The RWD Cheavers varsity hockey team didn’t pay much attention to recent trends when it opened the 2022/23 WIAA playoffs at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) Tuesday (Feb. 14) with a 7-3 win against the Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche.
It was a battle of middle seeds in the 13-team WIAA Section 3 with the eighth seeded Cheavers hosting the number nine Avs. While the RWD squad endured and up and down season, its longest streak a pair of three straight wins.
One of those streaks started on Dec. 30 with a 7-0 win against the Avs at the Bobber’s Classic Holiday Tournament.
However, following that game, the Avs got about as hot as a team can get, picking up wins in 10 of its final 11 games.
That didn’t impress the Cheavers though as they carried a 1-0 lead out of the first period but had the game in control with a 5-1 margin heading to the third.
Leading the offense were seniors Caden Brandt with two goals and two assists and John Scott who fired a pair and set up another. Seniors Logan DeMars and Nate Stando had other goals along with junior Andrey Tougas.
Senior Lukas Vana had a couple assists with others picked up by senior Carsen Brandt and junior Brady Baldwin.
Avs goals came from senior Ethan Meyer, freshman Owen Hoehn and sophomore Casey Keane.
The win advanced the Cheavers into the WIAA Section 3 quarter finals but they face a tough task, heading to Verona to take on the top seeded Wildcats.
The RWD varsity hockey team has had an up and down season but wrapped up the regular season with an impressive 4-0 shutout against the visiting Ashland Oredockers Saturday afternoon at the Lake Delton Ice Arena with an effort it hopes will translate into a successful playoff run.
The Oredocckers (14-9-1, Independent) were no match for a fast-paced Cheavers team and the score would have been wider if not for the efforts of sophomore goaltender Liam Fish who kicked out 57 of 61 shots faced.
RWD junior Trey Lariden opened the scoring with 4:01 to play in the opening period – one of two for the Cheavers in the period and he added another one of two in the third with the middle period going scoreless.
Junior Brady Baldwin and senior Caden Brandt helped out on the first goal and Brandt set up the other one as well.
Junior Andrey Tougas and senior John Scott fired the other Cheavers’ goals with assists for senior Yevgeny Dedun, Scott, Carsen Brandt and Logan DeMars.
Sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe collected his seventh shutout of the season.
The Cheavers celebrated their senior players and managers as well as their parents during The the first intermission. Included in that group are forwards: John Scott, Caden Brandt, Yevgeny Dedun, Caleb Eastman, Nate Stando and Conner Putz, defensemen: Carsen Brandt, Logan DeMars and Lukas Vana and managers Katlin Elder, Olga Hernandez and Stella Scott.
Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info The RWD Cheavers have lost eight times this season, (as of Jan. 24) but there hasn’t been much separation between them and the victors on most nights.
On Tuesday (Jan. 24) the Cheavers lost its third extra-time decision of the season as the host Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers spoiled a great road game with a 4-3 overtime decision.
Of the nine defeats, three have been in extra time and the team has never been separated by more than two goals. At Onalaska, the Cheavers opened a 2-0 lead with two goals in 21 seconds in the second period but it was 2-1 entering the middle period and Onalaska pulled even at 3-3 just 21 seconds after the visitors moved in front for a second time in the final period.
Sophomore Matt Tillman gave the Hilltoppers its first and only lead of the contest with his goal 78 seconds into overtme.
Senior Caden Brandt and junior Andrey Tougas notched the Cheaver first period goals with assists for senior Carsen Brandt along with juniors Brady Baldwin and Trey Lariden.
The Cheavers will stay on the road with a tough assignement againt the undefeated (in conference play) Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Friday (Jan. 27) at LeBahn Ice Arena, then return home to face the DeForest Norskies in its Badger Challenge match on Monday.
Baldwin took a feed from Brandt and buries his second period goal putting the Cheavers in front again at 3-2. Sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe stopped 28 of 32 through the regulation periods and overtime segment. The Cheavers fired 26 at the oppositemend including a 2-1 margin through the brief overtime.
Unable to continue a two-year run as the champions of their own tournament, the Dells Ducks bounced back with some solid and promising performances to start the new calendar year.
