Olson goal lifts Lightning past WVU 4-3

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Reese Olson lifted the Badger Lightning to its first and only lead of the contest Tuesday night with 31 seconds to play at the South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids and the team held on for a 4-3 edge against the host Wisconsin Valley Union.  

Reese Olson fired the game winner for the Badger Lightning with 31 seconds to play in the contest. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

The Lightning rallied back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to grab the win, boosting its WIAA season record to 2-1. 

Down by a pair after a period, the Lightning struck back in the middle period with goals from senior Lani Selje and junior Katelyn Allen 31 seconds apart and teams headed to the final period even at 2-2. 

First year Kyran Merrell collected assists on both goals and senior Kayla Capener helped on the second.  

Senior Sonia Dissanayake and first year Lily Cichy scored the first period Union goals and Dissanayake put her squad in front again 4:14 into the final period but Lightning senior Mallory Ruland pulled her team even again with an unassisted goal 3:10 later. 

That set the stage for Olson who took a feed from Capener before scoring the game winner.  

In goal, junior Alyssa Gada stopped 19 of 22 to grab her second win of the season while the Lightning sent 28 shots at junior Grace Lawrence. 

The meeting was the first between the Union and Lightning since 2016 and the Lightning evened the all-time series at 3-3-2 with their first win against the Stevens Point/Wisconsin Rapids cooperative effort since 2012. 

Lightning will try to stay hot when they return to Badger Conference play Saturday with a trip to Mandt Community Center in Stoughton Saturday (Dec. 3) for a 2:15 p.m. puck drop against the Icebergs and then travel to Sun Prairie Ice Arena Monday night for another Badger Conference match against the Cap City Cougars.  

Next home game for the Lightning will be on Friday when the Rock County Fury visits for yet another Badger Conference contest at Pierce Park Pavilion

Gada shutout leads Lightning past Golden Beavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team broke into the win column Saturday thanks in part to a 22-save shutout for junior goaltender Alyssa Gada and a goal from senior Mallory Ruland. 

That turned out to be the game winner and the lone goal in a 1-0 win for the Lightning.  

After Ruland’s goal, set up by first-year Kyran Merrell and sophomore Katelyn Allen with 4:46 to play in the opening period, it was all up to the goaltenders – Gada with the goose egg and Beaver Dams’ Emily Smedema who kicked out 35 of 36 at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.  

The win boosted the Lightning record to 1-1 while the Golden Beavers were playing their first game of the season. The game was the first Badger Conference game of the season for both teams. 

The Lightning will be back in action Tuesday, hitting the road for the first time this season to take on the Wisconsin Valley Union at South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids in a 5 p.m. contest. The Lightning will stay on the road for three games with confrerence matches on Saturday at Stoughton’s Mandt Community Center against the Icebergs and a visit to Sun Prairie Ice Arena Monday Dec. 5 to play the Cap City Cougars.  

Next home game for the locals will be another conference tilt against the Rock County Fury at Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 9. 

Alyssa Gada stopped everything the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers could fire against her in collecting her first win and first shutout of the 2022/23 season Saturday at Pierce Park Pavilion. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
Mallory Ruland (13) handles the puck off a faceoff Saturday with some help from teammate and fellow senior Lani Selje.(25). Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

Lightning turn in great effort but fall short against Cougars

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning came up with its best effort of the season on the right night, but it wasn’t quite enough to garner the WIAA playoff upset on Friday (Feb. 1) as they fell 3-0 to the rival Cap City Cougars at Sun Prairie Ice Arena. 

The Lightning served notice it was ready to step onto a plateau with the Badger Conference’s mid and upper pack teams this past season, pushing the Cougars, Viroqua Blackhawks, Icebergs (Stoughton area) and Rock County Fury to close decisions, but ultimately falling short in every contest. 

Inspired by a game just a couple weeks prior when the Lightning pushed the Cougars to overtime before ultimately succumbing 2-1, the six seeded Lightning entered playoff rematch ready and primed for an upset win. 

Out of the gate, the Lightning took it to the Cougs, outshooting them in a tight opening period by a 5-4 margin, but both teams were scoreless through the first 17 minutes. 

Sophomore Keegan Sanderfoot fired an unassisted regular strength goal halfway through the second period and added two more, both on the only two powerplays the Cougars had in the contest – one in the second period and the other in the third. 

Cougars’ junior Izzy Hahn stopped all 29 shots the Lightning put her way and Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada stopped 23 of 26 for the Lightning. 

Members of the Badger Lightning have a quiet minute amongst themselves before shaking hands after their final game of the 2021-22 varsity WIAA season at Sun Prairie Ice Arena Friday night.

Unfortunately, the loss ended the season for the 9-14 Lightning while the Cougars (12-11-1) advanced to the WIAA Section 3 semi-finals at Viroqua on Wednesday (Feb. 23) against the host Blackhawks who moved into the round with an 11-0 win against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. 

