howard G. Mullett Ice Center in Hartland, the Thunderbirds dropped its opening contest 4-2 against the host Warhawks, then fell 2-0 in the Consolation final the following day against the Sheboygan Red Raiders.  

In the opening game, sophomore Carson Zick pulled the T-Birds even at 1-1 from junior Peyton Sloan and first year Jordi Beale 4:49 from the first period buzzer. The Warhawks moved in front again though 38 seconds later and added another before the end of the opening period for a 3-1 cushion. 

After a scoreless middle frame, senior Oliver Scanlan made it a one-goal game again 7:40 into the third with help from juniors Landon Olson and Luke Schweda. The Warhawks restored its two-goal edge a couple minutes later. 

The close score flattered the Thunderbirds a bit, thanks to a standout effort in goal by senior Andrew Schaetzl who kicked out 33 of 37 in a game that saw the Thunderbirds outshot by a 37-8 margin.  

The other game was also close, the Homestead Highlanders earning a 4-3 edge against the Red Raiders. With that result, the Thunderbirds moved on to play Sheboygan while the Highlanders moved on to face the Warhawks the following day.  

Thunderbirds managed to keep the shots a little closer, but the Red Raiders held a 32-18 edge overall. But the result was not clinched until the Red Raiders nailed its second of the game with 1:46 to play. The game winner was scored two seconds from the end of the second period. 

The Championship game saw the host Arrowhead squad taking a 3-1 win against Homestead. 

The loss against Sheboygan was the fourth in a row for the Thunder who fell to 2-9 on the regular season.  

Thunderbirds head into the New Year with a quick flurry, playing a Badger West Conference match at Sauk Prairie Monday (Jan. 3) and a home game against Black River Falls Tigers the following night. 

Monk’s Culver’s and Mullet Cup tournaments

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

RWD, Baraboo/Portage and Sauk Prairie varsity teams will all hit the tournament trail this week, seeing some different teams and getting a break from their respective conference schedules. 

RWD Cheavers will once again host the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic. The 12th version of the tournament will see it once again as an eight-team event after being trimmed to four last season. 

The tournament has been an important launching pad for the Cheavers in past seasons. They won the first tournament and rolled from that to a state championship berth. In 2014-15, a team much like this season’s Cheavers carried a 4-3-1 record into the Monk’s tournament and turned three wins to win the title into an 18-game unbeaten streak that didn’t end until the State championship quarterfinals. 

The Cheavers will begin its latest version of the tournament in the final game of the day on Dec. 28 against the River Falls Wildcats at 7:30 p.m.  

Meanwhile the Sauk Prairie Eagles will begin play at the annual Culver’s Cup, playing out of Hartmeyer Ice Arena and Madison Ice Arena.  

The Eagles will begin at 2:45 p.m. against the Oshkosh Ice Hawks. 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will begin the following day at a tournament in Hartland. 

Here is a little information on the local tournament and the other ones as well.  

Monks’s Cheeseburger Classic  

Lake Delton Ice Arena

Tuesday, Dec. 28  

Game 1 — 12 p.m. — Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders (5-3, 2-2 Wisconsin Valley) vs. La Crescent-Hokah Lancers 4-2, Minnesota Independent) 

Game 2 — 2:30 p.m. — McFarland Spartans (4-5, 3-2 Badger East) vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers (3-4, 1-1 Mississippi Valley) 

Game 3 — 5 p.m. — Tomah Sparta (3-5, 1-0 Mississippi Valley) vs. Kenosha Thunder (4-2, 0-1 Classic Eight) 

Game 4 — 7:30 p.m. — RWD Cheavers (6-5, 3-2 Badger West) vs. River Falls Wildcats  (3-5, 0-4 Big Rivers)

Wednesday, Dec. 29 

Game 5 – 12 p.m. – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 

Game 6 – 2:30 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2  

Game 7 – 5 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 

Game 8 – 7:30 p.m. — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 

Thursday, Dec. 30 

Game 9 – 10 a.m. — Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 

Game 10 – 12:30 p.m. — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7 

Game 11 – 3 p.m. — Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 

Game 12 – 5:30 p.m. — Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8 

Culver’s Cup – Varsity Boys Division  

Tuesday Dec. 28 – Quarterfinals  

Game 1 – 2:45 p.m. — Sauk Prairie Eagles (6-2, 2-2 Badger West) vs. Oshkosh Ice Hawks (3-4, 2-1 Badgerland) — MIA 

Game 2 – 7:45 p.m. — Madison West Regents (3-7, 3-4 Big Eight) vs. Marshfield Tigers (6-3-1, 2-1 Wisconsin Valley) — MIA  

