Mast brothers dominate Cheesemakers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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).

Schaetzl shines despite lopsided loss at home

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds wrapped up its Badger West against the toughest team, the Madison Edgewood Crusaders wrapping up a 7-0 shutout win on Thursday at Pierce Park Pavilion. 

The Crusaders clinched the first Badger West Conference championship with a lopsided win against the Monroe Cheesemakers Thursday (Jan. 3) then closed in on a perfect conference season with the win in Baraboo the following night. 

Despite the loss, Andrew Schaetzl earned star honors, stopping 40 shots and allowing just three on 25 shots through the final two periods.  

The Crusaders dominated the opening 17-minutes, scoring four unanswered goals with a 22-5 margin on the shot clock.  

It was more of the same through the final two, but Schaetzl kept it respectable as the Crusaders rolled to a 47-12 edge on the shot counter. 

The loss dropped the Thunderbirds to 4-18 in regular season play and wrapped up a 2-8 Badger Conference record, good enough for fifth place.  

Thunderbirds will play its final home game Tuesday against the Avalanche Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Pierce Park Pavilion, wrapping up its schedule on the road in Waupun two nights later. 

The Crusaders boosted its record to 9-0 and will look to close out a perfect first season in the Badger West at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Thursday night. 

Schaetzl backstops Tbirds to Badger West win

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

There’s one more game to go, but the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds clinched fifth place in the Badger West Conference with an 8-4 win at Monroe against the host Cheesemakers at Stateline Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) on Tuesday (Feb. 1). 

The win shows that a team plagued with injuries and illness through much of the season could be taking shape in time for what will be a tough post season run.  

Last time the new conference rivals met, the Thunderbirds claimed a 2-1 win at Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 18. The win at SLICE saw the Thunderbirds coming up with its best offensive total this season.  

Cheesemakers hit the scoreboard first and carried a 3-2 lead into the middle period. It was 4-2 7:50 from the end of the middle period, but it was all T-Birds after that.  

Four goals in the final 7:03 had the Baraboo/Portage squad up 6-4 and they added two more unanswered goals in the final period to put it away. 

Senior Gabe Fitzwilliams paced the Thunderbirds’ attack with two goals and two assists, sophomore Carson Zick adding two goals and an assist and senior Oliver Scanlan contributing a goal and two assists. 

Senior Zach Huffaker also scored a pair with the other Thunderbirds’ goal fired by junior Peyton Sloan. Sophomore Bodie Thompson and junior Monte Hartmann picked up assists.  

Both teams fired 12 shots in the opening period, Thunderbirds with a 15-9 edge in the middle frame and senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl stopped all 15 shots he faced to allow his team to pad its margin despite being outshot 15-10. Overall, Thunderbirds held a 37-36 edge in shots. 

The win boosted Thunderbirds to 4-18 and 2-7 in Badger West Conference play. Thunderbirds were scheduled to wrap up conference play Friday (Feb. 4) on home ice against the Badger West Conference leading Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

That will leave two games next week, the final home contest against the Avalanche at 7 p.m. Tuesday and its final game on the road in Waupun two days later, followed by playoffs which will get underway the following week. 

‘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.  

Nick Mast hatty enough to Eagles against T-Birds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles kept a long winning streak alive but got a strong push back from the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 25). 

The team’s hottest shooter of late, senior Nick Mast fired all three Eagles goals, the lone goal of the first period and two more in the middle period before Thunderbirds’ sophomore Carson Zick fired his team’s only goal late in the second period. 

Sauk junior Luke Mast collected a couple assists in the game with others for senior Erik Peterson and sophomore Steven Romaker.

Senior Oliver Scanlan and sophomore Dylann Carpenter picked up assists for the Thunderbirds.

T-Birds’ senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl stopped 29 of 32 shots he faced including all 16 thrown at him in the third period while Eagles’ junior goaltender Brooks McInerney picked up with the win with 10 stops. 

