Gada shutout leads Lightning past Golden Beavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team broke into the win column Saturday thanks in part to a 22-save shutout for junior goaltender Alyssa Gada and a goal from senior Mallory Ruland. 

That turned out to be the game winner and the lone goal in a 1-0 win for the Lightning.  

After Ruland’s goal, set up by first-year Kyran Merrell and sophomore Katelyn Allen with 4:46 to play in the opening period, it was all up to the goaltenders – Gada with the goose egg and Beaver Dams’ Emily Smedema who kicked out 35 of 36 at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.  

The win boosted the Lightning record to 1-1 while the Golden Beavers were playing their first game of the season. The game was the first Badger Conference game of the season for both teams. 

The Lightning will be back in action Tuesday, hitting the road for the first time this season to take on the Wisconsin Valley Union at South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids in a 5 p.m. contest. The Lightning will stay on the road for three games with confrerence matches on Saturday at Stoughton’s Mandt Community Center against the Icebergs and a visit to Sun Prairie Ice Arena Monday Dec. 5 to play the Cap City Cougars.  

Next home game for the locals will be another conference tilt against the Rock County Fury at Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 9. 

Alyssa Gada stopped everything the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers could fire against her in collecting her first win and first shutout of the 2022/23 season Saturday at Pierce Park Pavilion. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
Mallory Ruland (13) handles the puck off a faceoff Saturday with some help from teammate and fellow senior Lani Selje.(25). Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

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

WAHA State Preview — Sauk Prairie Squirt ‘A’ Flyers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

This is the first of six previews of WAHA State Championship tournaments involving local youth teams this weekend. 

Sauk Prairie Squirt ‘A’ Flyers 18-10-2 (some game results missing) – Shawano 

The Squirt ‘A’ Flyers will be representing Region 4 at the State Squirt 3A tournament to be held in Shawano.  

The local squad was the top seed heading into the Region 4 playdowns, drawing a bye through the semi-final and straight to the finals.  

The other finalist spot went to the RWD Cheavers who downed the Monroe Avalanche 8-2. The Flyers played host to the Cheavers in the Regional Championship match, collecting a 5-4 win. 

All eight teams at the state championship tournament will play twice on Saturday. The Flyers will be in the third game of the day, against the Ashland Youth Hockey Squirts (18-18-1) at 11:30 a.m. at the Crawford Center in Shawano.   

The teams faced each other for the first and only time this season this past weekend at a tournament in Ashland. A 9-3 win for the Flyers allows them to carry momentum into its opening game. 

The second game of the day for the Flyers will be at either 4:30 or 5:45 p.m. and against either the Somerset Spartans (24-18-3) or the Lakeland Hawks (no statistics available) all depending on the teams’ performances in their opening game.  

The other four teams taking part in Shawano include the Marshfield Youth Hockey Association Squirts (No statistics available); Shawano Lightning (No statistics available); Beaver Dam Golden Beavers (14-12-1) and the Waupaca Area Youth Hockey Association Squirts (33-11-4). 

The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with the final game of the day facing off at 5:45 p.m.  

Sunday will start with the seventh-place contest at 9 a.m. and wrap up with the state championship match at 1:30 p.m.  

All 12 games at the Crawford Center will be available on LiveBarn. 

Sauk Prairie Squirt ‘A’ Flyers include: Henry Zuelke; Bryce Argall; Isabelle Jolicoeur; Kelton Royster; Brayton Bahe; Luke Hager; Teresa Weiss; Mason Ramirez; Milo Donaldson; Oswald Tippery; Joshua Freeman; Cashton Suchla; Jonathon Bromley and Jaydon Teague. 

Saukhockey.info wants to wish the Sauk Prairie ‘A’ Flyers good luck at their State Tournament in Shawano this weekend. 

Lightning downs Raiders for best finish since 2014-15

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning snapped a four-game losing streak and entered the post season on a winning note with a 4-1 decision against the Medford Raiders at Pierce Park Pavilion Friday (Feb. 11). 

The Raiders, defeated by the Lightning three times this season, did not make this one easy, carrying a 1-0 lead out of the first period and even at 1-1 heading to the final 17-minutes.  

Patience paid off for the Lightning who owned a 39-14 edge in shots including an overwhelming 21-1 edge through the middle period.  

The Raiders held a slim 7-6 edge through the opening period and counted the game opener in the third minute with a goal from junior Eryka Seidl.  

Alyssa Gada returned from illness an stopped all but one of the 14 Raiders shots including everything fired at her in the final 47 minutes of the contest. 

Junior Bella Bowden recently added to the Lightning lineup connected for her first goal 47 seconds into the second period from first years Kayla Garbacz and Reese Olson and teams were still even heading to the third. 

Junior Mallory Ruland notched the game winner, her first of two in the period and seventh of eight regular season goals 2:36 into the period, from junior Kayla Capener who became just the second Lightning player to hit the 100-point plateau and senior Signe Begalske. 

Junior defender Eryn Benson added some insurance a couple minutes later and Ruland rounded it out at the 6:38 mark, both with unassisted goals. 