Game 3 – 5:15 p.m. — Marquette Hilltoppers (6-1, 1-0 Classic Eight) vs. Madison Memorial Spartans (4-6, 3-3 Big Eight) — MIA 

Game 4 – 7:45 p.m. — Ashland Oredockers (4-5, Independent) vs. Monona Grove Silver Eagles (3-5, 2-3 Badger East) — Hartmeyer 

Wednesday Dec. 29 – Semi Finals 

Game 5 – 12:15 p.m. — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – MIA 

Game 6 – 2:45 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – MIA 

Game 7 – 5:15 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – MIA 

Game 8 – 7:45 p.m. — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – MIA 

Thursday, Dec. 30 – Finals  

7th Place Game – 4:45 p.m. — Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 – Hartmeyer 

5th Place Game – 4:45 p.m. — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7 – MIA 

3rd Place Game – 7:15 p.m. — Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 – Hartmeyer  

Championship Game – 7:15 p.m. — Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8 – MIA 

Mullet Cup  

Howard G. Mullet Ice Center – Hartland, WI 

There will be four teams in this two-day event.  

On Dec. 29, the first game will pit the Homestead Highlanders (5-5, 0-0 North Shore) against the Sheboygan Red Raiders (3-9, 0-3 Fox River) at 4:45 p.m. followed by the Baraboo-Portage Thunderbirds (2-7, 1-2 Badger West) against the Arrowhead Warhawks (6-2, 0-0 Classic Eight). 

Game times and match ups for the Consolation and Championship game on Dec. 30 are still TBA as of press time.  

Badger Lightning 

The Lightning will not be in a tournament this season, but locals get a look at them at Pierce Park Pavilion on Wednesday at 5 p.m. when they play host to the Northern Pines Eagles at Pierce Park Pavilion wrapping up a three-game homestand. 

Thunderbirds to open at home Nov. 23

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Baraboo Thunderbirds are looking to approach the .500 plateau this season for the first time since 2015-16 and will get its regular season started on Nov. 23.

The team’s first of 22 scheduled contests will take place at Pierce Park Pavilion against the visiting Blackhawks. The Thunderbirds will also play the Middleton Cardinals on home ice four days later before opening the Badger West season with a trip to RACA to face its biggest rival, the RWD Cheavers on Dec. 7.

The conference schedule is more front loaded this season than it normally is and the Thunderbirds will play four of it’s 10-confrence matches with its first test against the Edgewood Crusaders coming on home ice Dec. 11, followed by a third straight conference game, at SPARC against the Sauk Prairie Eagles Dec. 11.

The Thunderbirds will take part in a four-team tournament for a second straight year, hosted by the Arrowhead Warhawks, starting Dec. 29-30. The regular season is scheduled to wrap up on Feb. 10, 2022 at the Waupun Community Center against the Waupun Warriors

Below is a look at the Baraboo Thunderbirds varsity regular season schedule as printed on the school’s athletic website. Games and times are subject to change.

Note – As this is written, there are no return conference matches scheduled against Oregon or Edgewood, so there is likely two more conference games to be added.

Baraboo Thunderbirds 2021-22 Varsity Schedule

Confeence games in bold

Nov. 23 – 7 p.m. vs. Viroqua Blackhawks @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Nov. 27 – 7 p.m. vs. Middleton Cardinals @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Dec. 7 – vs. RWD Cheavers @ RACA

Dec. 11 – vs. Edgewood Crusaders @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Dec. 14 – vs. Sauk Prairie Eagles @ SPARC

Dec. 16 – vs. Janesville Bluebirds @ Janesville Ice Skating Center

Dec. 18 – vs. Monroe Cheesemakers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Dec. 21 – vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers @ Onalaska Omni Center

Dec. 29-30 – Arrowhead Warhawks Quadrangular @

Jan. 4, 2022 – vs. Black River Falls Tigers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 8 vs. Oregon Panthers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 11 – vs. RWD Cheavers @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 13 – vs. McFarland Spartans @ McFarland Community Ice Center

Jan. 15 – BADGER CHALLENGE vs. Badger East opponent @ TBA

Jan. 25 – vs. Sauk Prairie Eagles @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Jan. 28 – vs. Mosinee Indians @ Pierce Park Pavilion  

Feb. 1 – vs. Monroe Cheesemakers @ State Line Ice & Community Expo (SLICE)

Feb. 8 – vs. Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche @ Pierce Park Pavilion

Feb. 10 – vs. Waupun Warriors @ Waupun Community Center

Mast helps TW 16U to three win weekend

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

After a loss and tie against the Windy City Storm the previous weekend, Team Wisconsin 16U opened play at a three-game weekend near St. Louis with a 5-2 edge against the same squad.

