By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info With senior Luke Mast leading the way, the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team wrapped up its 2022-23 Badger West Conference schedule on a winning note Tuesday (Jan. 24).
The Eagles wrapped up second place in the conference with an 8-0 win at Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) in Monroe, wrapping up an 8-2 Conference schedule and boosting its overall regular season record to 14-4-2.
The Eagles all but settled the game with four unanswered first period goals despite a narrow 13-10 edge on the shot counter. The Eagles wrapped up the win with two more in both the second and third periods. Mast, in the hunt for the overall state lead in scoring, put up four goals and set up another three to stay with the front runners. Freshman Landon Froese and sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner both added a goal and assist with other goals scored by juniors Steven Romaker and Colin Harrington. Junior Karsyn Banta chipped in two assists.
With the conference season wrapped up, the Eagles will finish the regular season, beginning Friday (Jan. 27) with a home game against the Muskego Co-Op Ice Force (9-12-0, 3-3 Classic Eight). Next week, the Eagles will complete its home schedule against Madison West from the Big Eight Conference Tuesday and DeForest Norskies from the Badger East Thursday.
The regular season finale will take place in Tomah Feb. 7.
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 Dells Ducks are looking to improve on a tough year and instill a renewed winning culture in the tourist town, but there is one throwback they cannot do without.
Two seasons ago, Jacobsen, then a captain with the DeForest Norskies, turned lemons into lemonade, joining the Dells Ducks. It could not have been a better arrangement between the player and team.
Jacobsen will be the second player in team history (joining Chris Vella before him) to return for a second season as team captain. Despite a pair of rough seasons, Jacobsen’s presence has been an overwhelming positive for the team.
Head Coach Anthony Rohde made the easiest decision of the off season, bringing back Jacobsen as the team captain.
“The work ethic and drive to win is why Bryce has the ‘C’ again, said Rohde in an email interview. “It’s the attitude I want all the players to have.”
Locals were somewhat familiar with Jacobsen before he joined the team in the middle of the 2020-21 campaign as he played for the rival DeForest Norskies in the rival Badger North varsity league that all three Sauk County teams played in at the time.
With the pandemic destroying his final varsity season (Norskies were one of a few teams that decided not to play during that season), Jacobsen shifted his gaze to one of his semi-local junior teams.
“After my first skate, when Coach Falzone asked how I liked it. I told him I loved it,” said Jacobsen in an email interview. “Then, he asked if I wanted to play in the games that weekend. After that, I was all in. I loved how fast the practice was and how we did a lot of skill work.”
Jacobsen played in just 23 games that season but wrapped it up among the team’s leading scorers. The attributes listed above prompted Coach Falzone to select him among several returners to take the responsibility of being captain.
“When Coach Falzone named me captain I was a little surprised,” said the 6’3” 190-pound center. “I was very happy to be named captain. I was one of the captains in high school.”
Jacobsen and the Ducks endured another tough season but through it all, he continued to lead by example with his dedication, hard work and leadership by example. Jacobsen was on the ice in every situation, contributing 12 goals and 31 points. He and his teammates believed they could win no matter who the opponent was.
“Every week we would prepare for our opponents, and we would always have a positive mindset,” said Jacobsen. “At some points of the season, it was hard, but with the leadership of our veterans, we were able to keep a positive mindset.”
The captain said the frustrations of last season have inspired him and the other returners to make things different this time around.
“The other returners and I have had a long offseason just thinking about how we can’t wait to get back to the Dells to start the 22-23 season. We all feel like we have something to prove. Coach Rohde is bringing in a bunch of great guys that are skilled and ready to put in the work to make it a great winning season.”
Leadership and attitude are Jacobsen’s contributions. On the ice, he plays every shift with ferocity and while he may not win as many style points as some other players, his bull in a China shop approach in front of the net has been a factor in him getting pucks over the goal line.
Perhaps his most notable asset is his contribution in the faceoff circle. Actual statistics were not available but anyone paying attention is aware he wins far more than he loses at the dot. Reflexes and natural ability play a part, but Jacobsen works hard on faceoffs as well.
“Coach Rhode and I spend a lot of time working on faceoffs and how to consistently win them,” said Jacobsen. “We would even watch film on just faceoffs.”
Jacobsen will enter his final season with 17 goals and 40 points to his credit in 66 career games. He seldom missed a game over the previous two seasons and if he is able to continue that trend, he will be wind up in an elite group that includes just five players currently, with 100 or more games played as a Duck.
Rohde and Jacobsen will officially begin the reboot when the team reconvenes in September, but the future skate held at the end of last season and tryouts coming up in the Chicago area in June will give them a chance to get things started. For Jacobsen, an ‘02, this will be one final kick at it and over the course of the season he will also finalize the next chapter of both his education and hockey career.