The win boosted the Lightning finished the regular season for the Lightning with a 9-13 record, the most wins for the team since the 2014-15 season. 

The Lightning moves on to the WIAA Playoffs, playing in a section that includes all seven teams from the Badger Conference. The local squad will travel to Sun Prairie for one of four Regional Championship matches in its section on Thursday against the Cap City Cougars – start time still to be determined. 

Winner will advance to the Sectional semifinals on Feb. 22 against either the second seeded Viroqua Blackhawks or seventh seeded Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. 

Begalske leads Lightning to four weekend wins

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

This must be a first in WIAA hockey history. The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team turned a six-game losing streak into a four-game winning streak in 24 hours this past weekend (Jan. 28-29). 

The team made the trip to Beaver Dam Family Ice Center and picked up an 11-0 shutout against the host Golden Beavers Friday night. 

After spending the night in Beaver Dam, the team returned to ice and collected three wins Saturday, 6-1 and 4-2 against the Medford Raiders and another shutout against the host Golden Beavers 7-0. 

Lightning 11 Golden Beavers 0 

Best thing about the opening contest of the weekend was probably the array of players collecting points. 

The Lightning carried a 3-0 lead out of the opening period and piled on another five in the middle frame before wrapping it up with three more down the stretch. 

 Six different shooters scored in the contest, led by senior Signe Begalske who continued her awesome season with three goals and an assist.   

Junior Kayla Capener, senior defender Carson Blosenski and first-year Kayla Garbacz each scored twice, Capener also picking up four set ups in the match.  

Another first-year, Reese Olson scored a goal with an assist as well, the other goal scored by sophomore Madchen Ewig along with an assist and junior Lily McPherson had an assist as well.  

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada kicked out the six shots fired at her to pick up her second shutout of the season.  

Lightning 6 Raiders 1 

The girls kicked off a three-game Saturday, scoring two unanswered first period goals and outscored the Raiders 3-1 in the second before adding one more in the final 17.

This time Olson stepped up for the offense with her first varsity hat trick, Begalske adding a goal and three assists while Capener also set up three.  

Other goals came from Junior defender Eryn Benson and senior Emily Gunnell, Benson adding an assist.  

Blosenski also had a helper and Gada kicked out 15 of 16 shots she faced.  

Lightning 7 Golden Beavers 0  

In the middle game Saturday, the Lightning and Gada picked up its second goose egg of the weekend, the goaltender stopping four to grab the win.  

Lightning outshot its host 39-4 and that paid off with three unanswered first period goals and two in both the second and final periods. 

Olson and Begalske continued their torrid pace with two goals and an assist each, Capener adding a goal and two helpers.  

Other goals came from Benson and McPherson who also picked up an assist.  

Blosenski and first-year Audrey Hanko collected assists in the game. 

Lightning 4 Raiders 2  

The final game was the closest, but despite the heavy workload, the Lightning still controlled the contest, outscoring Medford 2-1 in the first and second periods and playing through a scoreless final frame.  

Gada allowed just three goals and 12 periods, stopping another 10 to pick up her fourth straight win. 

Begalske picked up her seventh and eighth goals of the weekend and Capener notched a goal and assist. The other goal came from Ewig with single assists for Blosenski and McPherson. 

The wins boosted the Lightning’s overall mark to 9-8 and the Lightning was scheduled to play again Tuesday (Feb. 1) at Pierce Park Pavilion, a 7 p.m. start against the Warbirds (11-6-1, 4-2-1 Eastern Shores Conference).  

That will leave the team with four games to play beginning Thursday against the Cap City Cougars (10-10, 6-3 Badger Conference). 

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Tuesday’s home game wasn’t a win, but a clear sign, the Badger Lightning is knocking on the door of becoming a mid-pack team in the Badger Conference. 

Playing a rare home night in at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC), the Lightning dropped a 3-2 decision to the Viroqua Blackhawks who swept the season Badger Conference series after a 4-1 win in Viroqua in December.  

The win was also the 11th consecutive win for the Blackhawks against the Lightning, but following 6-3 and 11-3 losses to the same team a year ago, the local Co-op is clearly heading in the right direction.  

Teams were even at 1-1 after a period and 2-2 heading to the third, Blackhawks Junior Cadence Dehlin snaring the game winner with 2:36 to play in the contest.  

Junior Kayla Capener fired both goals for the Lightning, her 10th and 11th of the season while senior Signe Begalske, playing in front of her home crowd, set up both goals. Defender Eryn Benson also collected an assist.  

Juniors Leonie Boettcher and Rachel Simonson scored the other two Blackhawks’ goals.

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada stopped all but three of the 39 shots she faced as the Blackhawks held a 39-28 edge overall on the shot counter. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-9 on the season and extended its current losing skid to six games, going back to Dec. 21. 

The Lightning have nine games remaining on its schedule but will knock four off this weekend with two games each against Beaver Dam Golden Beavers and Medford Raiders in Beaver Dam. The team’s losing streak will almost for sure end in that stretch as well.  

Next home game for the Lightning will be Thursday (Feb. 3) when the Cap City Cougars pay a visit. 