That win on Saturday (Sept. 4) boosted the TW squad to a perfect weekend as they followed it up with a 6-3 doubling of the Phoenix Junior Coyotes and then wrapped it up with a 2-1 win on Labor Day against Carshield U-16s.

Included on the Team Wisconsin 16U roster is Luke Mast, a junior forward with the Sauk Prairie Eagles who scored his first points of the campaign for the team, wrapping up the weekend with a goal and two assists and contributing in each game.

In the first contest, TW avenged its earlier matches with the Storm, scoring first and never trailing in the contest.

Jack McGregor (Freshman – University School of Milwaukee Wildcats) and Jack Bowe (Chippewa Falls Cardinals) both scored a pair of goals, McGregor adding an assist. Kyle Rohrer (Sophomore — Oregon Panthers) chipped in a goal and assist and Mast set up Bowe’s game opening marker.

Against the Coyotes, teams were even at 3-3 early in the final period before McGregor put TW in front to stay at the 4:54 mark and the Wisconsin crew notched a pair of insurance goals in the final five minutes.

Adam Timm (Sophomore – Rice Lake Warriors) fired a pair in the win with other TW goals added by Reece Cordray (Verona Wildcats); Bowe and Brady Engelkes (Middleton Cardinals). Mast picked up an assist on the Cordray goal that put TW up 3-1 in the middle period.

The second game was scoreless after a period and Mast finally got the TW on the board with his first TW goal 6:31 from the end of the middle frame.

That lead was padded by a goal from Bowe early in the third and Hayden Rising (Sophomore – St. Mary’s Springs Ledgers) was beaten just once in the second half of the game, just past the halfway mark of the third period. Devin Schutt (Sophomore – Arrowhead Warhawks) kicked out all 18 shots he faced in the first half for TW.

Generally, TW has played in high school regulation periods – 17 minutes in length, but they were stretched out a bit on this weekend playing 20-minute frames.

All games were played at the Centene Community Ice Center, Maryland Heights, MO.

The wins boosted the team’s overall record to 5-2-1. Next weekend the team will travel to Shattuck St. Mary’s in Fairbault, Minn. For a pair of games, Saturday, and Sunday.

Luke Mast’s first goal with Team Wisconsin put the team up 1-0 in the second period against Carshield at the Centene Community Ice Center on Labor Day.

Tie and tough loss for TW in Chicago

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The TW u-16 squad, including Luke Mast from the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team, picked up a tie and a loss in a return to Chicago this past weekend.

The Windy City Storm played host at the Orbit Ice Arena in Palatine, Ill., where teams battled to a 3-3 draw in the first game before the Storm sent the Wisconsin crew disappointed with a 2-1 loss in the getaway contest.

In the opening match, Team Wisconsin battled back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1, a pair of goals by Adam Timm (Rice Lake Warriors) in the final seven minutes of the contest sending it to overtime.

HThe Storm was up 2-0 after the first period, Brody Dietz (Hudson Raiders) notching the lone goal of the middle period to get TW on the board.

An early third period goal for the home team set the stage for Timm’s heroics and teams played through 10-minutes of overtime without a goal scored.

Hayden Rising (St. Mary’s Springs Ledgers) stopped 29 of 32 shots faced, including three in the overtime frame.

The second game saw teams battling through a scoreless first period before Kyle Rohrer (Oregon Panthers) opened the scoring for TW in the 11th minute of the middle period. A late second period goal tied it for the Storm and the game winner came with 4:49 to go in the final period.

Devin Schutt (Arrowhead Warhawks) stopped 19 of 21 in goal for the Wisconsin squad.

Mast contributed on the ice but didn’t pick up a point in the low scoring contests.

The holiday weekend will see the U-16 squad making the trip to the St. Louis area for a busy weekend of contests at the Centene Community Ice Center, beginning Saturday with a third straight meeting with the Windy City Storm. On Sunday, TW will take on the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, wrapping up Monday against Carshield, the host team.

Another tough second half buries Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

For a second straight day, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team saw a close game slip away as they ended up on the wrong end of a 7-2 decision against Marquette Hilltoppers at a four-team event played in Hartland.

The Dec. 29-30 event brought together the Thunderbirds, Hilltoppers, Arrowhead Warhawks and host Brookfield Stars who defeated the Thunderbirds 4-2 the previous day.

Even at 2-2 with 5:52 to play in the second period, the Thunderbirds trailed 4-2 by the end of the period then surrendered a trio of unanswered third period markers to make a much more lopsided final.