The loss was especially tough for the team’s three seniors: Carson Blosenski, Signe Begalske and Emily Gunnel.

 The other semi will match the top seeded Metro Lynx who enjoyed a first-round bye against the fourth seeded Icebergs who earned 3-1 win against number five Rock County Fury. That game will also be on Wednesday. 

Both winners will move into the Sectional Championship game at Sun Prairie Ice Arena Saturday at 7 p.m. for one of four Sectional Championship spots in the State tournament next week. 

Badger Lightning varsity players head off the ice following a heartbreaking 3-0 loss in Sun Prairie Friday night.

Third period rally for Iceberg erases Lightning lead

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning wrapped what might have been the busiest week in team history on Friday (Feb. 4) with a second straight heartbreaker, falling 5-4 to the Icebergs at Mandt Community Center in Stoughton. 

The Lightning dropped a 4-0 decision to the same team on Dec. 21 but found its scoring touch on the road and carrying a 4-2 lead into the final period.  

Icebergs hit the scoreboard first, but junior Mallory Ruland evened it up late in the opening period with a set up for senior Carson Blosenski. 

A trio of first years combined to give the Lightning its first lead of the contest, Audrey Hanko hitting the mesh with help from Kayla Garbacz and Reese Olson.  

The Icebergs pulled about four minutes later, but the Lightning grabbed control of the contest with a pair of goals in the final 4:09 of the period. 

Garbacz scored the first, from Katelyn Allen and Blosenski and junior defender Eryn Benson added another unassisted 82 seconds later.

The hosts responded to the deficit with three unanswered third period goals, the game winner coming with 6:39 to play. 

The loss wrapped up a seven-game week for the Lightning who were 4-3 in that stretch and likely happy to have a few days off on the weekend. 

The now 8-12 Lightning has two games remaining on its schedule, both at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo. The first game will see the Lightning hosting the Onalaska Hilltoppers on Tuesday (Feb. 8) at 5 p.m. with the Medford Raiders in town for the regular season finale Friday at 7 p.m.  

Gada kicks out 45 in heartbreaker against Cougars

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team gave an idea of how far it has come this season despite dropping a 2-1 decision to the Cap City Cougars in overtime at Pierce Park Pavilion Thursday (Feb. 3). 

Since 2011-12, the Lightning and Cougars faced off 20 times before Thursday’s contest. The Cougars won 19 of them, the lone Lightning win coming a decade ago as of Jan. 12.  

The Cougars added a 20th win on Thursday, but it was more like they escaped with a win thanks to a supreme effort between the pipes from Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada.  

The shots show more of the same, the Cougars holding a 46-16 edge in regulation play. Gada stopped all but one of those shots as senior Magnolia von Bauer scored 3:03 into the contest. Gada stopped 19 of 20 Cougars’ shots in the opening period and blanked them with 26 stops through the final two periods. 

Meanwhile, junior Mallory Ruland evened the score early in the second period with assists for junior Kayla Capener and senior Signe Begalske.  

The Lightning was 55 seconds away from a tie when Keegan Sanderfoot sank the game winner on the only shot for the Cougars in the overtime segment. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 11-8 in regular season play and 5-8 in Badger Conference play. 

The team was looking at a quick turnaround with a trip to Stoughton Friday (Feb. 4) to play its final Badger Conference contest against the Icebergs. That will leave two home games on the schedule, Tuesday (Feb. 8) against the Onalaska Hilltoppers and Friday against the Medford Raiders. 

Gada records first varsity shutout

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

After snapping a two-game losing streak, the longest of the season so far with a 9-0 shutout win against the visiting Beaver Dam Golden Beavers in the first of three-straight on home ice at Baraboo’s Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 17, the Badger Lightning came up short against the Icebergs on Dec. 21 in its final game before the Christmas Break.  

Golden Beavers 0 @ Badger Lightning 9  

Starting out the stretch was the third win this season against the Golden Beavers, a team the Lightning has never lost to. 

Offensively, the Lightning was consistent with three goals in each period while in goal, sophomore Alyssa Gada picked up her first WIAA shutout. 

Junior forward Kayla Capener continued her torrid offensive pace with four goals and an assist in the contest, senior Signe Begalske chipping in a goal and two assists. Junior Lily McPherson and first-year Kayla Garbacz each contributed a goal and assist. 

Zoey Udelhofen, Eryn Benson and Lani Selje each picked up a goal assists, the other goal scored by Mallory Ruland. 

The Lightning held a lopsided 46-5 edge in shots against the Golden Beavers  

Icebergs 4 Lightning 0 

Against the Icebergs, Lightning played mostly even, the visitors holding a 32-24 edge overall in shots, but the big difference was Laila Howe who fired three of the four Icebergs’ goals, including the game winner near the halfway mark of the first period.  

Icebergs scored singles in the first and third with two in the middle frame. 

