Eagles’ late rally falls just short in Middleton

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Eagles made things interesting with a solid third period but ultimately fell short Saturday, doubled by the host Middleton Cardinals at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena. 

The host Cards held a solid advantage through the first 34 minutes, outshooting its guest 40-22 and building a 3-0 lead despite some nice work between the pipes from Eagles’ senior Kaden Stracke.  

The Eagles flipped the script in the final period, outshooting the Cards 17-14 down the stretch and getting two goals in 78 seconds to get within one late in the contest. 

Junior Brady Engelkes fired the lone goal of the opening period for the home side with second period goals coming from junior Cam Semrad and senior Hayden WiLmmer.  

Landon Froese likely won’t forget the first goal of his varsity career, the freshman converting a feed from junior Colin Harrington and senior Luke Mast with 3:05 to play.  

Sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner pulled the Eagles within one, from senior Landon Cleary made the game much more interesting, but Middleton senior Drew Sjowall put it away with his empty netter 46 seconds after the Nachreiner tally. 

Stracke stopped 50 of 53 shots for the Eagles with one shot into an empty cage. At the other end, senior Cam Haynes handled 37 of 39 in a wide open contest.

The Eagles fell to 1-1 with the tough loss while the Cardinals look strong out of the game, defeating powerhouse teams Waunakee Warriors and Onalaska Hilltoppers by a combined score of 19-2 before taking on the Eagles who will open its Badger West Conference season against the 1-0-0 Oregon Panthers Tuesday in its home opener at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). 

Mast collects four points to lead Eagles past Avs

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Sauk Prairie Eagles senior Luke Mast scored the first three and set up the other, leading his squad to a 4-2 edge at the Onalaski Omni against the La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche in the WIAA season opener for both on Tuesday night.


The Eagles never trailed, but were helped by senior goaltender Kaden Stracke who collected the win despite a 25-20 edge in shots for the hosts.
Mast opened the scoring, converting a feed from junior Colin Harrington 4:58 into the contest but the lead lasted just over two minutes before Avs freshman Ayden Dirks collected his first varsity goal to tie it up.


An unassisted goal by Mast 86 seconds later gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead at the break and he added an insurance tally in the opening minute of the middle period from Harrington and sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner.
Mast played set up man along with junior Garret Mittelsteadt later in the period.
Jack Barth, another Avs Freshman scored the lone third period goal 2:55 from the final buzzer.


The win is the fifth straight and the eighth in nine meetings for the Eagles against the Avs.
The Eagles will stay on the road for its second game, Saturday, but its just down Highway 12 at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena against the host Middleton Cardinals in a 7:45 p.m. start.
The Eagles’ first home game will also be the team’s first Badger West Conference game as the Oregon Panthers pay a visit on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Sauk County varsity teams rolling into season

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Here we go! 

The highly anticipated 2022-23 varsity High School hockey season is just days away from facing off.  

For the Sauk County teams – RWD Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and Sauk Prairie Eagles in the Badger West Conference and the Badger Lightning varsity team from the Badger Conference, weeks of captain’s practices turned into actual practices in recent days with the regular season kicking off as early as Saturday. 

The Lightning, looking to make a jump into the middle or upper tiers of the Badger Conference this season, will be first out of the gate, entertaining the Arrowhead Warhawks on Saturday.  

In terms of personnel, this is probably the biggest Lightning team in a decade or more. Two seasons ago, the team fielded exactly two lines, hoping the COVID epidemic or any other illness or injury wouldn’t affect its team that had to have every player available. 

Two seasons later, the Lightning has grown to a full 27-player roster which means junior varsity games will be included on the schedule. 

After finishing last season with a 9-13 record last season, the Lightning has its eyes on .500 or better this time around and will get an interesting test out of the gate against a Warhawks team it hasn’t faced off against in a while. 

First Badger Conference match will be Saturday Dec. 3 against the Icebergs at Mandt Community Center in Stoughton and first home league game will be Dec. 9 against the Rock County Fury from Janesville/Beloit. 

Among the leaders for the Lightning this season is an awesome group of seniors including Kayla Capener who garnered all-state recognition last season, Bella Bowden, one of the fastest skaters around looking for a bounce back after injuries and adversity kept her out of the lineup much of last season and Mallory Ruhland, a gifted goal scorer who travels all the way from Elroy to suit up.  

