Brandt fires four to lead RWD past Oredockers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheavers offense stalled but not stopped in Hayward

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Coop’ comes up big for Cheavers in Sauk

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

RWD varsity goaltender Cooper Oakes rose to the occasion in a big way at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) Friday night to lift the RWD squad to a 3-2 win against the host Sauk Prairie Eagles Tuesday (Feb. 1) night. 

Despite a 35-19 edge in shots in the contest, Oakes kept his crease clean for the most part. 

Out of the gate, the Eagles owned a 15-5 edge in shots through the first period but counted just one goal as sophomore Colin Harrington notched his first varsity goal, from senior twice Hakon and Erik Peterson 2:21 from the end of the opening period. 

The Eagles carried the lead into the second period, but the Cheavers found a way past junior Kaden Stracke in goal for the Eagles twice, grabbing a lead and holding it to the final buzzer. 

Junior Caden Brandt converted a Trevor Slaght feed for his 18th goal of the season to pull the Cheavers even 4:07 into the middle frame and junior John Scott notched his 12th late in the period from senior linemate Tomas Korndorfer. 

Both teams fired nine shots through the middle 17 minutes, but the Eagles dominated the shot clock again down the stretch with an 11-5 margin in the third.  

But it was the Cheavers on the board first in the frame with an all-senior effort, Slaght pulling the trigger on the game winner from CJ Pfaff and Grant Marsich 2:11 into the frame.  

Erik Peterson responded for the Eagles 6:55 in, but Oakes allowed nothing else past through the final 10 minutes to secure the win. 

All three Cheavers’ goals were scored at even strength and both Eagles’ markers came on powerplays. 

While the Cheavers celebrated an emotional win against one of its biggest rivals, also cheering was the Madison Edgewood Crusaders who are all but assured the Badger West Conference crown as both the Eagles and Cheavers have three losses while the Crusaders are undefeated through seven conference games.  

The Eagles saw an 11-game winning streak ended with the loss, its first since Dec. 17. 

The Cheavers boosted its overall record 15-6 and became the first team to wrap up its Badger West Conference schedule with a 7-3 mark. After seeing a long winning streak of its own ended Jan. 18, the team has shrugged it off with two wins since and is 11-1 since Dec. 17.  

RWD will head north for a pair of games this weekend against the Hayward Hurricanes (8-10-1, 4-3-1 Middle Border Conference) Friday night and the Ashland Oredockers (8-11, Independent) on Saturday, wrapping up its regular season Tuesday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Janesville Bluebirds (12-7-0, 8-4 Big Eight Conference). 

The Eagles sit at 14-3 on the season and 5-3 in Badger West Conference matches. The team has four games yet to play, three on home ice, beginning Thursday (Feb. 3) at home against the Middleton Cardinals (15-6-0, 9-5 Big Eight Conference). 

The lone road trip will be Monday (Feb. 7) when the Eagles travel to Monroe to play a Badger West Conference match against the Cheesemakers (2-17-0, 0-7 Badger West), then return home to play Tomah/Sparta (6-13-2, 1-3 Mississippi Valley Conference) Tuesday (Feb. 8) and the Madison Edgewood Crusaders (16-3-0, 7-0 Badger West Conference) two nights later.  

Big win for Cheavers’ seniors in RACA finale

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Just 48 hours after seeing its nine-game winning streak come to an end, the RWD varsity Cheavers started another with an 11-1 whipping of the visiting Monroe Cheavers on an emotional final night at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

The final night on the schedule saw senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kicking out 13 of 14 Monroe shots and laying claim to the prestigious ‘Team Tracy’ Tracy Jones Plaque (see related story) in a brief ceremony between the first and second periods. 

A 4-2 loss at La Bahn Ice Arena in Madison snapped a nine-game winning streak dating back to Dec. 14 but if there was a pity party, it sure wasn’t evident a RACA Thursday as the home team went to work with three goals in the final seven minutes of the opening period and never looked back.  

The Cheavers carried a 7-1 cushion into the final period and piled on another four down the stretch.  

