Froese sinks overtime winner for Eagles

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Freshman forward Landon Froese fired his second of the game with 5:13 to play in overtime, lifting the Sauk Prairie Eagles to a 5-4 road win at the Onalaska Omni Center Thursday (Dec. 1) night.


The win came in the first game without senior Luke Mast in the lineup and it was an impressive victory against the always strong Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers.
Sidelined with a wrist injury, Mast, who finished among the state leaders in scoring last season had 136 career varsity points.
Hilltoppers hit the board first for the Hilltoppers 8:59 into the contest but Froese fired his first of the contest 25 seconds later from sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner.


Junior Thor Peterson continued that trend later in the period, responding to the second Hilltoppers’ goal again 25 seconds later with his unassisted goal.
Junior Colin Harrington gave the visitors their first lead with a shorthanded goal, unassisted with just over five minutes to play in the opening period.
After a scoreless second period, the Hilltopers pulled even 6:29 into the third and this time it was 31 seconds before Harrington’s second put the Eagles in front again with a set up from junior Garret Mittelsteadt.
For the Hilltoppers, junior Noah Gillette scored twice and senior Carter Hayes notched the other before Gavin Shuster evened it up again with 7:26 to play.
That set the stage for Froese with another unassisted marker in the extra period.
Senior goaltender Kaden Stracke played a big part in this one, stopping 39 shots for his third win of the season in the Eagles’ crease and sophomore Josh Pogreba had 24 saves for the Hilltoppers.


Ironically, with the win, the Eagles have one more win at the Omni Center (2) than at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). The other win came in the season opener against the Avalanche.
This win came in the first of four-straight road games for the Eagles. The next three for the 3-1 (1-0) will be Badger West Conference match ups at Pierce Park Pavilion against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Saturday (Dec. 3), Tuesday at Reedsburg Area Community Arena against the RWD Cheavers and Thursday at LeBahn Arena against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders.
Next home game for the Eagles will also be a conference game as the Monroe Cheesemakers pay a visit Dec. 13.

Mast, Harrington pace Eagles past Panthers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

On paper they should be about even, but the Sauk Prairie Eagles continued its run of Badger West Conference wins against the Oregon Panthers Tuesday night with a 4-2 doubling in their home opener at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). 

The Eagles now have three straight wins against the Cats since Badger conferences were realigned to start the 2021-22 campaign. 

Senior Luke Mast and junior Colin Harrington paced the Eagles with two goals apiece in a game the home side never trailed.  

A powerplay solo effort from Mast opened the scoring 7:32 into the match put the Eagles on the board, but Oregon senior Simon Dosher tied it up five seconds from the end of the opening period.  

Mast’s second put the Eagles in front again 7:48 into the second but the Panthers rallied back again, this time just over two minutes later.  

Harrington notched the eventual game winner to give the Eagles its third and final lead of the night 82 seconds from the end of the middle period and he added insurance near the three-minute mark of the final period. The final Eagles’ goal was the only one with set ups, Mast and sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner collected the assists. 

For Mast, the three-point contest gives him five goals and eight points just three games into the season. 

Senior Kaden Stracke stopped 23 shots to collect his second win of the season while Oregon junior Nate McAlpine made 19 saves. 

The Eagles moved to 2-1 on the season with the win and 1-0 in Badger West play while the Panthers fell to 1-1 and 0-1 in league play. The Panthers will play its first home game Friday, entertaining the RWD Cheavers in another conference battle.  

The Eagles will go back on the road for its next four games, beginning Tuesday (Dec. 1) at the Onalaska Omni against the Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers with a 7 p.m. puck drop. Following that the Eagles will play Badger West Conference matches Saturday at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo Saturday, at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) Tuesday (Dec. 6) and LeBahn Arena in Madison against the Edgewood Crusaders Thursday, Dec. 8. 

Next home game will be Dec. 13 at SPARC against Monroe Cheesemakers, another conference tilt. 

Varsity Cheavers bury Bluebirds in regular season finale

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers had one final test and passed with flying colors to check another box on its list of goals for the 2021-22 season with a 9-3 win against the visiting Janesville Bluebirds in its finale on Tuesday (Feb. 8). 

Before the season started, Head Coach Neil Mattson and his players set a goal of winning 18 games in its 24-game regular season. That sure didn’t seem likely when the team pulled into the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic at just over .500 with six wins and five losses. 

But a 14-1 stretch to wrap up the season helped the team check the box, grab a number four seed in the 14-team Sectional pool and gain some major momentum heading into what the team hopes will be a long post season run. 

The Bluebirds are no slouch, come into the game Tuesday with a 12-9 record and playing in the tough Big Eight Conference, but the Cheavers left no doubt which was the better team, outshooting its guest 52-21 including a dominant 26-5 edge in the middle period. That helped the team turn a 2-1 cushion after 17 minutes into a 7-2 margin by the start of the third. 