The Sauk Prairie Eagles robbed them of a chance to mount a nice string, but the team is certainly rounding into shape for a solid regular season homestretch run.
Hopes of a third straight home tournament trophy ended quickly as the Kenosha Thunder edged them 2-1 on Dec. 28 in the opening round of the newly named Bobber’s Winter Classic, sending the home side to the consolation side of the draw.
The Rice Lake Warriors compounded the pain with a 3-1 win against the Cheavers the following day sending them to the seventh-place final for the first time ever.
The Cheavers took out frustrations with a 7-0 against the Avalanche made up of La Crosse area schools to avoid a winless showing at the event.
That win started some momentum for the Cheavers who returned from the Christmas Break with another goose egg – 8-0 against the visiting Waupaca Comets Jan. 3 and an impressive 2-1 edge in its return to Badger West Conference play on home ice against the Oregon Panthers.
The run ended though with a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the host Sauk Prairie Eagles at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Jan. 10).
At the Winter Classic, the Cheavers scored the lone goal of the first period against Kenosha but couldn’t add another. The Thunder scored twice about four minutes apart in the final period. Against the Warriors it was the visitors on the board with the lone goal in both the first and second period before the Cheavers pulled one back early in the third. An empty netter with nine seconds to play clinched the win for the Warriors.
Against the Avs, the Cheavers scored once in the opening period adding two more in the second and putting it away with a four-goal final frame.
The Cheavers blitzed Waupaca with four first period markers, adding two in both the second and final periods.
The win on home ice against the Panthers was satisfying as it avenged a 3-2 overtime defeat in Oregon back on Dec. 2. A pair of first period goals was enough for the win but the Panthers gained some consolation, ending a stretch of 154:45 of shutout hockey for sophomore Alex Griebe in the second period.
At SPARC, the Cheavers were looking for a little more revenge having dropped its earlier home game against the Eagles 4-3 in overtime Dec. 6.
Teams were even at 2-2 after a period but the Cheavers were in control with a 4-2 cushion heading to the third. The host Eagles, still with a shot at a share of the conference title battled back in the third, scoring the game winner just 20 seconds from the final horn.
Offensively, senior Caden Brandt returned from injury and helped the Cheavers with five goals and 11 points over the six-game stretch, senior John Scott chipping in six goals and eight points. Another senior, Nate Stando enjoyed an offensive explosion, putting up five goals and seven points while senior Carsen Brandt added a goal and four helpers.
Senior Lukas Vana had four set ups, junior Andrey Tougas adding two goals and an assist and senior Logan DeMars collecting three assists. Junior Trey Lariden scored twice, junior Brady Baldwin added a goal and assist. Senior Caleb Eastman notched a goal and other assists came from sophomore Kaden Uminski and junior Iszak Elder.
Game winners came from Lariden, Scott and Stando.
In goal, despite a 3-3 record through the stretch, Griebe racked up the long shutout stretch and overall kicked out 108 of 118 shots for a save percentage of .915.
A postponed Badger Challenge game (The Cheavers will now host DeForest Norskies on Jan. 30) leaves a rare stretch of nine days without a game. Next up will be a game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds. The Cheavers will renew the rivalry and host a ‘Hometown Hero’ game Thursday.
The first of two annual meetings refueling the RWD Cheavers vs. Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds rivalry wrapped up Saturday (Dec. 10) at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo and went to the Cheavers 5-0.
A pair of sophomore goaltenders continued awesome campaigns, Alex Griebe earning his first varsity shutout for the Cheavers while Burke Schweda turned in another awesome performance, stopping 42 of 47 albeit once again in a losing cause.
The Thunderbirds have scored just two goals this season and this game marked the fifth time the team has had a shutout hung on it.
The Cheavers got another big game from senior John Scott who notched a hat trick while juniors Iszak Elder and Brady Baldwin counted the other goals, Elder and senior defender Logan DeMars both collected a couple assists as well.
Other assists came from junior Trey Lariden, senior Lukas Vana and freshman RJ Manley.