Stracke-McInerney share another Eagles shutout

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles stayed hot with a 4-0 shutout against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers in one of five Badger West Conference wins against rivals from the Badger East Conference at Waunakee Ice Ponds. 

For the second time this season, junior goaltenders Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerny shared a shutout, combining to handle all 16 shots put at them by the Golden Beavers. 

All four Eagle’s goals came in the middle period, scored by seniors Nick Mast, Micah Hanson, and Erik Peterson along with junior Luke Mast. The first three came in a span of 2:19 in the middle of the frame. Hanson added two assists, the other three goal scorers each picking up one helper. Other assists went to junior Ethan Tranel and sophomore Karsyn Banta. 

The Eagles dominated the contest with a 44-16 edge in shots.  

The win continues a winning streak for the Eagles to eight games and the team’s overall record is 11-2.  

The Eagles return to action Tuesday (Jan. 18) back on the road to face the Sun Prairie Cardinals, the first of three consecutive road matches. Next home game will be Feb. 1 when the Eagles play host the RWD Cheavers. 

Gada records first varsity shutout

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

After snapping a two-game losing streak, the longest of the season so far with a 9-0 shutout win against the visiting Beaver Dam Golden Beavers in the first of three-straight on home ice at Baraboo’s Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 17, the Badger Lightning came up short against the Icebergs on Dec. 21 in its final game before the Christmas Break.  

Golden Beavers 0 @ Badger Lightning 9  

Starting out the stretch was the third win this season against the Golden Beavers, a team the Lightning has never lost to. 

Offensively, the Lightning was consistent with three goals in each period while in goal, sophomore Alyssa Gada picked up her first WIAA shutout. 

Junior forward Kayla Capener continued her torrid offensive pace with four goals and an assist in the contest, senior Signe Begalske chipping in a goal and two assists. Junior Lily McPherson and first-year Kayla Garbacz each contributed a goal and assist. 

Zoey Udelhofen, Eryn Benson and Lani Selje each picked up a goal assists, the other goal scored by Mallory Ruland. 

The Lightning held a lopsided 46-5 edge in shots against the Golden Beavers  

Icebergs 4 Lightning 0 

Against the Icebergs, Lightning played mostly even, the visitors holding a 32-24 edge overall in shots, but the big difference was Laila Howe who fired three of the four Icebergs’ goals, including the game winner near the halfway mark of the first period.  

Icebergs scored singles in the first and third with two in the middle frame. 

The Lightning entered the Christmas break even at 4-4. Unfortunately, all four losses have come against Badger Conference opponents, so the team’s conference record at this point is 2-4. 

The team will wrap up a three-game homestand on Wednesday (Dec. 29) with a non-conference meeting with Northern Pines Eagles (4-3, Independent). 

Gada kicks out 40 but Lightning can’t stay with Blackhawks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning finally faced an opponent again on Monday (Dec. 13) dropping a 4-1 Badger Conference decision to the host Viroqua Blackhawks at Viroqua Community Arena.  

With a postponed game against the Metro Lynx on the previous Friday, it was a full week between games for the Lightning and they faced a Viroqua team that might be a year or two ahead of them in current development. 

The score flattered the Lightning a little as the stats showed a whopping 44-15 edge in shots for the home team including a 12-3 in the opening frame and 16-1 in the final period. 

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada continues to shine in the blue paint for the Lightning, kicking out 40 shots, including all 16 in that third period. 

The Blackhawks fired a pair of unanswered first period adding two more in the second before senior Signe Begalske shattered the shutout bit of Viroqua goaltender Sami Bramstedt 33 seconds after the home side widened the gap to 4-0 in the middle period.  

Assists on the goal went to junior Kayla Capener and Eryn Benson. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 3-3 on the season and 1-3 in Badger Conference matches. 

The Lightning will get used to Pierce Park Pavilion in the leadup to the Christmas break with three on home ice, beginning Friday (Dec. 17) against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers, a team they defeated twice already this season 

On Tuesday night the Lightning will entertain the Icebergs in another conference match wrapping up the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule. 

Capener’s five points paces Lightning attack

Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team followed up its opening 10-1 win against Beaver Dam Golden Beavers with a carbon copy Saturday afternoon to open the season with back-to-back wins. 

The attack started a little slower in the second game. Up 5-0 after a period earlier, the Lightning carried a 2-0 cushion into the middle period in the late game but blew the game open with a 5-1 margin through the middle 17-minutes.  

Junior Kayla Capener led the charge scoring twice and setting up three others to wrap up a five-point game and an eight-point day. 

Other Lightning goals came from Katelyn Allen, Audrey Hanko, Carson Blosenski, Signe Begalske and Lani Selje. Begalske added a couple assists with singles for Benson and Selje. 

Lily McPherson also picked up two assists with others added by Reese Olson and Madchen Ewig. 

Kaitlin Elder handled the work in goal for the Lightning, matching her teammate Alyssa Gada with just one goal against on nine shots. The Lightning held a lopsided edge in shots again 43-9. 

The Lightning head into Badger Conference play Thursday, making the trip to Beloit to faceoff against the Rock County Fury. Next home game will be on Saturday when the Lightning entertains the Wisconsin Valley Union.