Spartans’ offense too much for Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team couldn’t stay with the McFarland Spartans in a 7-0 shutout loss at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 24).


Once again it took a valiant effort from junior goaltender Burke Schweda to keep the game relatively close as the visiting Spartans owned an overall edge of 54-18 on the shot counter, including a 24-7 margin out of the gate as the guests jumped into a 3-0 lead.


The Spartans added three more in the middle period and added just one on 13 third period chances.
Juniors Caleb DeChambeau and Mason Pommerening paced the Spartans with two goals apiece.
The loss is the third in a row for the Thunderbirds who fell to 3-17 on the season with four games remaining on the schedule, all at Pierce Park Pavilion.


That stretch begins on Tuesday (Jan. 31) with a visit from the Janesville Bluebirds from the Big Eight Conference followed Saturday by the DeForest Norskies from the Badger East. Next week Thunderbirds will wrap up the regular season with a game against Madison LaFollette/East Lakers on Feb. 7 and finally, its regular season and Badger West Conference finale against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders.

Goalies step up in Heroes Night game in Lake Delton

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
On a night that saw the RWD varsity and junior varsity teams honoring Hometown Heroes, the goaltenders stepped into that role for both the visiting Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and the host RWD Cheavers. Thursday (Jan. 19) night.
RWD sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe wasn’t called on often, but he was perfect when needed, posting his fourth shutout of the season and his second clean sheet against the Thunderbirds in a 2-0 win.

As usual, Thunderbirds’ junior goaltender was supertasked in the blue paint and his 46 saves kept the Thunderbirds in the game until senior Lukas Vana buried the second Cheavers’ goal, an unassisted shorthanded marker 2:07 from the third period horn.

The shutout lowered Griebe’s Goals Against Average to 1.84 which ranks him sixth lowest in the state. Meanwhile, there doesn’t appear to be statistics to back it up, but Schweda has to be near the top of the list in shots faced.


The other RWD goal came from senior Carsen Brandt who snuck up from the blueline on an RWD powerplay to slam home a rebound. Twin brother Caden and Vana chipped in on an all-senior goal scored 4:35 into the contest.
The game was played in front of a packed house at Lake Delton Ice Arena.
The win boosted RWD’s current record to 9-7 and they sit at 4-4 in Badger West Conference play, a nice rebound after dropping three of their first four league games.


The Cheavers will hit the road for a pair of games this week, at Onalaska Tuesday (Jan. 24) and at LeBahn Ice Arena in Madison to take on the Edgewood Crusaders on Friday.


Thunderbirds fell to 3-16 on the season, but those three wins have all come since the Christmas Break. In Conference play, Thunderbirds have yet to post a win in nine contests with the unenviable task of taking on the undefeated (in conference) Crusaders in the season finale Feb. 10.


Thunderbirds have just one game this week, taking on the McFarland Spartans Tuesday (Jan. 24) to begin a stretch of three straight home games.

Burke Schweda faced another barrage iBaraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday, kicking out 46 of 48 in a 2-0 loss against RWD. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
Alex Griebe collected his fourth goose egg of the season Thursday, collecting the shutout against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Lake Delton Ice Arena. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Janecke’s pair leads Cheesemakers past Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Having racked up some wins since the Christmas Break, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds hoped to collect their first conference win and second in a row Tuesday but fell just short in a 2-1 loss against the Monroe Cheesemakers at PIerce Park Pavilion. 

Monroe junior Wyatt Janecke spoiled the night for the Thunderbirds, scoring both Cheesemaker goals including the game winner just 30 seconds from the third period buzzer. 

Janecke opened the scoring 6:45 from the end of the opening period but Thunderbirds’ senior Peyton Sloan responded 94 seconds later on a feed from freshman Jordi Beale. 

Junior goaltender Burke Schweda stood out again in goal for the Thunderbirds, keeping this one even until the final minute despite a 59-37 edge in shots for the visitors. A 36-save effort for Xander Obert of the Cheesemakers was not too shabby either. 

The Cheesemakers swept the season set with the Thunderbirds, taking the earlier meeting 4-1 at Stateline Ice Arena in Monroe Dec. 6.  

Thunderbirds will continue a busy week at Lake Delton Ice Arena Thursday, taking on RWD in its next to last Badger West Conference game. They enter the contest winless in eight conference contests. Overall, Thunderbirds have six games remaining on the schedule. The next home game will be on Tuesday (Jan. 24) against McFarland Spartans of the Badger East Conference. 

Peyton Sloan (center — pictured in a game against RWD) fired the lone goal for the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Tuesday night, evening the score at 1-1 in the first period. The visiting Cheesemakers scored late to spoil the night for Baraboo/Portage 2-1. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Beale’s pair leads Thunderbirds past Red Hawks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds used a pair of first period goals from freshman Jordi Beale to vault them in front and send them on their way to their third win first home win of the season at Pierce Park Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 14).