The team’s leading scorer, senior Clayton Pfaff enjoyed another big offensive night with two goals and three assists while linemates; senior Trevor Slaght added four goals and junior Caden Brandt collected three assists.  

Senior Tomas Korndorfer fired his second hat trick in three games to pace, junior John Scott and sophomore Brady Baldwin both chipping in a goal and assist as the team’s primary two lines both continue to stay hot. 

The d-corps got involved as well, senior Grant Marsich, junior Logan De Mars and sophomore Iszak Elder each picking up an assist in the contest.  

The Cheavers held a 36-14 edge in shots.  

The win boosted the team’s overall record to 14-6 with four games yet to play. The team will hit the road for its next three, it’s final conference test at Sauk Prairie against the host Eagles Feb. 1, followed by the team’s second weekend trip to the northern part of the state this season, playing Hayward Hurricanes and Ashland Oredockers Feb. 4-5. 

The team will wrap up its regular season at Lake Delton Ice Arena honoring its seniors for a second time Feb. 8 against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

The team’s seniors were playing on home ice at RACA, the primary home base for the squad for the final time in regular season play. The team’s 14-6 record to date though should guarantee at least one more chance to play in RACA rink in the post season. 

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. 

High expectations for Cheavers in 2021-22

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity hockey team, representing Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Mauston High Schools is rolling into its 12th season as a co-operative squad and once again, the bar has been set high by Head Coach Neil Mattson and his charges.  

With a large group of seniors that have reached some lofty plateaus since they were young and a great supporting cast, the Cheavers appear to have all the bases – offense, defense and goaltending – covered heading into the season. 

Mattson and the Reedsburg Area High School Athletic Director Bryan Yager have worked to put together as tough a schedule as possible each season and the 2021-22 campaign will see the addition of teams like the Onalaska Hilltoppers, River Falls Wildcats, Eau Claire North Huskies and Ashland Oredockers while still maintaining the other already tough non-conference schedule. 

The realignment of the Badger Conferences will see Waunakee Warriors, Deforest Norskies and Beaver Dam Golden Beavers moving out while the always tough Madison Edgewood Crusaders, Oregon Panthers and Monroe Cheesemakers will join the Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and Sauk Prairie Eagles in what should be a difficult conference with no easy matches. 

Last season, the Cheavers put together an 11-8 regular season record in a tough season due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place. There was no official Badger Conference play, but there was a playoff schedule. After defeating the Middleton Cardinals in the opening round, the Cheavers fell in the Regional Finals to the Sauk Prairie Eagles.  

The team has been hit with a pair of injuries that will keep a pair of key players out of the lineup, but Mattson remains confident this team can overcome the adversity and move forward.  

Senior forward Trevor Slaght was injured on the biggest stage, as a member of the Janesville Jets 18U team playing and winning a USA Hockey National Championship in Green Bay in April. An ACL injury will sideline the speedy forward until at least January although he has been taking part in non-contact drills with the team since practices started last week. 

“He is a big asset to the offense when he returns,” said Mattson in a pre-season interview. “Trevor is one of the hardest working young men. He has the ability for next level and has been working very hard to return this season.” 

Also lost is junior defenseman Carsen Brandt who suffered a shoulder injury during the football season, requiring surgery that will have him sidelined for the entire 2021-22 hockey schedule. 

“He is going to be missed,” said Mattson adding he is one of the team’s top defenders. “But, thankfully, he will have his senior (2022-23) season. 

We have high expectations this season,” said the Coach. “Our mentality now is ‘next man up.’ We have a fantastic group of kids working hard this season.” 

To begin the campaign, the defense will likely include a group of five – Seniors CJ Pfaff, Ty Thompson and Grant Marsich along with sophomores Izak Elder and Mark Othmer, looking to carry the load with the loss of Brandt and the graduation of Schyvinck. 

Up front, it appears junior Caden Brandt and sophomore Brady Baldwin will stay together after teaming up with Ely last season as a potent trio. Junior Logan DeMars is penciled in as the third member of the unit this season.  