The Lightning entered the Christmas break even at 4-4. Unfortunately, all four losses have come against Badger Conference opponents, so the team’s conference record at this point is 2-4. 

The team will wrap up a three-game homestand on Wednesday (Dec. 29) with a non-conference meeting with Northern Pines Eagles (4-3, Independent). 

Gada kicks out 40 but Lightning can’t stay with Blackhawks

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning finally faced an opponent again on Monday (Dec. 13) dropping a 4-1 Badger Conference decision to the host Viroqua Blackhawks at Viroqua Community Arena.  

With a postponed game against the Metro Lynx on the previous Friday, it was a full week between games for the Lightning and they faced a Viroqua team that might be a year or two ahead of them in current development. 

The score flattered the Lightning a little as the stats showed a whopping 44-15 edge in shots for the home team including a 12-3 in the opening frame and 16-1 in the final period. 

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada continues to shine in the blue paint for the Lightning, kicking out 40 shots, including all 16 in that third period. 

The Blackhawks fired a pair of unanswered first period adding two more in the second before senior Signe Begalske shattered the shutout bit of Viroqua goaltender Sami Bramstedt 33 seconds after the home side widened the gap to 4-0 in the middle period.  

Assists on the goal went to junior Kayla Capener and Eryn Benson. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 3-3 on the season and 1-3 in Badger Conference matches. 

The Lightning will get used to Pierce Park Pavilion in the leadup to the Christmas break with three on home ice, beginning Friday (Dec. 17) against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers, a team they defeated twice already this season 

On Tuesday night the Lightning will entertain the Icebergs in another conference match wrapping up the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule. 

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.

Set your calenders for WIAA playoff matches

The Sauk Prairie Eagles and Badger Lightning still have a little regular season business to look after, but the focus is shifting to the WIAA post season which begins on Tuesday night.

All three Sauk County varsity boys teams will get the honor of opening the post season on home ice while the Badger Lightning will make the trek to Madison to play a tough foe.

 

Sauk Prairie Eagles – 4th Seed

All three Sauk teams are included in the new WIAA ‘Division One’ playoffs this season after a split last season carried some substantial foes, including perennial state champion Superior and local foe, Waunakee, to Division 2

There are 11 teams total in Section Three (of four) in Division one, the top three teams drawing byes into Sectional quarter-finals, or as some prefer, Regonal Finals.

Sauk Prairie Eagles (13-3-1 as of Wednesday, February 12) just missed a bye, drawing the number four seed. They will open the post season on home ice at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) Tuesday with a 7 p.m. faceoff against the Madison LaFollette/Madison East Lakers (2-19-1; 1-12-0 Big Eight). If the Eagles win, they will keep home ice advantage and play against either the fifth seeded Madison West Regents or #9 Deforest Norskies in quarter-finals either Friday or Saturday.

The Eagles have not played the Lakers this season

 

RWD Cheavers – 7th Seed

The Cheavers earned the Section’s seventh seed and will play host on Tuesday night as well, entertaining the #10 Monroe Co-op Cheesemakers.

The Cheavers wrapped up the season at 10-13-1 and 4-6-0, good enough for fourth in the Badger North Conference. The Cheesemakers finished at 14-7-2 and 5-5-2, also fourth in the Badger South. The two teams have not met this season and may have never met in WIAA action.

The game will be played at 7 p.m. Tuesday with the winner advancing to play the Section’s #2 seed and Badger South champion Madison Edgewood Crusaders. (19-4-0; 12-0-0 Badger South).

 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds – 8th seed

The 11-12-1 (3-6-1 Badger North) Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds wrapped up the final home ice spot for the first round as the eighth seed and they will play host to #9 Madison Memorial Spartans (8-14-1, 6-8-0 Big Eight).

Thunderbirds have not played Madison Memorial this season. Winner of this game will draw the tough quarter-final assignment, traveling to Verona Friday night to play the Section’s top seeded Verona Wildcats (20-4-0, 14-0-0 Big Eight).

 

Badger Lightning – 7th Seed

The Lightning was seeded seventh in the seven-team Section Three playoffs. They will face Badger Conference rival Cap City Cougars in the Sectional Quarter finals Thursday at the Sun Prairie Ice Arena with a 7 p.m. puck drop

The Lightning were heading into its regular season finale at Ozaukee Friday night with a 5-14-0 regular season record, 3-9-0 in Badger Conference play.

The Cougars still have a couple conference matches to play will win the conference title if they can win them both. The Cougars are 18-3 overall and 9-1 in conference play.

In two meetings this season, the Lightning dropped a 7-1 decision to the Cougars at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena Dec. 19 and fell 9-2 at the Ice Pond in Waunakee Jan. 23.

Winner of this game will move on to play in the Sectional semis on Feb. 25 against either the Onalaska Hilltoppers or the Icebergs (Stoughton).