“There were a few colleges that talked to me in the showcases,” said the captain adding, “When making a decision on where I will go to college, I want to go to a school that has a strong business program, and a good hockey program.”
Three goals in the opening six minutes of the final period helped the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team turn a close 3-2 match into a comfortable 6-2 margin in their opening WIAA Division 1 playoff encounter against the DeForest Norskies at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Feb. 15).
While the score was close, the shot clock showed a dominating effort by the Eagles who ultimately carried a 51-17 margin on the shot clock.
DeForest senior Alex Kaminski did his job and more, helping the visitors stay within a goal despite a 34-12 edge through the first two periods.
Junior Luke Mast fired the goal that stood up as the game winner 8:53 into the second period, just 45 seconds after Gabriel Larson, a junior from Lodi pulled his team even at 2-2 with what would be the final Norskie goal of the season.
The younger Mast brother added four assists in the contest while senior Nick Mast fired two goals and set up a pair as well. Rounding out the top line was senior Erik Peterson who also contributed two goals and two helpers.
The other Eagles’ goal came from defender Hakon Peterson who also collected an assist in the contest. Another senior, Porter Kreul picked up an assist for the Eagles.
Scoring the other DeForest goal in the opening period was senior Preston Nichols.
Eagles’ juniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney shared the work in goal, McInerney coming on for the final 9:13, facing three shots after Stracke stopped a dozen shots playing into the final period.
With the win, the now 18-4 Eagles advance to one of four Section 4 Regional finals, Thursday (Feb. 17) at 7 p.m. at RACA in Reedsburg against the 19-6 RWD Cheavers. Winner of that game will advance to Sectional semis next week against either Madison Edgewood Crusaders or the Sun Prairie Cardinals.
The season wraps up for the Norskies who finish the season with a 7-13-1 overall record.
The final hurdle between the Madison Edgewood Crusaders and a perfect Badger West Conference season, the Sauk Prairie Eagles were unable to stop the freight train who wrapped up the inaugural conference title with a 9-2 edge at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Thursday (Feb. 8).
The visitors started quick with two goals in the first seven minutes and one more before Luke Mast fired his 27th and final goal of the regular season from senior Erik Peterson.
The Crusaders added one more before the end of the period owned a 5-1 cushion when senior Micah Hanson scored with assists to senior Nick Mast and junior Luke halfway through the middle frame.
Two goals six seconds apart had Edgewood up 7-2 by the end of the second and two more down the stretch wrapped it up.
The Crusaders held a 40-18 edge in shots in the contest, junior Kaden Stracke facing 37 before junior Brooks McInerney came on for the final 5:48 stopping two of three.
The win was further proof to anyone who doubted the Crusaders deserved the top seed in Division 1, Section 3 and both teams clicked into playoff mode after the regular season finale.
The Eagles finished a solid 17-4 regular season, all four losses coming in Badger West Conference matches. The Crusaders finished at 21-3 with a 10-0 record in Badger West Conference matches.
The Eagles move into the 2022 WIAA post season as the Section’s fifth seed. They will entertain the DeForest Norskies on Tuesday in the Regional semi-finals, the winner moving on to play either RWD Cheavers or Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds on Thursday night in one of four Regional Championship matches in Section 3.
The Sauk Prairie Eagles made the trip to Monroe’s SLICE Arena worthwhile, collecting an 11-2 win against the host Cheesemakers in Badger West conference action on Monday (Feb. 7).
The host Cheesemakers hit the board first, but the Eagles responded with three before the end of the first period and five more unanswered goals in the middle frame.
The Cheesemakers hit the board first again in the final period, but the Eagles piled on another three before the final buzzer sounded and dominated the contest overall with a 49-13 edge in shots on goal.
Junior forward Luke Mast enjoyed another huge game for the Eagles, scoring five and setting up another pair while senior brother Nick Mast fired three and assisted on another and rounding out the team’s explosive first line was Erik Peterson with a goal and five helpers. As a unit, they combined for a 17-point night at the office.
Sophomore Thor Peterson scored and added two assists, junior Ethan Tranel scoring the other Eagles’ goal and senior defenseman Hakon Peterson collecting three assists. Seniors Porter Kreul and Micah Hanson had assists as well along with sophomores Colin Harrington and Karsyn Banta.
The Cheesemakers had two goals from sophomore Cole Buholzer.
In goal, junior Brooks McInerney collected the win with 11 stops.
