Peewee Flyers wrap up dream season with state crown

Members of the Sauk Prairie Peewee ‘A’ Flyers were all smiles after capturing the WAHA Peewee 3A State Championship in Ashland on Sunday (March 12). Team members include in numerical order: Haakon Hoeltke; Logan Harrington; Alexander Kirk; Braden Schlough; Brayton Bahe; Natalee Gesicki; Davis Lombard; Bryce Ballweg; Benjamin Freeman; Oswald Tippery; Michael Jolicoeur and Reid Knoll. Photo Courtesy Dave Jolicoeur

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Peewee ‘A’ Flyers were selected as the top seed for the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA) 3A Peewee State Championship tournament in Ashland, WI this past weekend and went to work making that to be correct.  

After moving to the winning side of the draw with a 10-0 shutout against Marshfield peewees Saturday morning, the team returned to the ice a few hours later and earned its spot in the championship game with a 9-5 edge against Black River Falls.  

In the championship game Sunday afternoon, the Flyers doubled the Tomahawk Hatchets 6-3 to claim the championship plaque and banner. 

The peewees set the table for its state championship with a 29-10-2 record including a 6-2 win against the RWD Peewee Cheavers in their Regional test Feb. 5 to officially qualify for the state event.  

Following that, the locals dropped its next three before rebounding from an 8-2 loss against Onalaska with an 8-0 win against the same team on the same day. The Flyers rolled from there with a 6-2-1 run to wrap up the season. Clearly the team was firing on all cylinders heading to Ashland. 

“We really felt good about how we were playing last weekend heading into the tournament,” said Coach Dave Jolicoeur in an email interview. “The kids were loose and having fun. We were in a really good spot.” 

Flyers 10 Blades 0 

The Flyers opened tournament play with a 10-0 win against the Marshfield peewee Blades, a team they had not faced this season.  

The game was all but over by the time the first period buzzer sounded as the Flyers pounded the Blades’ goal with eighth unanswered tallies. Single goals in the second and third wrapped it up.  

Leading the scoring parade was hat tricks for both Michael Joliceour and Natalee Gesicki. Brayton Bahe chipped in a goal and three assists, Braden Schlough and Davis Lombard both adding a goal and assist. The other goal came from Reid Knoll and Kirk Alexander had a pair of set ups. 

The opening round of games eliminated half the field from a shot at the state title and moved the Flyers along with Black River Falls, Somerset and Tomahawk to the Championship semis. 

While the team had not faced Marshfield before, Jolicoeur said he and his players were confident heading into the contest.  

“We didn’t have any butterflies going into that game. For the core of the 2010’s on this team, it was their third trip to State so they knew what it was all about.  

“We also got a look at Marshfield at the Altoona tournament (Jan. 28-29), so even though we hadn’t played the, we got to see them in action before the State Tournament. Coming out strong against them and scoring so early n the first period let us know our kids were ready to make a run at this thing.” 

Flyers 9 Tigers 5 

Saturday night against the Black River Falls Tigers, the Flyers were a facing a team it defeated 7-5 and 12-6 in exhibition games at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Dec. 3, then 9-5 and 5-3 in Black River Falls Jan. 15. 

Once again the team found its offense early, grabbing a 3-0 first period lead. Both teams added a pair in the middle frame and the Flyers outlasted the Tigers in a wild third period with a 4-3 edge to make the 9-5 final. 

Logan Harrington set the pace in this one scoring two and adding three helpers for the Flyers. Jolicoeur and Bahe both scored two more, Bahe adding an assist. Kirk, Lombard and Knoll had the other goals with assists for Haakon Hoeltke, Schlough and Gesicki. 

Jolicoeur said despite the success againt BRF in earlier matches, the team wasn’t overconfident heading into the game it needed to win to reach the state championship match. 

“We were feeling good, but two of our four previous games against Black River Falls were two-goal games with the last of those including an empty netter,” said Jolicoeur. “It’s tough to beat a good team like that five times in a season. They’ve got some talented skaters, especially Brooke Lakowske. She’s tough, if not impossible to contain.” 

That win put the Flyers three periods away from a state championship game, going up against the Tomahawk Hatchets, also 2-0 with an 8-2 win against Beaver Dam and a 6-3 doubling of Somerset. 

The Flyers previously played the Hatchets at a tournament in Waupaca Jan. 7-8 collecting 8-3 and 8-1 wins. 

Flyers 6 Hatchets 3 

Tomahawks flipped the script a bit on the Flyers scoring the first pair and carrying a 2-0 cushion to the middle period. Teams were even at 2-2 heading to the third and a 4-1 margin through the final period put it away for the Flyers. 

Jolicoeur said the Tomahawk team has bolstered with the addition of defenseman Jake Albert, a member of the 2010 Team Wisconsin team who is double rostered and played with the bantam squad through most of the season.  