Offensively, four players collected four points in the contest. Junior Caden Brandt led the way with a four-goal game wrapping up a 26-goal, 46-point regular season. Junior John Scott added two goals and two assists, a total matched by senior linemate Tomas Korndorfer and senior C.J. Pfaff, the team’s leading scorer, set up four to finish a 49-point campaign.  

The other Cheavers’ goal came from sophomore Brady Baldwin, third member of the line with Korndorfer and Scott while Trevor Slaght, third member of the line with Pfaff and Brandt, collected two assists.  

Senior defenseman Grant Marsich also collected an assist and senior goaltender Cooper Oakes wrapped up an 18-win season, third best total in the state. A starter for RWD since his first game as a freshman, Oakes wrapped up his varsity regular season career with a 52-31-3 record with RWD goaltending records in almost every category. 

Next up for the local squad is the post season, beginning Tuesday (Feb. 15) at Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds.  

Between the first and second periods, the Cheavers seniors and sophomores paid tribute to their favorite teachers in a brief on-ice ceremony. 

RWD varsity seniors and sophomores honored their favorite high school teachers during a brief ceremony at Lake Delton Ice Arena between the first and second periods on Tuesday.
RWD varsity Head Coach (left) and Lake Delton Ice Owner Aaron Kirby (right) paid tribute to longtime fan, William Pettit before the start of Tuesday’s game at Lake Delton Ice Arena, presenting him with an RWD sweater. Pettit is a regular at the rink for almost every varsity and junior hockey game.
A surprise addition to the RWD varsity team this season was Tomas Korndorfer, a senior from Czech Republic attending Wisconsin Dells High School as an exchange student this season. Korndorfer centers a high octane offensive line with junior John Scott and sophomore Brady Baldwin.
Head Coach Neil Mattson and his players set a pre-season goal of 18-wins this season and the team reached that goal winning 14 of its final 15 games.

Mast’s third lifts Eagles past Panthers 6-5

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

By Jim den Hollander  

The Sauk Prairie Eagles collected a needed 6-5 win on the road in Oregon to keep its hopes of at least a share of the Badger West Conference alive on Thursday (Jan. 20). 

The back-and-forth contest saw the Eagles scoring first and up 2-1 against the Panthers after a period. Teams traded goals in the first half of the middle period but three goals in 2:59 had the host Panthers up 5-3 2:31 from the end of the middle stanza. 

The Eagles responded with two goals 23 seconds apart from seniors Micah Hanson and Nick Mast pulling the Eagles even in the final minute of the period. 

The lone final period goal was the game winner and third of the game for Nick Mast, scored unassisted 4:26 from the final whistle.  

Hanson also fired three goals, Mast adding a couple assists. Senior Hakon Peterson had two assists with twin brother Erik adding one and junior Luke Mast also picked up a helper.  

For the Panthers, junior Kyle Rohrer scored three goals and set up another to strengthen his state-leading points total to 85 while sophomore Andrew Jicha added two goals and two assists to stay second in state with 75 points. Jicha also leads the state in goals with 45. 

Nick Mast is seventh in points with 55 and Luke Mast rounds out the top 10 with 52. 

The Eagles held the edge in shots 33-29 and junior goaltender Kaden Stracke picked up the win in goal.  

The win was the 10th consecutive ‘W’ for the Eagles who improve its season record to 13-2 and its Badger West Conference record to 4-2. The Eagles have six games remaining on its schedule including the final game of the season against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Feb. 10. The Crusaders have yet to lose a conference match so the Eagles would need one other conference rival to step up before that finale to keep its hopes of a conference title alive. 

Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Baraboo’s Pierce Park Pavilion to play the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds on Tuesday (Jan. 25). 

Crusaders clinch in in final period against Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers dropped its first conference test of the season despite a gritty effort and yet another standout performance between the pipes.  

Outshot 17-5 through the opening period, senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kept everything out of the RWD net and teams were still scoreless heading to the second.  

The visitors put up another 15-7 margin on the scoreboard and broke through with a pair of middle period markers, but in between was junior John Scott’s first goal of the season, from sophomore Trey Lariden, keeping the game close at 2-1 with a period to play.  

The Crusaders finally pulled away with two goals in the opening seven minutes of the final period.  

Seniors J.J. Wiebusch and Aidan Lenz both scored a pair for the Crusaders while assisting on one for the Crusaders and senior Cody Menzel had three assists. All three played for the Team Wisconsin 18U team this fall.  

The loss dropped the Cheavers to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in Badger West Division play while the Crusaders improved to 2-1 and opened conference play with a win. 

Tomas Komdofer made his varsity debut with the team Friday and the defense corps is expecting a boost in time for Tuesday’s contest. 

