Short staffed but game RWD squad in Onalaska

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Several players from the RWD varsity hockey team attended a two-day event at the Omni Center in Onalaska this past weekend and they certainly can’t complain about the ice time. 

With seven teams entered in the annual summer event, including split squads from both Black River Falls Tigers and the Avalanche (La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen) and other teams from Viroqua Blackhawks and the host Onalaska Hilltoppers along with the Cheavers. 

The schedule suited the Cheavers with three games on Friday against both Black River Falls teams along with Viroqua followed up on Saturday with back-to-back games against the Avs split squads and the finale against the Hilltoppers Saturday afternoon. 

WEHL tryouts and other commitments left the Cheavers with a small number of players Saturday, but the continued to outwork both Avalanche teams. Bolstered with a few Avs players for its final contest, the Cheavers wrapped up a 4-2 weekend with an intense high-octane match with a rivalry evident between two teams who have played some big games against each other in the past decade. 

Still months from opening the practice schedule, these summer events (including a get together in Baraboo and a weekend in Superior prior) are generally a chance for players to continue, renew or start the bonding process as they look forward to the 2022-23 WIAA season. 

There are always questions after graduations change the team every season. This season’s squad is impressive as it appears willing to work hard and play a physical and skilled game. Most impressive to this writer was the intensity level entering scrimmage matches, playing each of the 30-minute straight time sessions as if it was an important game.  

For anyone who misses the game and what it brings, the finale against Onalaska was a treat. Bolstered by some of the Avalanche players and the addition of junior Brady Baldwin just a short time after wrapping up play at the Legion baseball state championship in nearby Holmen, the Cheavers went toe to toe with the Hilltoppers in a game that entertained from the drop of the puck. 

Circle the Bobber’s 2022 Winter Classic over the Christmas Holidays on your calendars. The Cheavers and Hilltoppers are not scheduled to cross paths in the regular season but Onalaska will be in the Christmas tournament for the first time and if they meet up with RWD Dec. 28-30 it could be a game fans won’t want to miss. 

Caleb Eastman was one of the seniors taking part in the Onalaska tournament for RWD this past weekend
Coach Jeramy Greenwood chatted about the weekend between the team’s fifth and sixth games.

Froese paces Bantam ‘A’ Flyers at Tomah tourney

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

After a lopsided opening win, the Sauk Prairie Bantam ‘A’ Flyers engaged in a pair of close battles on its way to a third place showing at a tournament in Tomah this past weekend.  

The Eagles played twice Saturday, collecting a 7-0 shutout win in its opener against Black River Falls Tigers before dropping a heartbreaker in overtime 5-4 against the Sheboygan Lakers.  

On Sunday, the Flyers engaged in another close battle, capturing third place honors with a 5-4 win against the La Crescent (MN) Lancers in a game that came down to a shootout. 

Flyers 7 Tigers 0  

The Flyers carried a 2-0 lead out of the first period against the Tigers, adding three more in the second and two more down the stretch. 

Landon Froese led the way in this one, scoring three and adding an assist while Brock Hill notched two and added an assist. 

Josh Mast and Gavin Goetsch sank the other Flyers’ goals. Quinn Payne collected a playmaker with three assists with other help coming from Blayze Caldwell and Ben Hanko.  

Taitym Banta picked up the goose egg in goal stopping all seven shots from the Tigers. 

Flyers 4 Lakers 5 (ot) 

Froese enjoyed another big game later Saturday, his third goal of the game coming with 3:31 to play, pulling the Flyers even and sending the game to overtime. Unfortunately, it was the Lakers notching the game winner with 2:28 to go in the overtime frame. 

Teams were even at 2-2 after a period and the Lakers led 3-2 heading to the final frame. 

Caldwell fired the other Flyers’ goals with assists for Hill, Greydon Schomber and AJ Klemm. Banta made 20 saves in goal for the Flyers.  

Flyers 5 Lancers 4 (so) 

The script was similar Sunday morning, but this time it was the Flyers who saw a late goal against sending the game to overtime and finally, a shootout. 

Teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after a period but the Flyers carried a 4-2 lead to the third. The Lancers didn’t surrender, finally pulling even with 3:28 to play and sending the game to overtime.  

The extra session solved nothing, and teams went to a shootout where Mast and Weiss both fired goals to clinch the Flyers’ win. 

Caldwell, Hill, Mast and Hanko notched the regulation goals, Hill adding an assist. Payne set up a pair of regulation goals with other assists for Goetsch, Carl Weiss, Klemm and Cam McInerney. 