In goal, the Lightning has junior Alyssa Gada who has already shown herself to be one of the best keepers in the conference. With improvements all around likely limiting the shots she will face, watch for Gada to have a huge campaign. 

Sauk Prairie Eagles – of the local varsity teams, the Eagles went the furthest last season, falling in Sectional semi-finals against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders in Sectional semifinals. 

Several graduations affect the team both on offense and defense, but there are some key players returning as well, including Luke Mast who finished among the state leaders last season with 27 goals and 69 points. In three years on the varsity team, Mast has racked up 53 goals and 128 points. 

The team has plenty of experience at the most important position as well, seniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney both veterans of the high school game in goal. 

Other seniors include Cole Scallon and Landon Clary, and Head Coach David Lohrei has done an amazing job in his seasons with the team and is able to provide a game plan based on whatever strengths the team has. 

The Eagles will open the regular season with a pair of road games, in Onalaska to play the Avalanche Tuesday (Nov. 22) and at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena to face Middleton on Nov. 26. 

First home game will also be the team’s first Badger West Conference game, taking on the Oregon Panthers Nov. 29. 

RWD Cheavers – The Cheavers look solid at all positions despite graduating a goaltender who started nearly every game for the team in all four seasons he attended RAHS. 

Cooper Oakes has established every record of note for Cheavers goaltenders, but junior Alex Griebe put up some amazing numbers as a junior varsity keeper last season and Head Coach Neil Mattson is confident, he can be relied on to take the team to the next level.  

The Cheavers graduated a small but amazing group of seniors last season but led by the Brandt bothers, forward Caden and defenseman Carsen, the team looks solid both up front and on the blue line.  

Caden has scored 58 goals and collected 91 points through his first three campaigns and could be among the state scoring leaders this time around. Carsen showed his physical and mental toughness last year when he decided to put off shoulder surgery and played through some excruciating pain in the late season games. He enters this season healthy and ready to go. 

John Scott is coming off not only his best season with the Cheavers, scoring 14 goals, but also an awesome season as a running back for WDHS football which has college scouts from two different sports knocking on his door. 

Other key contributors among the seniors are hardnosed forwards Caleb Eastman, Yevgeny Dedun and Conner Putz along with defenders Nate Stando and Logan DeMars, both regulars on the blue line along with Carsen Brandt last season.  

RWD will have to hit the ground running with a tough opening to the regular season, including its annual duel against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders, opening the season at RACA on Tuesday, followed up by a return visit to the four-team tournament in Somerset on Friday/Saturday. 

RWD will open against the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday.  

Following that, the Cheavers will head into a stretch of five straight Badger West Conference contests, taking it immediately to the halfway mark of the conference season. 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds – Thunderbirds had its struggles last season with illness, injury and adversity playing a key part.  

Positive reinforcement from Head Coach David Clark and great leadership from forwards Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams and goaltender Andrew Schaetzl kept the team in a lot of games. 

Clark has moved away from Baraboo, but Tony Bluske who has been with the team for several seasons and knows the players well, will be a perfect fit as the new mentor. 

Like Griebe with RWD, Burke Schweda showed his potential in both junior varsity and varsity games last season, and he will give the team stability in the blue paint this year and into the future. Brother Luke Schweda, a hard working forward with a nose for the net will be among the senior leaders as well as others. 

The Thunderbirds will kick off the regular season on the road, taking on Monona Grove Silver Eagles Tuesday and will play its first three games on the road, including a tough conference opener against defending champion Madison Edgewood on Nov. 28. 

First home game for the Baraboo/Portage fans will be the first of three straight at home Nov. 29 against Tomah/Sparta. 

Cheavers, Tbirds and Eagles together in WIAA draw

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

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. 

Eagles down Cardinals 3-2 at SPARC

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie varsity Eagles hockey team bounced back from a tough loss at home to the RWD Cheavers with an impressive 3-2 win against the visiting Middleton Cardinals Thursday (Feb. 3). 

Sophomore Colin Harrington scored his second goal in two games, taking a pass from junior Luke Mast for the only goal of the first period. That lead stood up until teams combined for three goals in the final 82 seconds of the final period.  