The Hilltoppers opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the contest, but sophomore Peyton Sloan fired his second of the season 3:51 from the end of the period to pull Thunderbirds even on a feed from senior Campbell Koseor.

A goal in the final minute had the Hilltoppers up 2-1 heading to the second and that lead held up until late in the middle session when  junior Gabe Fitzwilliams tied it again for the Thunderbirds with a set up from freshman Dylann Carpenter.

The tie was erased just over two minutes later and the Thunderbirds never scored again.

Andrew Schaetzl was peppered with 40 shots in the contest in goal for the Thunderbirds.

In the other contest saw Warhawks capturing top spot in the event with a 6-1 win against the Stars.

The losses in Hartland drop the Thunderbirds to 3-6 on the season so far and they will return to Pierce Park Pavilion Saturday (Jan. 2) for a 6 p.m. contest against Tomah/Sparta looking to get back on track.

Badger Lightning can’t recover from slow start

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

They recovered and put up a more sound fight in their own end, but the opening six minutes doomed the Badger Lightning varsity hockey team to a rough night at the office Wednesday (Dec. 30) turning into a 6-1 defeat against the Lakeshore Lightning at Pierce Park Pavilion.

The visiting team, also a cooperative effort bringing together players from several Southeast Wisconsin schools and based out of West Bend, hit the mesh three times in that opening six minutes, including the opening goal on its first real offensive threat with a nice deke move by Sydney Bartlett leaving her an easy finish.

That goal came in the third minute and the visitors added a couple more in the next three minutes to build a lead the Lightning could not overcome .

The Badger Lightning who had a few games postponed and had not been in game action since its Northern trip Dec. 12 spent much of the opening period becoming reacquainted with each other on the ice with some clear communication issues.

But those problems were brushed aside at the start of the second with a well-executed powerplay that resulted in a goal for Bella Bowden, her sixth in six games so far this season. Help came from linemate Kayla Capener and defender Eryn Benson, playing in her first game of the season. All three are sophomores.

On long passes and attempts to negate icing calls Bowden showed a different gear, shooting past defenders like a dragster on a nitrous burst, she was clearly the fastest player on the ice. Unfortunately though, that was the best and only converted attempt for the Lightning in the contest.

Defensively, the squad looked much more organized in the final two periods and did a good job of limiting its opponent to mostly shots from the outside. Freshman goaltender Alyssa Gada had no chance on the opening three, all from the top of the crease but kicked out chance after chance from the outside. Beaten just three times on the game’s final 30 shots,  she gave her team a chance to make it closer.

The Lakeshore squad piled up three more before the end, one on a nice pass and one-timer  no keeper would have handled and one other from the point through a maze of bodies.

Head Coach Rick Capener (see video interview) was disappointed with the loss, especially since in a previous meeting in West Bend, the home side managed just a 4-1 margin. However, with the layoff and a couple players absent, it was almost like starting a new season.

One bright light though was the play of sophomore defender Benson (see video interview) who collected the earlier assist and set up shop as a blueline quarterback on the powerplay. Benson also moved the puck well through the neutral zone, hooking up the forwards with some nice passes.

This has been a tough season so far for the young Lightning squad which fell to 1-5 and saw its current losing skid extended to four games. But the progress even during these three periods was evident.

After the long break, the Lightning face a busy week ahead beginning Monday (Jan. 4) when they entertain the 2-4 Arrowhead Warhawks at Pierce Park Pavilion followed 24 hours later by a visit from the  0-3 Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. Both games start at 7 p.m.

Thunderbirds can’t hold on to early lead

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds dropped a tough 4-2 decision to the host Brookfield Stars in the opening match of the Brookfield Quad held at the Howard G. Mullett Ice Center in Hartland on Tuesday (Dec. 29).

Up by a goal after a period and 2-0 just past the halfway mark of the middle period, the Thunderbirds still owned a 2-1 cushion heading to the third.

Momentum built for the home side though through the final period as they scored the tying goal 63 seconds in, then grabbed the lead at the 4:50 mark. Another goal with 7:35 to play boosted the margin and Brookfield went on to carry the lead to the finish line.

Unfortunately, scoring details were unavailable as this was put together and will be added later.

The other two teams involved also played to a 4-2 score, Arrowhead Warhawks doubling up on the Marquette Hilltoppers.

Thunderbirds will try to regroup in time for a game Wednesday (Dec. 30) at 5 p.m. against Marquette with the Warhawks and Stars facing off in the finale at 7 p.m.

The loss dropped the Baraboo/Portage squad to 3-5 on the season. Next up for the Thunderbirds will be a meeting with the Tomah/Sparta hockey club on Saturday (Jan. 2) at Pierce Park Pavilion.