The Eagles boosted its overall record to 17-3 with the win and the team will be back in action Tuesday (Feb. 8) with a non-conference test at SPARC before wrapping it up two nights later with one last shot at knocking off the undefeated (in Badger West Conference play) Madison Edgewood Crusaders.
The Cheesemakers fell to 2-20 in regular season action and finished a winless (0-10) Badger West campaign with one more regular season contest at home to the DeForest Norskies on Friday (Feb. 11).
The RWD junior varsity hockey team lengthened its undefeated streak battling an inspired DeForest Norskies team to a 1-1 draw at the Lake Delton Ice Arena Friday (Feb. 4).
Norskies’ sophomore goaltender Brayden Kurt was a difference maker in this one, stopping 38 shots to keep his team even despite a lopsided 39-13 edge on the shot clock for the Cheavers.
Teams played through a scoreless first period before Mark Othmer notched the lone RWD marker on a powerplay near the halfway mark of the second with an assist for Carter Scully.
That held up until sophomore Yiannis Logothetis pulled the Norskies even with 6:31 to play in the contest, the only shot to get past Nolan Pope, the latest to get his number called to go between the pipes since Alex Griebe went to the sidelines about a month ago.
The draw extends the RWD undefeated string – the team has not lost since Dec. 3 at home against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders moved past them.
Ahead for the Cheavers is a game against the Baraboo Thunderbirds Monday (Feb. 7) and the season finale at Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Janesville Bluebirds the following afternoon.
High School varsity hockey teams are entering the final week of their respective regular seasons and as of Sunday (Feb. 6) the playoff seeds have been set.
The four Sauk County teams will start their respective playoff runs Feb. 15-18, and the number will be cut by at least one in the opening round as the RWD varsity Cheavers will play host to Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds in its first-round match.
The Cheavers drew the #4 seed in the 14-team Section 3 with the Sauk Prairie Eagles ranked #5 and the Thunderbirds were ranked #13.
Top seeded Madison Edgewood Crusaders and second seed Waunakee Warriors both drew a bye through the first round of play.
The other 12 teams will start on Feb. 15 with the six opening game winners heading to regional finals Feb. 17 or 18.
The top half of the draw has a distinct Badger West flavor with RWD, Baraboo/Portage, Sauk Prairie Eagles and the Crusaders in that half of the draw.
The Eagles will entertain the 12th seeded DeForest Norskies in its opening contest with the winner confronting either RWD Cheavers or the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds in the Regional final round.
The other top-half match will see #8 Sun Prairie Cardinals from the Big Eight Conference hosting #9 Onalaska Hilltoppers from the Mississippi Valley Conference.
The bottom half of the draw will include five Big Eight teams.
While the Warriors draw the first-round bye, the third seeded Verona Wildcats will begin its quest for a third straight trip to State against #14 Madison LaFollette/East, #6 Middleton Cardinals will host the Aquinas Co-op Avalanche, seeded 11th and #7 Madison Memorial Spartans will play #10 Madison West Regents.
Lightning ranked sixth
The Seven-team Section 3 draw gives the Badger Lightning a shot at one more meeting with the Cap City Cougars.
The Lightning took the Cougars to overtime at Pierce Park Pavilion on Thursday (Feb. 3) and as the number six seed in Section 3, they will make the trip to third seeded Sun Prairie to face the same team either Feb. 17 or 18 for its first playoff encounter.
Winner of that game will move on to play either second seeded Viroqua or number seven Beaver Dam in the Sectional semis.
The other half of the draw includes the Metro Lynx drawing a first-round bye as the top seed and #4 Icebergs playing host to the #5 Rock County Fury.
The unique draw which sees all seven Badger Conference teams in the same draw makes the Sectional tournament double as a sort of unofficial Conference championship series as well.
The RWD varsity Cheavers renewed acquaintances with a former conference rival and collected of of five Badger West Conference wins on the day at the Badger Challenge at the Waunakee Ice Ponds Saturday.
A 9-2 win against former Badger North partner, the DeForest Norskies also helped the RWD crew extend its current winning streak to nine games.
Despite a 13-5 edge in shots through the opening 17-minutes, the Cheavers appeared on its way to a scoreless opening frame, but two goals in the final 84 seconds of the period opened the floodgates.
Another pai in the opening 4:15 of the second had RWD comfortably in control before the Norskies notched its first about 90 seconds later
The Norskies moved to within a pair 51 seconds into the third, but the Cheavers responded 11 seconds later and slammed the door with three more before the period was five minutes old.
Senior Tomas Korndorfer enjoyed his best game as a Cheaver, firing three goals and adding an assist, giving him nine goals and 20 points on the season so far.