An unassisted tally for senior Nick Mast doubled the Eagles margin but the Cardinals finally hit the board with 24 seconds to play in the middle frame, sophomore Brady Engelkes burying the only shot of 15 in the first two periods to get by junior Kaden Stracke in the Eagles’ net. 

Luke Mast restored the two-goal margin 12 seconds later from Nick Mast and senior Erik Peterson.  

The lone third period goal was another from Engelkes, his 28th of the season.  

With his goal, Nick Mast has 38, tying him with Oregon’s Kyle Rohrer as the third highest scorer in the WIAA. Luke Mast sits 10th in state in assists with 36. 

The win boosted the Eagles’ regular season record to 15-3 with three games to play. 

Eagles will make the trip to Monroe’s Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) to play the Cheesemakers in Badger West Conference action on Monday (Feb. 7). The following night, the Eagles will return to SPARC where it will close out the regular season against Tomah and then two nights later, the Madison Edgewood Crusaders. 

‘Coop’ comes up big for Cheavers in Sauk

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

RWD varsity goaltender Cooper Oakes rose to the occasion in a big way at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) Friday night to lift the RWD squad to a 3-2 win against the host Sauk Prairie Eagles Tuesday (Feb. 1) night. 

Despite a 35-19 edge in shots in the contest, Oakes kept his crease clean for the most part. 

Out of the gate, the Eagles owned a 15-5 edge in shots through the first period but counted just one goal as sophomore Colin Harrington notched his first varsity goal, from senior twice Hakon and Erik Peterson 2:21 from the end of the opening period. 

The Eagles carried the lead into the second period, but the Cheavers found a way past junior Kaden Stracke in goal for the Eagles twice, grabbing a lead and holding it to the final buzzer. 

Junior Caden Brandt converted a Trevor Slaght feed for his 18th goal of the season to pull the Cheavers even 4:07 into the middle frame and junior John Scott notched his 12th late in the period from senior linemate Tomas Korndorfer. 

Both teams fired nine shots through the middle 17 minutes, but the Eagles dominated the shot clock again down the stretch with an 11-5 margin in the third.  

But it was the Cheavers on the board first in the frame with an all-senior effort, Slaght pulling the trigger on the game winner from CJ Pfaff and Grant Marsich 2:11 into the frame.  

Erik Peterson responded for the Eagles 6:55 in, but Oakes allowed nothing else past through the final 10 minutes to secure the win. 

All three Cheavers’ goals were scored at even strength and both Eagles’ markers came on powerplays. 

While the Cheavers celebrated an emotional win against one of its biggest rivals, also cheering was the Madison Edgewood Crusaders who are all but assured the Badger West Conference crown as both the Eagles and Cheavers have three losses while the Crusaders are undefeated through seven conference games.  

The Eagles saw an 11-game winning streak ended with the loss, its first since Dec. 17. 

The Cheavers boosted its overall record 15-6 and became the first team to wrap up its Badger West Conference schedule with a 7-3 mark. After seeing a long winning streak of its own ended Jan. 18, the team has shrugged it off with two wins since and is 11-1 since Dec. 17.  

RWD will head north for a pair of games this weekend against the Hayward Hurricanes (8-10-1, 4-3-1 Middle Border Conference) Friday night and the Ashland Oredockers (8-11, Independent) on Saturday, wrapping up its regular season Tuesday at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Janesville Bluebirds (12-7-0, 8-4 Big Eight Conference). 

The Eagles sit at 14-3 on the season and 5-3 in Badger West Conference matches. The team has four games yet to play, three on home ice, beginning Thursday (Feb. 3) at home against the Middleton Cardinals (15-6-0, 9-5 Big Eight Conference). 

The lone road trip will be Monday (Feb. 7) when the Eagles travel to Monroe to play a Badger West Conference match against the Cheesemakers (2-17-0, 0-7 Badger West), then return home to play Tomah/Sparta (6-13-2, 1-3 Mississippi Valley Conference) Tuesday (Feb. 8) and the Madison Edgewood Crusaders (16-3-0, 7-0 Badger West Conference) two nights later.  

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. 

Peewee Cheavers win two of three weekend tests

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers started a busy weekend taking a 10-0 knock from the Verona ‘A’ Peewees Saturday (Dec. 4) morning, but things improved the rest of the way.  