Junior John Scott, sophomore Trey Lariden and senior Tomas Korndofer are slated to play together as well with another line including junior Yevgeny Dedun, senior Mitchell Henke and junior Caleb Eastman will make up a line that will have as much responsibility on the defensive end as it does contribute to the offense.  

Senior Cooper Oakes will enter an already great run with the varsity team, five games shy of Tyler Arneson’s games played record (70) and he already holds the team records for wins (34); Shots (1,703), Saves (1,538) and Shutouts (9). The senior leader will also help in the grooming of freshman Alexander Griebe, who will take the torch in the future. 

The varsity team will hit the ice in West Salem for a scrimmage session Thursday with the host West Salem Panthers and Deforest Norskies. 

The Junior Varsity squad will kick off its season at RACA Monday (November 22) against Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and both teams will make the trip to Wisconsin Rapids to play the Red Raiders the following day.  

First home game for the Cheavers will be against the Onalaska Hilltoppers on Nov. 30. 

RWD Cheavers varsity players take a break from practice for a chalk talk from Head Coach Neil Mattson.

RWD faces tough schedule in 2021-22

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The focus of high school sports is currently fall sports – football, cross country, boys’ soccer, girl’s golf and tennis, swimming, and volleyball.

We know several players from local teams are already taking part in before/after programs and varsity high school teams will be stepping on the ice in the next few days or weeks to begin captain’s practices, allowing students to begin preparing for their upcoming seasons.

For the RWD Cheavers, the actual season will begin Nov. 5 with a get together at Monk’s with practices getting underway three days later.

The annual pre-season scrimmages will take place at West Salem with both the host Panthers and DeForest Norskies taking part.

For the seventh time in nine seasons, the Cheavers will open the campaign against the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Red Raiders. The other two times the teams squared off in the second game of the campaign. This time around the game will be played at the South Wood County Recreation Center.

New this season will be a Thanksgiving Weekend tournament in Somerset and the other Holiday tournament, the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic will return to its normal eight-team field with several new teams raising the caliber of the event.

The Somerset event will involve both the varsity and junior varsity teams with other teams from Eau Claire North, New Richmond and of course, the host Somerset teams taking part.

The RWD varsity team will open the event on Nov. 26 against the Eau Claire North Huskies immediately followed by the JV Cheavers against the New Richmond JV Tigers.  Opponents and start times for the second day will depend on game results.

The Monk’s Battle for the Cheeseburger Classic will see familiar teams like Wisconsin Rapids, Tomah, McFarland, and Kenosha, but will also this season involve the Onalaska Hilltoppers, La Crescent Lancers and River Falls Wildcats.

Here is a look at the RWD Cheavers’ schedule as of Sept. 1. Games and start times are subject to change between now and the start of the season.

One different thing this season will be the Badger Conference Challenge which will pit teams from the Badger West against the Badger East. Opponents and start times will be determined based on standings at the time and the site is still to be determined as well. It will be played Jan. 15.

Badger West Conference games are in bold type.

November

23 — @ Wisconsin Rapids

26-27 — @ Somerset Spartans Holiday Tournament

30 — vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers

December

3 – vs. Edgewood Crusaders

7 – vs. Baraboo Thunderbirds

9 — @ Monroe Cheesemakers

11 – vs. Baldwin-Woodville Hawks

14 — @ Oregon Panthers

17 – vs. Sauk Prairie Eagles

21 — @ Tomah Timberwolves

28-30 MONK’S BATTLE FOR THE CHEESEBURGER CLASSIC

January 2022

4 — @ Waupaca Comets

6 or 8 — @ Edgewood Crusaders

11 — @ Baraboo Thunderbirds

15 — @ Badger Conference Challenge

20 – vs. Monroe Cheesemakers

25 – vs. Oregon Panthers

27-29 JV Tournament at Lake Delton Ice Arena (Hosted by DeForest)

February

1 – @ Sauk Prairie Eagles (JV @ Monroe)

4 — @ Hayward Hurricanes

5 — @ Ashland Oredockers

8 – vs. Janesville Bluebirds