“He played with the Tomahawk bantam team that won state (the previous weekend,” said the coach. “We knew he’d be a challenge and he factored in an all three of their goals. 

“We came out nervous and tight for the championship game and found ourselves down 2-0 after a period. We just told the kids to loosen up and get back to playing hockey. They were scoring nine goals a game (average) coming into the championship game and we knew the goals were going to come. 

“By the end of the second period we tied it and never trailed again.” 

Bahe scored the goal that would stand up as the state championship winner 8:19 into the period, his second of the contest and Jolicoeur scored his first of a pair seconds later to put his team in cruise control. 

“Going up 4-3 and then scoring our fifth 16 seconds later probably took a bit of wind out of their sails,” said Jolicoeur. “Then, about two minues later, we got the sixth which pretty much put a comeback out of reach.” 

Kirk and Harrington scored the other goals, Schlough setting up a pair and other assists for Kirk, Jolicoeur, Gesicki and Knoll.  

In goal, Benjamin Freeman put in the work, kicking out 26 of 29 shots and picking up the win in all three games.  

Coach Jolicoeur is of course pleased with the efforts of his team throughout the season and said as early as the beginning of the season the team was destined for greatness.  

“We knew going in that it could be a special year,” said the Coach. Two years ago, the core of this team went into the 2021 State Tournament looking pretty good. We then lost a heartbreaker first game to Somerset 5-4. That was a game we had in hand until we had some emotional and mental breakdowns that began a parade to the penalty box. 

“Give credit to the kids though. They learned from that experience and even being down 2-0 after the first to Tomahawk, they stayed positive and didn’t have those types of breakdowns. They were able to channelize that energy, stay mentally tough and go out and battle their way back into the game. 

“That growth and maturity for this team was really a neat thing to experience and a great life lesson for these kids.” 

After celebrating at the rink, the Flyers players and families paid a price, with what Coach Jolicoeur called “A white-knuckle driving experience,” returning home through a snowstorm. Plans for a team celebration are currently in the works.  

“Winning a State Championship is a special and rare occasion, so we want to make sure we acknowledge it.” 

Congrats from Saukhockey.info to all team players, Coach Dave Jolicoeur, Assistant Coaches Michael Freeman, Jeffrey Harrington and Brian Schlough and Team Manager Ryan Kirk.

  
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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. 

Huge opening weekend for Argall

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

After opening its weekend with a big win in Reedsburg (see story below), the Sauk Prairie Squirt ‘A’ Flyers wrapped up a perfect weekend with wins on home ice against Verona and Waunakee. 

Bryce Argall continued his torrid pace, following up the four goals he scored in Reedsburg with another trio in an early morning game at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) against the Verona ‘B’ Wildcats in a 4-2 Flyers’ win and another four later in the day against the Waunakee ‘B’ Wildcats, pacing his team to another 4-2 win and an amazing 11-goal weekend. 

Brayton Bahe fired the other goal against Verona and all four goals were unassisted. Mason Ramirez collected his second straight win with his second straight eight-save contest. 

Against Waunakee, Milo Donaldson collected an assist for the Flyers. 

The Flyers will play a pair of games this weekend, traveling to Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena Saturday at 12:15 p.m. to play the Middleton Cardinals Squirt ‘A’ squad and returning home for a rematch with the RWD ‘A’ Squirts at SPARC with a 6:30 p.m. puck drop. 

Bryce Argall, shown here closing in on the Waunakee Wildcats goal Sunday, was a deadly presence for the Sauk Prairie Squirt ‘A’ Flyers collecting 11 goals in three games to get the team off to an awesome start in Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association play.

Argall notches four to lead Squirt Flyers past Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

A four-goal effort for Bryce Argall helped the Sauk Prairie Flyers Squirt ‘A’ squad  open its Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Assocation (WAHA) regular season with an 8-0 win on the road at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the host RWD Cheavers on Saturday morning.  

Joshua Freeman chipped in a goal and assist for the Flyers with other goals added by Brayton Bahe, Milo Donaldson and Henry Zueltke.  

Mason Ramirez kicked out all eight shots he faced to open the season with a shutout and Jase Uminski was the game’s busiest player, stopping 27 shots in goal for the Cheavers.  

Both teams were successful the rest of the way through the weekend, the Flyers returning home for a pair of Sunday wins, the Cheavers moving on to defeat the Middleton ‘C’ Squirts 6-0 and handling the Waunakee Squirt ‘C’ Warriors 5-2.

Meanwhile, the Flyers played a pair of home games at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC), doubling up both Verona and Waunakee with 4-2 margins.  

This weekend the Flyers will hit the road again Saturday for a game in Middleton and return home for a rematch against the Cheavers.