On the way home, the Cheavers stopped at Hartmeyer Ice Arena in Madison Saturday afternoon and bested the Patriots 3-1.  

On Sunday, the Cheavers played on home ice at RACA, collecting a 10-1 win against the Monroe Avalanche. 

In the opener at Verona, goaltender Jesse Arnold was the busiest player in the game, facing 50 Verona Wildcats shots and turning away 40. The home team carried a 3-0 lead out of the opening period and widened it to 7-0 heading to the third. 

At Hartmeyer, the Cheavers hit the scoreboard first, Ethan Wilcox hitting the mesh after taking a feed from Landen Uminski, but a last-minute goal had the host Patriots even by the end of the first period.  

Tyler Krieski buried the game winner unassisted and Dayne Wagner added insurance with help from Wilcox later in the middle period.  

Arnold made it stand up, stopping all but one of the 28 shots he faced and helping the Cheavers to the win despite being outshot 28-23. 

The following day against the Avs, the local peewee squad picked up a big win against a regional opponent, carrying a 3-0 lead out of the opening period and building it to 8-1 in the second before wrapping up with two more unanswered in the final frame. 

Krieski, Evelyn Gurney and Noah Backeberg scored twice each for RWD and Krieski also added a pair of assists. Andrew Stando, Wilcox and Teaghan Geffert each added a goal and assist, and Uminski set up a pair. Wagner fired the other RWD goal and Ethan Pope collected an assist. The Cheavers held a 35-9 edge in shots in the contest.  

The loss on Saturday stopped a five-game Cheavers’ winning streak, but the team has now won seven of its last eight and heads into play this weekend sporting a 7-6-1 record.  

On Saturday, the peewee Cheavers will play the Middleton ‘A’ Cardinals peewees at 5:15 p.m. at RACA, returning Sunday at 8:30 a.m. to play the Oregon ‘A’ Panthers peewees. Wrapping up the weekend, the locals will move to Lake Delton Ice Arena to play Waunakee Wildcats at 2 p.m. 

Badger West this Week

Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

BADGER WEST THIS WEEK 

The Badger West Division is now one week old in WIAA Hockey play and preparing for its first week of head-to-head conference matches. 

Facing tough opposition could have played a part in the division opening the season with a 7-7 record so far and the only undefeated team of the half-dozen is the Sauk Prairie Eagles who scored 15 goals in its first two contests, both wins. 

Oregon Panthers picked up with three games in three days at a holiday event in Sheboygan, winning the first two by lopsided scores.  

Madison Edgewood Crusaders also opened at a weekend event in Verona, grabbing a split in two games played.  The Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells (RWD) Cheavers dropped an opener in Wisconsin Rapids before splitting a pair at a weekend tournament in Somerset.  

The Monroe Cheesemakers got an early start, dropping a pair before grabbing its first win against Beloit Memorial and the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds opened its regular season Saturday with a loss against Middleton Cardinals on home ice.  

SAUK PRAIRIE EAGLES (2-0-0) 

After opening on home ice Tuesday (Nov. 23) with a 7-5 win against the always tough Onalaska Hilltoppers, the Eagles were equally as impressive in its first road test, taking an 8-2 win at Madison Ice Arena (MIA) against the host Madison West Regents.  

The Mast brothers, senior Nick (5g, 3a) and junior Luke (2g, 5a) have led the way offensively and Hakon Peterson is close behind with five points (2g, 3a).  

OREGON PANTHERS (2-1-0) 

The Panthers held off its start to the season until Friday, but then played three games in three days, beginning with a 7-2 win against the Brookfield Stars and a 10-0 whitewash against the Whitefish Bay Storm. The Ashwaubenon Jaguars ended the streak on Sunday with an 8-5 win against the Panthers.  

With 22 goals in its first three games, the Panthers enter conference play as a team that can score consistently. 

Leading the charge is junior Kyle Rohrer who slides into a share of the state scoring lead with his 18 points (6g, 12a) and sophomore Andrew Jicha (10g, 7a) is just one point behind. Joe Roemer (2g, 10a) has also been a steady contributor. 

Junior Josh Kean has been in the blue paint for all three games and stopped 68 of 77 shots so far. 