The weekend results boosted the Bantam ‘A’ Flyers season record to 17-9-1 and the team will be looking to punch its ticket to the State 3A Bantam Championship tournament, playing host to either RWD Cheavers or Monroe Avalanche at Sun Prairie Tubbs Rink Sunday at 11:15 (see story above). 

Lightning returns from long layoff in Tomah

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team played for the first time in two weeks, playing host to the Black River Falls Tigers and falling 7-0 at the Mose Lamb Hockey Rink in Tomah Friday (Jan. 21). 

The host Tigers fired one goal in the opening period and piled on three more in both the second and third to clinch the win. On the shot clock, the Tigers held a 24-20 edge and the Lightning gained some consolation with a 9-7 edge in the final period.  

Sophomore Zowie Hunter paced the Tigers with two goals and two helpers.  

The loss dropped the Lightning to 4-7 in the regular season standing and extended the team’s current losing streak to four games. 

The Lightning will be on home ice Monday (Jan. 24) with a Badger Conference contest against the Metro Lynx, the conference’s top entry so far. With games postponed earlier this season, the Lightning has 11 games to play between now and Feb. 11. 

Uminski’s 21 points leads Cheavers to four-win weekend

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD peewee ‘A’ Cheavers wrapped up its most successful weekend of the season so far with four wins, all on home ice at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

The Cheavers had double win days, picking up 6-2 and 7-4 victories against the visiting Madison Patriots on Saturday and matching it with 11-6 and 10-6 wins against the Black River Falls Tigers on Sunday. 

Several players enjoyed huge offensive weekends – that happens when a team scores 34 times — including Landen Uminski with 21 points, Ethan Wilcox with 11 and Tyler Krieski with nine. 

Patriots 2 @ Cheavers 6  

The Cheavers set the tone in the first game Saturday, turning a 1-0 lead after a period into a 5-1 cushion in the second.  

Dayne Wagner set the pace with a hat trick, Wilcox scoring twice and Noah Backeberg adding the other. Uminski set up three, Evelyn Gurney adding two assists and Hailey Dietl helping out on one. 

In goal for his first of four weekend games, Jesse Arnold stopped 15 of 17 shots to pick up the win. 

Owen Hadden fired both goals for the Patriots. 

Patriots 4 @ Cheavers 7  

In the rematch, the Cheavers carried a 2-1 lead into the second period and both teams fired a pair in the second before the hosts put it away with a 3-1 margin down the stretch. 

Uminski, Dietl and Wilcox fired two goals apiece for the Cheavers, Uminski adding two assists and Wilcox one. Tyler Krieski fired the other Cheavers’ goal and Andrew Stando also picked up an assist. 

Arnold stopped another 16 shots for his second win of the day. 

Hadden fired a hat trick for the Patriots, the other goal scored by Dillon Reynolds. 

Tigers 6 @ Cheavers 11 

Uminski scored five and set up another pair while Krieski fired a hat trick, Wilcox adding two goals and a setup. Wagner had the other goal, Ethan Pope and Dietl adding assists. 

Brooke Lakoske scored five for the Tigers, McKenzie Apicella adding the other.

RWD outshot its guest 34-25. 

Period breakdowns were not available from the first match. 

Tigers 6 @ Cheavers 10 

The Tigers stayed with the Cheavers for two periods, even at 2-2 after 15 minutes and the Cheavers up 5-4 heading to the third. A 5-2 margin in the final period made it an easy win for the hosts. 

Uminski wrapped up a 14-point day with three goals and four assists, Krieski notching his second hat trick of the day along with two assists and Wilcox also scored three. Teaghan Geffert notched the other Cheavers’ goal. Wagner and Backeberg picked up assists. 

Lakoske fired another four Tigers’ goals with others added by Jordyn King and Andrew Gunderson. 

The hot streak comes just in time for a tournament test as the peewees head to Spooner for three games beginning Friday. A win in the first game would be a fifth straight, matching the team’s longest winning streak from Nov. 13-28 2021. 

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. 

Solid play but lapses hurt varsity Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers slipped back under .500 with a couple rough days at the office.  

On Saturday (Dec. 11), the Cheavers played host to Baldwin-Woodville Hawks for a non-conference tilt and saw a 3-2 edge after two periods slip away thanks to three unanswered Hawks goals in the final 17 minutes and a 5-3 loss.  

On Tuesday at Oregon, the Cheavers went up against one of the state’s top scoring teams, the Oregon Panthers and limited the team to 26 shots, but that was enough for a 5-1 win for the home team.  

Baldwin Woodville Hawks 5 @ RWD Cheavers 3 

The home team couldn’t have started this game much better, outshooting a Hawks team coming off a tough loss the night before at Black River Falls to start the weekend road trip, by a 19-4 margin. 