Elder’s goal was the game winner, scored just past the seven-minute mark of the opening period before Scott contributed a natural hatty, all three coming in the second frame. Baldwin rounded it out with the lone final period tally, 5:28 into the frame.
Both teams entered the contest without a conference win and desperate to get on track. The Cheavers boosted its conference record to 1-2 and its overall mark to 3-3 and the Thunderbirds remain winless in seven and have dropped four Badger West contests.
Both will be in action Tuesday, the Cheavers facing defending conference champion Madison Edgewood Crusaders at Reedsburg Area Community Arena and the Thunderbirds hit the halfway mark in conference at Oregon against the host Panthers.
By JIm den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info The Sauk Prairie Eagles stayed undefeated in Badger West Conference play as Landon Clary notched an overtime game winner lifting the guests to a 4-3 win Tuesday night at Reedsburg Area Community Arena.
While the win boosted the Eagles to 3-0 in conference matches and 5-1 overall, the host RWD Cheavers fell under .500 at 2-3 and 0-2 in Conference — both league losses coming in overtime. Both teams are looking to find their way without their top offensive threats as seniors Caden Brandt of the Cheavers and Luke Mast of the Eagles are both out with injuries. The loss of Brandt might not be as permanent though as tests after the game in Oregon found a bad sprain opposed a broken or fractured bone.
In this game, the Eagles went to work early, junior Garret Mittelsteadt connecting for the first goal of the night in the second minute, from junior Karsyn Banta and Colin Harrington. Senior Blake Howery added another for the Eagles from junior Steven Romaker just before the 10-minute mark, but RWD sophomore Kaden Uminski struck back just 35 seconds later converting a feed from freshman RJ Manley to get the Cheavers within a goal. That held up until late in the middle period when RWD senior John Scott notched his fourth of the season, unassisted to even the score. Sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner put the Eagles in front again before the end of the period with help from Harrington and freshman Landon Froese. Senior defenseman Lukas Vana scored the lone third period goal from junior Brady Baldwin setting the stage for the overtime frame. Senior Landon Clary stepped up as the overtime hero for the Eagles with his unassisted goal in the sixth minute.
Senior Kaden Stracke collected the win in goal for the Eagles, his fourth of the season with 25 saves on 28 shots while sophomore Alex Griebe kicked out 23 shots for the Cheavers. The Eagles have played all but one game so far this season on the road and will get a chance to face one more tough road test Thursday at LeBahn Arena in Madison when they square off with the Madison Edgewood Crusaders. This game has added importance as the Eagles and defending conference champion Crusaders are the lone undefeated teams in conference — the Eagles at 3-0 and the Crusaders with two wins. The Eagles will finally play in front of friendly fans on Tuesday (Dec. 13) when they host the Monroe Cheesemakers at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) but then head on the road for another pair. The Cheavers will look to get their own conference season on track Saturday when they travel to Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo for a 7 p.m. faceoff against the host Thunderbirds, then return home for a Tuesday night contest against the Crusaders and a Friday game against the Cheesemakers, taking them to the halfway mark of their Badger West Conference schedule.
Alec Jicha brought a disappointing finish to a hard fought, gritty and emotional contest for the RWD Cheavers at Oregon Ice Arena Friday (Dec. 2) night, sinking the game winner of a 3-2 Conference contest in overtime.
After a tough start, the odds stacked further against the visiting Cheavers when one of the state’s top players, senior Caden Brandt was forced to leave the game with an apparent lower leg injury.
Down 2-0 late in the opening period, the Cheavers were threatening on a powerplay with a flurry around the Oregon Panthers’ goal but when the whistle sounded, Brandt was on the ice and ultimately had difficulty getting up. He was eventually helped off the ice and the game continued.
If the Cheavers felt sorry for themselves, it didn’t show as senior John Scott snapped home the team’s first goal before the end of the period and still on the powerplay. Fellow seniors Carsen Brandt and Logan DeMars had the assists.
Caden Brandt’s regular linemates – senior Scott and junior Brady Baldwin picked up their own game following his injury and utility player, junior Iszak Elder filled in flawlessly to round out the line. Scott and Baldwin teamed up on the tying goal, Scott dropping a perfect pass that Baldwin slammed home 4:19 from the end of the period. Senior defenseman Lukas Vana also collected an assist.