MADISON EDGEWOOD CRUSADERS (1-1-0) 

The Crusaders also waited until the weekend to get the season underway. It doesn’t get any tougher than facing the defending state champ in the opener as the Crusaders dropped a 7-2 decision against the Hudson Raiders Friday but rallying back with a 5-1 win against the Chippewa Falls Cardinals on Saturday. 

Senior JJ Wiebusch has been in on five of his team’s seven goals (3g, 2a) so far and Cody Menzel has four points (2g, 2a) while senior Aidan Lenz has collected three (1g, 2a). 

RWD CHEAVERS (1-2-0) 

Entering the season at Wisconsin Rapids Tuesday night, the Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston squad held a 2-0 lead early, but the Red Raiders who held a wide margin in shots finally pulled back with the game winner in a 3-2 win coming late in the contest.  

From there, the Cheavers moved on to a weekend event in Somerset, dropping its opener 2-1 against the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday before finally breaking into the win column with a 5-3 margin against the host Somerset Spartans on Saturday. 

Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes has been a key factor, turning aside 122 shots in three games and posting a Save Percentage of .938 out of the gate.  

Offensively, junior Caden Brandt has collected six points (1g, 5a) and Brady Baldwin has picked up four (3g, 1a) while senior CJ Pfaff has been consistent with a point in all three games (1g, 2a). 

MONROE CHEESEMAKERS (1-2-0) 

Compared to the other teams in the Badger West, the Cheesemakers got off to a quick start, dropping a 4-2 decision to Whitefish Bay Storm on Nov. 19 and falling 8-3 against the Middleton Cardinals on Tuesday before finally breaking into the win column with a 4-2 doubling of the Beloit Memorial Purple Knights. 

All three games were played on the road and the Cheesemakers have one more road test before finally playing on home ice.  

Senior Blaze Janecke has been a bright spot in the lineup for the Cheesemakers in on six (5g, 1a) of the team’s nine goals and sophomore goaltender Kyle Theorin backstopped the win, stopping all but two of the 42 shots he faced in Beloit. 

BARABOO/PORTAGE THUNDERBIRDS (0-1)

Thunderbirds were the final Badger West team to hit the ice, dropping a 7-0 shutout against the Middleton Cardinals Saturday night at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.  

Senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl was the busiest man in the game facing 46 shots and stopping 39. 

Conference matches ahead 

All six teams will enter the Badger West Conference fray this week, but a few teams will have another test along the way.  

On Tuesday night, the RWD Cheavers will entertain the Onalaska Hilltoppers while the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds travel to Tomah/Sparta.  

The Cheesemakers will be at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) for its fourth straight road test Thursday night and the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will face its first conference test at Oregon Ice Arena against the host Panthers.  

On Friday, the final two teams will match up as the Madison Edgewood Crusaders will make the trip to Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the host Cheavers. Also Friday, the Panthers will play host to the McFarland Spartans in a non-conference match.  

The week will wrap up with a pair of non-conference battles as Monroe Cheesemakers finally play in front of friendly fans at State Line Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) against the KMMO (Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc) hockey club while the Madison Edgewood Crusaders travel across town to Hartmeyer Ice Arena to tangle with the Madison Memorial Spartans. 

Tough opener for Thunderbirds against Cards

Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds got its WIAA season underway Saturday against a tough opponent, dropping a 7-0 decision against the Middleton Cardinals from the Big Eight Conference at Pierce Park Pavilion. 

In the first regular season meeting since 2015, the Cards outshot its host 46-14, rolling to a 3-0 first period cushion and adding two more unanswered goals in both the second and third periods.  

A deep Cardinals team got three goals from senior Brendan Julius and a pair from freshman Brady Engelkes with singles from Ryan Inman and Hayden Wimmer. 

Busiest player in the game was Thunderbirds’ senior goaltender, Andrew Schaetzl who kicked out 39 shots in the contest. 

The Thunderbirds will have one more tune-up before heading to conference battles as they travel to Sparta Ice Arena to play Tomah/Sparta Tuesday before heading to Oregon to play the Panthers in their first Badger West Conference test two nights later.  

Next home game for the Thunderbirds will be on Monday (Dec. 6) when the Madison LaFollette/East Lakers pay a visit to Pierce Park Pavilion.