Thunderbirds got two more in the third to collect a 4-2 win against the Milton RedHawks in their Badger Challenge contest. They collected a win by the same score against the Red Hawks at a Stoughton tournament on New Year’s Eve. 

Two more goals in the third period just over a minute apart broke a 2-2 deadlock and sent the Thunderbirds to the win. 

Beale’s first goal was unassisted four minutes into the contest and the other, scoring 4:08 later was set up by senior Peyton Sloan. 

Aaron Thompson, a Milton senior got the Red Hawks on the board with a little under five minutes to play in the first period and sophomore Ty Johnson tied it early in the middle period.  

Sloan nailed the game winner 5:19 into the final frame with help from Beale and insurance came 79 seconds when Landon Olson scored with assists for Sloan and Dylann Carpenter.

 

Junior goaltender Burke Schweda collected his third win of the season with a 32-save effort and the Thunderbirds fired 41 shots against Benett Thompson at the other end of the pond. 

The Thunderbirds improved their record to 3-14 on the season, but 3-5 since the Christmas Break as well.  

They will head back to Badger West Conference play with a home game against the Monroe Cheesemakers on Tuesday (Jan. 17) and a test in Lake Delton against RWD on Thursday night. 

Panthers roll over Thunderbirds at home

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Playing at home for the first time in three weeks, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds were unable to use it to their advantage, dropping a 9-0 decision to the high-flying Oregon Panthers at Pierce Park Pavilion on Thursday (Jan. 12). 

Despite a 16-6 edge in shots in the opening period, the Panthers grabbed just a 1-0 lead thanks once again to the standout goaltending of junior Burke Schweda.  

The guests stepped up their attack in the middle period, peppering Schweda with a 29-6 edge in shots and widening the margin to 4-0.  

Another five in the third period with a 24-2 edge in chances wrapped up the goose egg for the Panthers, led by junior Andrew Jicha who scored three and set up another pair for a five-point game. 

After a long stretch on the road, the Thunderbirds began a stretch of three straight at Pierce Park Pavilion, followed Saturday (Jan. 14) with a rematch against the Milton Red Hawks followed Tuesday (Jan. 17) with a Badger West Conference match against the Monroe Cheesemakers. 

Thunderbirds find scoring touch and wins

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

It may or may not have been a Christmas gift, but the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team returned from the Break having finally found a scoring touch and as a result, a way to break into the win column. 

The Thunderbirds dropped all nine contests before the Break and for good reason, having scored just two goals in that stretch of games. 

In the six games since the Break, Thunderbirds have found the mesh 14 times and as a result, broke into the win column twice.  

First up was a three-game tournament at Stoughton’s Mandt Arena and while the team was able to become involved offensively, it took three tries before the first win arrived.  

After dropping a tough 5-4 decision against the host Stoughton Vikings on Dec. 29, the Thunderbirds met up with the Beloit Memorial Purple Knights and fell 6-2. 

On the final day of the year, Thunderbirds snapped their 11-game season opening skid with a 4-2 decision against the Milton Red Hawks beginning some early New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Following that, Thunderbirds fell 3-1 to the host Black River Falls Tigers on the road, then fell to 0-6 in Badger West Conference play with an 8-1 loss against the host Sauk Prairie Eagles at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Friday. 

Wrapping up a tough stretch of six straight road contests (seven were scheduled but a match at the Omni against the Avalanche was postponed Dec. 22.) the Thunderbirds made the trek to Hartmeyer Arena in Madison and collected a 3-1 edge against the Madison LaFollette/East Lakers, wrapping up a solid and promising 2-4 stretch, all on the road.

Leading the offense through the stretch was junior Peyton Sloan with four goals including the team’s first game winner of the season. Freshman Wyatt Jost chipped in three assists while sophomore Dylann Carpenter and freshman Jordi Beale both scored twice. One of Beale’s goals was also a game winner. 

Junior Landon Olson collected a goal and assist, freshman Nathan Gneiser and sophomore Bodie Thompson both set up a pair. Juniors Luke Schweda and Kyle Buelow both scored a goal with single assists for freshmen Wade Zemanovic and Thomas Sarnow. 

There were no stats available from the game in Stoughton against Beloit Memorial. 

Sophomore goaltender Burke Schweda continued his torrid pace between the pipes as well. In the five games that had statistics available the young goalie kicked out 219 of 237 shots for a dazzling .924 Save Percentage. 

Thunderbirds are scheduled to play on home ice for the first time since Dec. 20 with another Badger West Conference game tonight (Thursday, Jan. 12) against the Oregon Panthers. In their previous meeting in Oregon Dec. 13, the Panthers collected an 8-0 win. 

Griebe shutout, Scott hatty pace Cheavers past Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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. 

John Scott, pictured here in a game earlier this season, picked up a natural hat trick with three second period goals against the Baraboo-Portage Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Pavilion Saturday (Dec. 10). Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

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.  