But on the scoreboard teams were even at 1-1, the lone goal coming from junior defenseman Carsen Brandt, just back in the lineup after a season opening injury. Brandt’s rising shot from the blue line hit the back of the net unseen by the Baldwin keeper, cancelling out the Hawks’ opener, scored a couple minutes prior. 

Another defender stepped up 33 seconds into the middle period as senior Grant Marsich put the Cheavers in front with help from junior Caden Brandt and senor Tomas Komdofer. 

The Hawks tied it just past the nine-minute mark, but Komdofer put the Cheavers in front again 63 seconds from the middle period buzzer from Marsich. 

The Cheavers held a 31-14 edge in shots through the first 34 minutes, but the visitors flipped the script in the final frame, tying the game 6:17 in and taking the lead with 6:17 to play on a powerplay. Another powerplay goal, third of the game for the Hawks all but settled the game with 1:54 to play. 

RWD Cheavers 1 @ Oregon Panthers 5  

The assignment awaiting anyone taking on the Panthers is shutting down the explosive trio of Joe Roemer, Kyle Rohrer and Andrew Jicha. For the most part, the Cheavers did that for 44 of 51 minutes Tuesday night, but three goals in seven minutes to open the middle period showed just how explosive that trio can be. 

The Cheavers took the game to the host Panthers through the opening period, holding the high-flying team to one goal scored 2:03 into the contest.  

The Cheavers held a 10-8 edge on the shot clock, but the Panthers scored twice in the opening two minutes of the second and added another before the seven-minute mark to widen the gap.  

Senior CJ Pfaff finally got the Cheavers on the board with 7:05 to play in the game, from juniors Yevgeny Dedun and Logan DeMars, but any thoughts of a late comeback with squashed less than a minute later as Oregon fired its fifth.  

Once again the Cheavers held the overall edge on the shot clock but just by a 27-26 margin. 

Rohrer-Roemer and Jicha played a part in all five Panther goals and combined for 10 points although only one of the markers involved all three. 

The back-to-back losses dropped the Cheavers under .500 at 4-5 for the first time since Dec. 3 when they sat at 2-3. It also evened the team’s Badger West Conference record at 2-2, making Friday’s home game against the Sauk Prairie Eagles (3-1, 1-1 Badger West) crucial to the team’s conference championship hopes alive. 

That game will wrap up the first half of the Conference schedule for the Cheavers who will have one more game before the Christmas break, traveling to Tomah to faceoff against Tomah/Sparta on Tuesday (Dec. 21). 

Peewee Cheavers overcome rough start

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers entered the 2021-22 Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA) campaign through a gauntlet of tough opponents.  

As a result, the team took its share of lumps with five losses and a tie through its first six contests. But a key win against the regional rival has turned things around.  

The Cheavers avenged a 4-2 loss on home ice against the Sauk Prairie Flyers on Nov. 6 with a 2-1 edge against the same team at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) a week later and a pair of lopsided wins Nov. 14 has the peewee squad riding a three-game winning streak. 

The games against the Flyers have appeared on Saukhockey.info earlier. Following is a quick wrap on the other seven games in the order they were played. 

Verona Wildcats 8, 5 @ RWD Cheavers 1, 1  

The Cheavers opened the regular season on Halloween weekend with a pair of games against the ‘A’ Wildcats.  

After dropping an 8-1 decision early on Oct. 30, the same two teams returned to the ice later the same day and while the Wildcats won again, the Cheavers trimmed the margin a bit. 

Dayne Wagner scored the lone goal in both games, gaining satisfaction of shattering the shutout bid of Brooke Terrien just 67 seconds from the final buzzer in the opener. 

Andrew Stando collected an assist in the second game and Jesse Arnold picked up 20 saves in goal in both contests.  

McFarland Spartans 1 RWD Cheavers 1  

On Halloween Sunday, the Cheavers engaged in a tight defensive battle with the visiting Spartans.  

Ian Boresh fired the only shot of 23 to get by Arnold in the second period but Landen Uminski pulled it back for RWD in the third with an unassisted goal.  

RWD Cheavers 2, 0 Dubuque Fighting Saints 10, 10 

The Fighting Saints feasted on the Cheavers on Nov. 7, taking a 10-2 win the first game at Mystique Ice Arena and following it up with a 10-0 shutout. 

RWD carried a 2-1 lead out of the opening period in the first game and were even at 2-2 with a period to play before the home side exploded for eight third period markers. 

Tyler Krieski scored both RWD goals, Uminski collecting an assist on the first one. 

RWD Cheavers 7, 9 @ Black River Falls Tigers 4, 3  

Following its win at Sauk Prairie, the Cheavers made the trip to Black River Falls on Nov. 14, taking a pair with a 7-4 win in the opener and 9-3 in the getaway game. 