Senior Trevor Slaght notched two more goals and senior defender Ty Thompson, known primarily for his solid defensive play, struck or his second goal in two games, adding an assist as well. Senior forward C, J. Pfaff continued his hot streak with a goal and two helpers, junior twins Caden and Carsen Brandt firing the other goals, Caden also with a set up.
Juniors Logan DeMars and John Scott along with sophomore Iszak Elder each collected an assist
Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes stopped 23 of 25 for the win in goal and the Cheavers went past the 50-shot mark for the first time this season, outshooting the Norskies 52-25.
The win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 13-5 and they will put its winning streak to the test in its next game, travelling to LaBahn Arena in Madison to take on the Edgewood Crusaders (9-3, 4-0 Badger West). The Cheavers dropped a 4-1 decision on home ice against the Crusaders on Dec. 3) and need this win to keep Badger West Conference championship hopes alive.
Next home game will be on Thursday, the final Badger West Conference home game against the Monroe Cheesemakers.
The RWD varsity hockey team, representing Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Mauston High Schools is rolling into its 12th season as a co-operative squad and once again, the bar has been set high by Head Coach Neil Mattson and his charges.
With a large group of seniors that have reached some lofty plateaus since they were young and a great supporting cast, the Cheavers appear to have all the bases – offense, defense and goaltending – covered heading into the season.
Mattson and the Reedsburg Area High School Athletic Director Bryan Yager have worked to put together as tough a schedule as possible each season and the 2021-22 campaign will see the addition of teams like the Onalaska Hilltoppers, River Falls Wildcats, Eau Claire North Huskies and Ashland Oredockers while still maintaining the other already tough non-conference schedule.
The realignment of the Badger Conferences will see Waunakee Warriors, Deforest Norskies and Beaver Dam Golden Beavers moving out while the always tough Madison Edgewood Crusaders, Oregon Panthers and Monroe Cheesemakers will join the Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and Sauk Prairie Eagles in what should be a difficult conference with no easy matches.
Last season, the Cheavers put together an 11-8 regular season record in a tough season due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place. There was no official Badger Conference play, but there was a playoff schedule. After defeating the Middleton Cardinals in the opening round, the Cheavers fell in the Regional Finals to the Sauk Prairie Eagles.
The team has been hit with a pair of injuries that will keep a pair of key players out of the lineup, but Mattson remains confident this team can overcome the adversity and move forward.
Senior forward Trevor Slaght was injured on the biggest stage, as a member of the Janesville Jets 18U team playing and winning a USA Hockey National Championship in Green Bay in April. An ACL injury will sideline the speedy forward until at least January although he has been taking part in non-contact drills with the team since practices started last week.
“He is a big asset to the offense when he returns,” said Mattson in a pre-season interview. “Trevor is one of the hardest working young men. He has the ability for next level and has been working very hard to return this season.”
Also lost is junior defenseman Carsen Brandt who suffered a shoulder injury during the football season, requiring surgery that will have him sidelined for the entire 2021-22 hockey schedule.
“He is going to be missed,” said Mattson adding he is one of the team’s top defenders. “But, thankfully, he will have his senior (2022-23) season.
We have high expectations this season,” said the Coach. “Our mentality now is ‘next man up.’ We have a fantastic group of kids working hard this season.”
To begin the campaign, the defense will likely include a group of five – Seniors CJ Pfaff, Ty Thompson and Grant Marsich along with sophomores Izak Elder and Mark Othmer, looking to carry the load with the loss of Brandt and the graduation of Schyvinck.
Up front, it appears junior Caden Brandt and sophomore Brady Baldwin will stay together after teaming up with Ely last season as a potent trio. Junior Logan DeMars is penciled in as the third member of the unit this season.
Junior John Scott, sophomore Trey Lariden and senior Tomas Korndofer are slated to play together as well with another line including junior Yevgeny Dedun, senior Mitchell Henke and junior Caleb Eastman will make up a line that will have as much responsibility on the defensive end as it does contribute to the offense.
Senior Cooper Oakes will enter an already great run with the varsity team, five games shy of Tyler Arneson’s games played record (70) and he already holds the team records for wins (34); Shots (1,703), Saves (1,538) and Shutouts (9). The senior leader will also help in the grooming of freshman Alexander Griebe, who will take the torch in the future.
The varsity team will hit the ice in West Salem for a scrimmage session Thursday with the host West Salem Panthers and Deforest Norskies.
The Junior Varsity squad will kick off its season at RACA Monday (November 22) against Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and both teams will make the trip to Wisconsin Rapids to play the Red Raiders the following day.
First home game for the Cheavers will be against the Onalaska Hilltoppers on Nov. 30.