Fun but stressful week of WIAA playoffs

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

Jimmy D’s Notes

  • The WIAA hockey post season has to be the most exciting, but also the most heartbreaking time of the hockey season. With my own coverage of four Sauk County teams, there was plenty of both.  

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds  

  • First, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds came up with what had to be their grittiest and best defensive effort for 34 minutes against the RWD Cheavers. For seniors like Oliver Scanlan, Gabe Fitzwilliams and in particular, goaltender Andrew Schaetzl among others they clearly saved their best for last and it was tough the game got away from them down the stretch against an RWD team that seemed to be on a misson. Another regular contributor was senior forward Zach Huffaker.
  •  It was a tough season from the start for the Thunderbirds with illness and injury among the contributing factors — three Thunderbird seniors — Kyle Poole, Luna Larson and Charlie Gibbs unforunately combined to appear in just 17 games.

RWD Cheavers 

  • A couple nights later and again, one of the Sauk County teams was leaving with heads low no matter what the final. The Eagles shrugged off a couple regular season losses against the Cheavers, using a key span in the middle period to put up four goals and then hold off a desperate RWD team through the game’s second half.  
  • For RWD, a group of players that have played varsity minutes since their freshman year – senior goaltender Cooper Oakes who will likely hold most of his team goaltending records for several seasons. Senior forward CJ Pfaff has had a great run. His grit and ability to kill time or find space when none seemed available made him a player that had to be on the ice in any close game. Senior forward Trevor Slaght, one of the best skaters around. It’s no coincidence, the team’s great 14-2 run that started in mid-December started right around the time Slaght made his surprisingly early return from an acl injury. 
  • Another surprise, the play of senior forward Tomas Korndorfer who was likely the team’s best sniper and played a part in giving the team two top lines 1A and 1B. 
  • On the blue line the tireless defensive play of senior Ty Thompson the team’s hardest hitter and Grant Marsich, also a physical force with a heavy shot and a knack for getting under the skin of his opponents. 
  • Depth forwards Carter Scully, Mitch Henke and Malachi Strompolis-Salama who made the most of every second they played for the varsity team and helped in a way many didn’t see – contributing their leadership and winning attitude to create an amazing competitive season for the players that will carry that into the future of the RWD program. 

Badger Lightning  

  • Official results are not available as this is written but a third Sauk County team wrapped up its season with a tough 3-0 defeat at Sun Prairie Ice Arena against the host Cap City Cougars.  
  • It was a different Lightning team that walked onto the ice there than the one that succumbed 8-0 a few years ago. Granted, the Cougars are a younger team this season, but the three Lightning seniors – Carson Blosenski, Signe Begalske and Emily Gunnel spent two seasons leading this team because there were no seniors on a short-staffed team last season.  
  • It says here, the Lightning will win its first playoff game in several seasons a year from now…it will be on home ice and the three players who are leaving the Lightning will deserve some credit for it. 
  • An official story on the game played Friday in Sun Prairie will appear on this facebook page later this weekend.

This is the first of a number of editorial type stories that will be posted in the next few days/weeks. One thing about the end of the hectic varsity season, it will give me a chance to say and thank a lot of people that I just haven’t had the time to do yet. 

But, for now, please join me in cheering on the Sauk Prairie Eagles. Let’s hope the third time is the charm at the Sectional semis and this is the team that can find a way past the Badger West Conference Champion Madison Edgewood Crusaders. 

Go get it boys. 

JV Cheavers take two at DeForest tourney

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD junior varsity hockey team added two more wins at a Wisconsin Dells tournament with wins against the Deforest Norskies and Monona Grove Silver Eagles this past weekend.  

The tournament, hosted by the Norskies brought together four teams and was originally scheduled for three rounds, but a referee shortage left it at two rounds.  

The Cheavers and Middleton Cardinals both finished the event at 2-0 while the Eagles and Norskies both lost both games.  

Cheavers 8 Norskies 3  

The Cheavers kicked off the event on Thursday (Jan. 27) against the tournament hosts, firing three unanswered first period goals and never looking back.  

Kaden Uminski had his name called in the revolving door of skaters donning the pads after a season ending illness for Alex Griebe. The first-year defender kicked out 17 shots to pick up the win including a few bordering on sensational. 

Offensively, the team was led by sophomore Mark Othmer who scored once and set up three others. Senior Malachi Strompolis-Salama and first-years Tye Barney and Carter Renneberg each added a goal and assist. Other goals came from junior Nate Stando, sophomore Jonny Mata, junior Connor Putz and first-year Tristan Edgerton.  

Junior Caleb Eastman collected two assists and first-year Nolan Pope had one. 