Goaltender Alex Griebe, pictured here in a game earlier this season, stopped all 12 shots fired at him Saturday (Dec. 10) to collect his first varsity shutout against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at PIerce Park Pavilion. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Schweda ends goal drought for Thunderbirds

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds junior Luke Schweda snapped a stretch of more than four games without a goal when he converted a feed from freshman Thomas Sarnow Tuesday (Dec. 6) at State Line Ice Arena (SLICE). 

Unfortunately, the lone goal of the middle period wasn’t enough to stay with the Cheesemakers who collected their first ever Badger West Conference win with a 4-1 decision.  

The host Cheesemakers scored twice in the opening period, juniors Ethan Rosenstiel and Wyatt Janecke pulled the trigger before Schweda notched the first Thunderbirds goal since the season opening game late in the second period.  

Janecke added a clincher 7:07 into the final period and senior Seth Brandt padded the margin just over a minute later. 

Shots on goal were not kept for the game which is a shame as Thunderbirds sophomore goaltender Burke Schweda may be on track for facing the most shots in the state this season. 

Thunderbirds fell to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the Badger West with the loss and will face a tough challenge on Pierce Park Pavilion Saturday when the RWD Cheavers (2-3, 0-2 Badger West) pay a visit. 

Schweda keeps it close but Thunderbirds shutout

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Despite a dominant effort on the shot counter, Tomah/Sparta didn’t secure a win against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds until an insurance goal inside the final three minutes lifted them to a 3-0 win at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo Tuesday night.  

The Thunderbirds, playing on home ice for the first time this season, fell to 0-4 despite yet another amazing effort in goal from sophomore Burke Schweda.  

This one had to sting a bit as the Thunderbirds were shutout for a third straight time and have found the mesh just once in 204 minutes so far. At the opposite end, Schweda stopped all but three of 56 for the Thunderbirds and was beaten just once on 31 attempts heading to the third period.  

Statistically, the middle frame was likely the best of the season for the T-Birds who fired 10 against Tomah/Sparta sophomore Ashton Steele on his way to a 16-stop shutout. Thunderbirds had just three shots in both the first and final periods.  

Schweda matched him and beyond through the first 32:15 before junior Owen Walker notched the only goal needed by Tomah/Sparta.  

Blake Haun doubled the margin early in the third, but the game wasn’t clinched until freshman Colin Ritter sank a third for the visitors with 2:53 to go.  

The Thunderbirds will stay on home ice for their next pair, beginning with their third game in four days against the Janesville Bluebirds from the Big Eight Conference. Bluebirds opened their regular season Tuesday with a 6-5 loss to Kenosha on home ice. 

Thunderbirds fell to 0-4 with the loss and will look to get off the shnide Thursday with a 7 p.m. faceoff. Following that, Thunderbirds will head back into conference play hosting the Sauk Prairie Eagles on Saturday at 5 p.m., also at Pierce Park Pavilion. 

T-Birds tough opening road stretch ends at Edgewood

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info

Coming off a pair of tough losses against Monona Grove and Waupun, the Thunderbirds wrapped up a three-game season opening road trek with what could be its toughest game of the season, opening the Badger West Conference schedule with a 10-0 loss against the host Madison Edgewood Crusaders at Le Bahn Ice Arena in Madison. 

The Crusaders enter 2022-23 as the defending conference champs and rolled into the contest Monday also sporting an 0-2 record with weekend losses against defending state champion Hudson and Chippewa Falls on the road.  

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds absorbed another tough lesson Monday, heading into a tough and busy week of WIAA action. 

Once again, Thunderbirds’ goaltender Burke Schweda was a bright spot for the locals, especially early, as they came out of the opening period down 2-0 despite a 17-4 edge in shots for the home side. Unfortunately for the T-Birds, that was already half of its game total as the Crusaders rolled to a 55-8 margin overall.  

Schweda has kicked out 174 shots in three games for Baraboo/Portage but because of the scores, it has likely gone unnoticed by many, 

The Crusaders added five more unanswered middle period goals and sank three more in the third, led by freshman Owen Koch and sophomore David Halblieb with three goals apiece. 

The good news for the Thunderbirds is the toughest road portion of its scheduled is now in the rearview mirror and the team is scheduled to play its first game in front of friendly fans tonight (Nov. 28) at Pierce Park Pavilion against Tomah/Sparta from the Mississippi Valley Conference.  

A non-conference tilt, this would normally be considered a good opportunity for the Thunderbirds to break into the win column but after opening the season with a 4-2 loss against Black River Falls Tigers in its opener Friday, Tomah/Sparta took its frustrations out on the Stoughton Vikings from the Badger East 9-2 the following night. Both Tomah/Sparta games so far have been on home ice.  

Thunderbirds have just one goal in three games and will be looking to get its offense on track in this one at Pierce Park Pavilion.  

Thunderbirds will wrap up a four-game week and a three-game homestand with a Thursday night contest against the Janesville Blue Birds from the Big Eight Thursday before playing its first conference match on home ice Saturday against the Sauk Prairie Eagles. Tuesday and Thursday games start at 7 p.m. with the weekend contest starting at 5 p.m.