Following a scoreless final period teams headed to overtime and junior Andrew Jicha ended the game just before the end of the second period. Jicha, the lone remaining member of the Panthers’ powerful top line from last season, also opened the scoring for the Panthers and set up the second goal, scored by senior Edgar Nieto.
Sophomore Alex Griebe stopped 32 of 35 shots in goal for the Cheavers while senior Josh Kean handled 25 of 27 for the Panthers.
The loss dropped the Cheavers to 2-2 on the season and 0-1 in Badger West Conference play while the Panthers avoided an 0-2 start to league play with the win while boosting their regular season record to 2-1.
The game is the first of five straight conference matches for RWD and the loss adds some importance to its next match at home at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the Sauk Prairie Eagles.
The RWD Cheavers rebounded from a tough loss Friday, doubling the Antigo Red Robins 4-2 to capture the Consolation title at the Somerset Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
Cheavers were led by senior John Scott who set up three, but the final score flatters the Red Robins as the Cheavers dominated them with a 48-11 edge in shots on goal.
Junior Brady Baldwin fired his second of the season and second of the weekend to put the Cheavers in front, from Scott and senior Carsen Brandt with the lone goal of the first period in the 10th minute.
Robins dressed just 10 skaters for the contest but kept it close and Paden Michalik pulled them even early in the middle period. Junior Iszak Elder put the Cheavers up again 9:04 into the period with his first of the season, helped by junior Andrey Tougas and Scott.
That 2-1 cushion help up into the final period when Tougas hit the net with the game winner early in the period, from senior Logan DeMars and junior Trey Lariden.
Riley Leveque got the Robins within a goal again near the halfway mark of the final frame setting the stage for senior Caden Brandt who sank his fourth of the campaign on a feed from Scott 91 seconds later.
Scott (2g, 3a) and Caden Brandt (4g, 1a) share the overall team scoring lead three games in with five points apiece.
Alex Griebe collected his second win of the season in goal for the Cheavers.
While the Cheavers moved to 2-1 on the season, the Robins fell back to 2-2 heading into play in the Great Northern Conference, Somerset Spartans captured the championship of its own event with a 3-2 win against the Eau Claire North Huskies later Saturday.
The Cheavers will enjoy a few days off allowing them to prepare for the Badger West Conference opener at Oregon Ice Arena against the host Panthers on Friday.
Next home game for the Cheavers will be at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) Tuesday, Dec. 6, the second of five straight conference matches that will carry them to the league’s halfway mark before Christmas for a second consecutive season.
For a second straight season the RWD varsity Cheavers ran into a tough Eau Claire North Huskies team at the Somerset Invitational tournament.
This time around teams met in their respective opening games at the tournament, the Huskies advancing to the championship game with a 5-3 win against the Cheavers. Both the game winning and game clinching goals came in the final four minutes of the contest.
Teams traded goals through the first period, senior Nick Thompson firing his first of three in the game 5:13 into the contest before Brady Baldwin notched his first of the campaign about four minutes later, unassisted on the Cheavers’ powerplay.
The lone goal of the second period came seven seconds into the session, senior John Scott burying his first of two in the contest and first of the season with just seven ticks off the clock. This goal was also unassisted.
The Huskies rallied to tie the score 4:25 into the final period, Thompson pulling the trigger again and senior Brayton Thillman put them in front again at the 9:17 mark. The lead lasted just 27 seconds before Scott buried his second of the game, from senior Caden Brandt.
Thompson connected on a powerplay with 3:28 to go to finish off his hat trick and before the final buzzer Thillman added another as well.
Sophomore Alex Griebe kicked out 26 of 31 shots in the contest while senior Tristan Bock collected the win in the season opener for the Huskies with 24 saves.
The other game in the four-team tournament matched 2-0 Antigo Red Robins against Somerset Spartans, setting up a consolation match between the Red Robins and Cheavers Saturday while the Spartans and Huskies were scheduled to play for the championship.
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.