Cheavers 5 Silver Eagles 3  

Othmer took his turn between the pipes and joined the list of regulars who picked up wins between the pipes, extending the team’s undefeated streak to 11 games. 

Eagles hit the scoreboard first in this one and carried a 1-0 lead into the middle period.  

Uminski’s solo effort pulled the Cheavers even 4:01 into the second, but the Silver Eagles moved in front again just over a minute later.  

It was all Cheavers after that though, the RWD crew notching four consecutive goals before the Eagles wrapped it up with just under four minutes to play. 

The Cheavers owned a 3-2 lead after the second thanks to goals from Barney and Edgerton. Uminski assisted on both goals and senior Carter Scully also picked up a helper. 

Uminski wrapped up a five-point game, setting up first-year Alec Breunig for the fourth goal, then scoring his second of the contest with help from Strompolis-Salama. 

Othmer picked up the win with 17 saves.  

The JV Cheavers were scheduled to be back in action Tuesday (Feb. 1) on the road against Badger West Conference rival, Sauk Prairie Eagles. 

Barney notches shorty equalizer for JV Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Cheavers junior varsity squad extended its unbeaten streak to nine games thanks in part to a shorthanded breakaway effort and a stand in between the pipes.

The Cheavers collected a 5-5 draw with the Madison Edgewood Crusaders, the tying at La Bahn Arena in Madison, boosting its current streak to nine games without a loss and its overall record to 11-2-2. The last loss for the JV Cheavers came on Dec. 3, 2021 at RACA against the same Edgewood Crusaders. 

Alex Griebe who played a huge part in the team’s latest string with an unreal 17-plus shutout period stretch in goal is likely lost for the remainder of the season due to illness, but this team is accustomed to adversity. 

The goaltending spot will see a revolving door of ‘skaters’ filling in over the remainder of the season and the first to don the pads was senior Malachi Stompolis-Salama who took to the role with a 24-save effort to keep it close.  

The Cheavers battled back from 4-1 and 5-4 deficits, the tying goal coming on a shorthanded breakaway goal scored by first-year Tye Barney with just under two minutes to play. 

The Cheavers started slow, but Strompolis-Salama kept the team in it, stopping all but one of nine shots faced in the opening 17-minutes, dominated on the shot clock by a 9-0 margin by the home team. 

The Crusaders fired two more early in the middle period before Iszak Elder got the visitors on the board with an unassisted marker. The middle period ended with the hosts up 3-1 but Elder fired a second unassisted goal early in the third to get RWD with one. 

Crusaders added another 7:08 into the period but Cheavers replied a little over two minutes later as Kaden Uminski converted a pass from Tristan Edgerton and Caleb Eastman tied it a short time later, also from Edgerton. 

The Crusaders moved in front again 33 seconds later, setting stage for Barney’s shorty. 

The Cheavers did not play against the Monroe Cheesemakers on Thursday night, but will be back in action at a DeForest Norskie’s hosted tournament at Lake Delton Ice Arena Jan. 27-29. 

Shutout streak ends but JV Cheavers unbeaten in 8

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Facing a tough and persistent Oregon Panthers squad, the RWD junior varsity Cheavers hockey team saw its seven-game winning streak turned into an eight-game unbeaten streak as the Panthers rallied for a 3-3 draw Thursday night (Jan. 6) at Reedsburg Area Community Arena. 

After ending a stretch of more than 17 periods of shutout hockey for goaltender Alex Griebe and the JV Cheavers, the Panthers built a 2-0 lead before rallying in the game’s final minute for a 3-3 final score. 

The Cheavers, who have not lost a game since Dec. 3, 2021 have not trailed often in that stretch so when the visiting Panthers scored twice in a little more than three minutes to carry a 2-0 lead out of the opening period, it was a big of unfamiliar territory for the home side.  

But the squad, made up primarily of underclassmen showed no panic or frustration, using a patient but persistent attack, the team struck for two of its own to knot the game at 2-2 in the middle frame.  

Senior Malachi Strompolis-Salama finally found a way past Oregon goaltender Nickolas Couillard, snapping a wrister home under the cross bar on a powerplay with an assist for first year Kaden Uminski.  

In the final minute of the second, senior Carter Scully evened the score with his unassisted marker and the Cheavers grabbed its first lead with another unassisted tally, this time from first year Alec Breunig. 

After killing off a late penalty the Cheavers had its sights set on the final buzzer, but the Panthers managed to spoil it for the home side notching the equalizer with 34 seconds to play. 

Sophomore Isaac Rottier scored the first and final goal for the Panthers with sophomore Charlie Ashworth netting the other.  

The JV Cheavers record moves to 11-2-1.