By Jim den Hollander
BADGER WEST THIS WEEK
As Badger West Conference teams wrapped up the pre-Christmas portions of their schedules with a barrage of 13 games between Dec. 13-21.
Out of the smoke, Madison Edgewood Crusaders emerged as the conference’s championship favorite, the only team still unbeaten in conference play and adding two more games to its current six-game winning streak while Sauk Prairie Eagles, Oregon Panthers and RWD Cheavers have each dropped two out of five to share the runners up spot.
Another key match saw the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds sliding into fifth with a win against the Monroe Cheesemakers.
MADISON EDGWOOD CRUSADERS (6-1, Badger West 4-0)
The Crusaders put itself in the driver’s seat on Monday, Dec. 13, becoming the lone undefeated team in conference with a decisive 10-2 win at LaBahn Arena against the visiting Oregon Panthers. The following night the Crusaders collected a 12-0 shutout against the Monroe Cheesemakers, also at La Bahn. That win was the team’s sixth in a row after a season opening defeat against defending State Champion Hudson Raiders.
Cody Menzel let the awesome group of seniors on the Crusaders, collecting four goals and eight assists for a dozen points while J.J Wiebusch scored eight while setting up another three for 11 points. Both Wiebusch and Menzel have 26 points in seven games, good enough for a tie for ninth among the state’s top scorers.
Aidan Lenz, another senior, collected three goals and four assists in the two games and senior Parker Murn had six set ups.
In goal, sophomore Rowan White stopped all but two of 39 shots, boosting his overall Goals Against Average to exactly two, good enough for a tie for eighth best in the state.
OREGON PANTHERS (7-4, Badger West 3-2)
The past stretch was an up and down run for the Panthers who started out with its first conference defeat, brushed aside by the host Crusaders 10-2 before bouncing back with a 5-1 win the following night on home ice against RWD. A 3-2 loss against St. Mary’s Springs from Fond du Lac carried the team into a second conference loss, 7-1 at Sauk Prairie.
The key to beating the Panthers in this stretch seems to be shutting down the high-flying team leaders that remain the state’s top scorers so far. Of course, it is one thing to know that task and another thing to get it done.
The 10 goals in four games this week is easily the lowest scoring stretch so far, but the Panthers will be looking to recapture that touch at a tournament over the Christmas Break.
Senior Joe Roemer picked up seven assists to lead the way, sophomore Andrew Jicha collecting five goals and an assist and junior Kyle Rohrer adding three goals and two assists while junior Simon Dosher scored once and assisted on three.
Rohrer (20-26-46), Jicha (23-19-42) and Roemer (6-33-39) hold down the state’s top three spots. While Rohrer leads the state in points, Jicha is the state’s leading goal scorer and Roemer has the most assists.
SAUK PRAIRIE EAGLES (5-2, Badger West 2-2)
The Eagles, like the Crusaders, haver started the season a little slower than other teams due in part to a couple games being postponed.
The Eagles dropped a 2-1 decision at RACA in Reedsburg against a desperate RWD team on Friday (Dec. 17) and bounced back as the desperate team itself with a 7-1 victory at SPARC against the Panthers on Monday.
The Eagles wrapped up its busiest stretch of the season so far with a 7-5 win against McFarland in non-conference play at SPARC on Tuesday.
The Eagles put up 15 goals through the stretch, junior Luke Mast leading the charge with three goals and eight assists for 11 points. Senior Nick Mast scored six and added an assist while senior Hakon Peterson scored a pair and added four helpers. Senior Erik Peterson chipped in two goals and four assists.
In goal junior Kaden Stracke appeared in the first two goals, stopping 41 of 44 shots against.
RWD CHEAVERS (6-5, Badger West 3-2)
The Cheavers fell to 2-2 in Conference and 4-5 overall with the loss in Oregon but bounced back with a 2-1 win at RACA against the visiting Eagles and climbed over .500 once again with a non-conference win at Tomah against Tomah/Sparta on Tuesday night.
Defense and goaltending were key for the Cheavers, especially in the two wins that saw senior goaltending Cooper Oakes stopping 55 of 56 shots in goal and picking up the goose egg in Tomah.
Offensively, the Cheavers got two goals and four assists from senor CJ Pfaff, two goals from senior Caden Brandt, two assists from senior Grant Marsich and a goal and assist from junior Carsen Brandt.
BARABOO/PORTAGE THUNDERBIRDS (2-7, Badger West 1-2)
After starting out with a postponed game against the Eagles, Thunderbirds dropped a pair of games against some tough non-conference opponents but sandwiched them with a 2-1 win at Pierce Park Pavilion against the Monroe Cheesemakers on Saturday.
The losses came against Janesville Bluebirds, a 9-0 loss in Janesville and an 8-2 loss against Onalaska/La Crosse at the Omni Center.
Scoring has continued to be a tough area for the Thunderbirds who picked up the win but scored just four goals in three games.
Seniors Gabe Fitzwilliams and Oliver Scanlan both scored a goal and added an assist with other goals added by sophomore Carson Zick and first-year Nathan Gneiser. Junior Peyton Sloan drew assists on two of the goals.
MONROE CHEESEMAKERS (1-11, Badger West)
The Cheesemakers dropped all three games played this season, running its current losing skid to eight games.
The first two were both Badger West matches, a 12-0 loss to the Crusaders at La Bahn Dec. 14 followed by another loss at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo against the host Thunderbirds on Saturday. Wrapping up the week was a 6-2 loss against Kenosha Thunder at SLICE on Tuesday (Dec. 21).
Cheesemakers scored three goals in the week. Junior Seth Brandt scored the lone goal in Baraboo from senior Josh Haight. Scoring details for the Onalaska game were not available at press time.