The Cheavers will be on home ice again Tuesday for the always exciting rivalry contest against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at 7 p.m. The Crusaders were scheduled to play Saturday night at Hartmeyer Ice Arena against the Madison Memorial Spartans and also faces a big conference match Tuesday on home ice at LaBahn Arena in Madison against the 3-0 Sauk Prairie Eagles. 

Offense too late for JV Cheavers against Crusaders

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD junior varsity Cheavers took a while to get its offense started allowing the visiting Madison Edgewood Crusaders a chance to pull away for a 5-2 win. 

The Crusaders carried a 2-0 lead out of the first period and added three more in the middle period before the host side finally hit the board with two down the stretch.  

Freshman Tristan Edgerton scored the first RWD goal slamming home the rebound of a shot by freshman Kaden Uminski. The second goal came from Conner Putz who one-timed a shot from the top of the crease after a pass from behind the net off the stick of Nate Stando. 

Freshman Matt Richter scored twice for the Crusaders with others for Sam Schauchte, Ben Block and Dylan Lenz. 

Both freshman Alex Griebe in goal for the Cheavers and Lawson Kinsman in goal for the Crusaders made 26 saves in the contest.  Dylan Lenz, B

The Cheavers’ record falls to 4-2 with the loss to the Crusaders and they face a rematch with the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Tuesday night who they defeated in their opening game of the season. 

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.

Thompson leads RWD past Red Raiders

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

RWD varsity Cheavers have taken two out of its first three contests and have likely already faced its toughest opponent for this season.

Last Thursday (December 3). The Cheavers collected a 2-1 win in its annual early season match against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders.

It was a big night for Ty Thompson, a defenseman known more for his play in his own end. Thompson’s seeing eye shot from the point made it through a crowd and into the short side of the goal for a powerplay marker to put the locals up 8:44 into the opening period.

After the Raiders responded with a powerplay goal just 82 seconds from the end of the middle period, the Cheavers racked up the game winner on yet another powerplay, this time Thomson playing a set-up role on Danny Ely’s third goal of the season.

Trevor Slaght and Ely —  who has now played a part in six of the team’s first seven goals this season – collected assists on the Thompson goal.

In goal, Cooper Oakes turned aside 20 of 21 shots faced for his second win of the season.

Head Coach, Neil Mattson was not surprised by Thompson’s offensive showing and said (in a texted interview) he expects to his number on the game sheet more often this season.

“Ty Thompson will continue to get better each game. Once he starts to communicate better eh will be one of the better defensemen we have,” said Mattson. “He is a great kid.”

In the past, games with the Red Raiders had added importance as the teams were in the same Sectional pool, but Coach Mattson said he thinks this season might see the importance return.

“(There is a) good chance it could have seeding implications as I feel the sections may chance because of the teams not playing.

Ty Thompson scored the first goal, then set up Danny Ely for the game winner against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Thursday. Photo by Gary Wiles

“But more importantly, I have held a very high regard for Wisconsin Rapids and Coach (Pat)McDonald. We played them 14 years ago for the first time in playoffs and lost 9-2. I will always remember looking at the banners in that rink and hoped one day we could have the same for the young men that have played for us. Today, we have eight Conference titles, two Sectional Championships, GPA honors and several Sectional runner ups.”

 

Cheavers 0 @ Fond du Lac Springs 6

RWD hit the road for the first time Saturday and saw its season-opening streak shut down with a 6-0 loss to the Fond du Lac Springs Ledgers, defending WIAA Division 2 State champions.

Heading into the contest, Mattson said he looked forward to the tough assignment as despite a state championship the previous season, the Ledgers have several returners and have several players that have drawn attention from scouts up to the NCAA Division 1 level.

“We just need to play smart and not have too many turnovers,” said Mattson heading into the contest. “I am excited to play a team like this. I always like the challenge for the team. We have nothing to lose in this game. Go in, have fun and most importantly, it will make us a better team. I am proud of these young men and all that have come before them.”

The Ledgers improved its own record to 2-0 with the 6-0 win in a game that saw the home side hold a 40-9 edge in shots on goal.

Brady Welch led the winners with a two-goal game and the Ledgers not only shutout the Cheavers on the scoresheet, they also put up a 17-0 margin in shots in the first period, a rarity at this level of play.

Following a busy opening week, the Cheavers head home to play the Sauk Prairie Eagles at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) Tuesday, the first of three against conference rivals on home ice.

For the Eagles, the game will be their season opener. Beaver Dam Golden Beavers will follow on Friday night and the following week will see the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds paying a visit. While the Cheavers are playing home and away games against these teams this season, there is no Badger North Conference championship or all-Conference honors. DeForest Norskies are not playing in the WIAA this season and it appears the Waunakee Warriors are playing a limited schedule.