RWD was up 4-1 after a period in the first game, and 6-3 heading to the third, both teams adding one more down the stretch. 

Uminski paced the squad with three goals and an assist, Ethan Wilcox adding a goal and a helper and other goals for Dietl, Stando and Krieski. Arnold collected the win with 18 saves. 

The second game saw the Cheavers open with a four-goal first again, this time carrying a 4-0 cushion to the second and up 7-1 heading to the final frame. 

Uminski wrapped up a seven goal, eight-point day with four goals, Ethan Pope adding two goals and a helper. Wagner notched a goal and assist with other goals for Krieski and Wilcox. Teaghan Geffert set up one of the goals and Arnold added another win with 24 saves. 

The 3-5-1 Cheavers enjoyed a rare weekend off this past weekend and will look to build on its winning streak hosting the Viroqua Blackhawks for a pair of games Sunday at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Haag’s huge weekend helps RWD rebound

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

After a tough opening game to the weekend against the visiting Sauk Prairie Flyers (see story), the RWD Squirt ‘A’ Cheavers got back into the win column with a pair of victories Sunday at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

In its first game of the day, Jamison Haag fired four goals and Jase Uminski collected his first career shutout, leading the locals to a 6-0 against the visiting Middleton Cardinals Squirt ‘C’ club. Later, the locals outlasted the Waunakee Wildcats by a 5-2 score.  

Caleb Backeberg chipped in a goal and assist, and Brayden Potter fired the other for the Cheavers who peppered Middleton goaltender Finn Mauk with 33 shots. Uminski was helped out by some solid defensive play from Rainier Scott, Cole Renneberg and Briar Messer.  

Haag stayed hot with another hat trick against the Wildcats to wrap up a seven-goal day, other goals added by Scott and Renneberg.  

The weekend results boosted the team’s early season record to 3-2. The Cheavers will face a tough assignment Saturday with a return trip to Sauk to play the Flyers before traveling to Black River Falls to play both the Squirt ‘A’ and ‘B’ Tigers. 

Lightning looking to improve in Badger Conference

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Badger Lightning varsity squad is coming off a season of quality as opposed to quantity.

Clearly a team used to play with a short bench, the Lightning compiled a 6-11 record last season and has shown a marked improvement in each of the most recent seasons and ironically, despite playing with just two lines, the Lightning was at its best in the final period, outscoring opponents 26-12 through the final 17-minutes.

With the entire lineup eligible to return this season and maybe five additions on the horizon, the team has the possibility of making another leap in its progress. It’s never easy as the Lightning plays in likely the toughest conference in the state and faces perennial frontrunners like the Cap City Cougars on a regular basis.

The Lightning has a full 24-game schedule for the upcoming season beginning with a tournament on home ice against teams still to be determined. Below is the tentative schedule for the Lightning with Badger Conference tests in bold.

November 26-27 – Home Tournament at Pierce Park Pavilion (two games)

Dec. 3 – vs. Rock County Fury @ Monroe SLICE 7 p.m.

Dec. 4 – vs. Wisconsin Valley Union @ Pierce Park Pavilion 6 p.m.

Dec. 6 – vs. Cap City Cougars @ Waunakee Ice Pond 7:15 p.m.

Dec. 10 – vs. Metro Lynx @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Dec. 13 – vs. Viroqua Blackhawks @ Viroqua Community Arena 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 17 —  vs. Beaver Dam Golden Beavers @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Dec. 21 – vs. Icebergs @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Jan. 4, 2022 – vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers @ Onalaska Omni 5 p.m.

Jan. 6 – vs. Medford Raiders @ Simek Recreation Center TBA

Jan. 7 – vs. Rock County Fury @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Jan. 11 – vs. Cap City Cougars @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Jan. 13 or 14 – vs. Metro Lynx @ Capitol Ice TBA

Jan. 15 – vs. Brookfield Glacier @ The Ponds of Brookfield 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 18 – vs. Medford Raiders @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Jan. 25 – vs. Viroqua Blackhawks @ SPARC 7 p.m.

Jan. 27 – vs. Beaver Dam Golden Beavers @ Beaver Dam Family Ice Center TBA

Jan. 28-29 — @ Beaver Dam Tournament – 2 games TBA

Feb. 1 – vs. Warbirds @ Blue Line Family Ice Center (Fond du Lac) 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 – vs. Icebergs @ Mandt Community Center (Stoughton) 7:15 p.m.

Feb. 8 – vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

Feb. 11 – vs Black River Falls Tigers @ Pierce Park Pavilion 7 p.m.

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