The Eagles’ extended its current winning streak to 11 games, dating back to Dec. 20 and boosted its overall record to 14-2 and its conference record to 5-2.  

The Eagles have five games remaining to play, beginning Tuesday (Feb. 1) when the RWD Cheavers, one of only two teams to defeat the Eagles this season, pay a visit to Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) at 7 p.m.  

Thunderbirds drop to 3-16 on the season so far and 1-7 in Badger West Conference play. The team will play a pair on the road, Thursday (Jan. 27 at McFarland) and Tuesday (Feb. 1) at SLICE in Monroe, before returning to the Pierce Park Pavilion to take on Madison Edgewood Feb. 4.  

Following those three games, the Thunderbirds will have two left on its regular season schedule. 

Big win for Cheavers’ seniors in RACA finale

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Just 48 hours after seeing its nine-game winning streak come to an end, the RWD varsity Cheavers started another with an 11-1 whipping of the visiting Monroe Cheavers on an emotional final night at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

The final night on the schedule saw senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kicking out 13 of 14 Monroe shots and laying claim to the prestigious ‘Team Tracy’ Tracy Jones Plaque (see related story) in a brief ceremony between the first and second periods. 

A 4-2 loss at La Bahn Ice Arena in Madison snapped a nine-game winning streak dating back to Dec. 14 but if there was a pity party, it sure wasn’t evident a RACA Thursday as the home team went to work with three goals in the final seven minutes of the opening period and never looked back.  

The Cheavers carried a 7-1 cushion into the final period and piled on another four down the stretch.  

The team’s leading scorer, senior Clayton Pfaff enjoyed another big offensive night with two goals and three assists while linemates; senior Trevor Slaght added four goals and junior Caden Brandt collected three assists.  

Senior Tomas Korndorfer fired his second hat trick in three games to pace, junior John Scott and sophomore Brady Baldwin both chipping in a goal and assist as the team’s primary two lines both continue to stay hot. 

The d-corps got involved as well, senior Grant Marsich, junior Logan De Mars and sophomore Iszak Elder each picking up an assist in the contest.  

The Cheavers held a 36-14 edge in shots.  

The win boosted the team’s overall record to 14-6 with four games yet to play. The team will hit the road for its next three, it’s final conference test at Sauk Prairie against the host Eagles Feb. 1, followed by the team’s second weekend trip to the northern part of the state this season, playing Hayward Hurricanes and Ashland Oredockers Feb. 4-5. 

The team will wrap up its regular season at Lake Delton Ice Arena honoring its seniors for a second time Feb. 8 against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

The team’s seniors were playing on home ice at RACA, the primary home base for the squad for the final time in regular season play. The team’s 14-6 record to date though should guarantee at least one more chance to play in RACA rink in the post season. 

Wiebusch hat trick paces Crusaders by Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team saw a nine-game winning streak come to an end but continued to show progress against a tough opponent despite falling 4-2 at La Bahn Ice Arena in Madison against the host Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

The Crusaders held a 1-0 lead after a period and carried a 4-1 margin into the third, but a goal for senior C.J. Pfaff 69 seconds into the final period kept the visiting Cheavers in the equation. 

That turned out to be the final goal as the host Crusaders, who limited the high-octane Cheavers’ offense to seven shots in both the first and second period, tightened the screws a big more down the stretch, allowing just four in the final 17 minutes. 

Meanwhile, the Crusaders who eliminated the Cheavers from Badger West contention with the win, peppered RWD senior goaltender Cooper Oakes with 35 shots. 

Senior JJ Wiebusch scored three for the Crusaders and senior Cody Menzel notched the other – both veterans of the prestigious Team Wisconsin Before and After program. 

Junior Caden Brandt fired the first RWD goal and grabbed an assist on the Pfaff goal, along with senior Trevor Slaght. 

The loss was the first for RWD since Dec. 14 at Oregon and dropped the team’s overall record to 13-6 on the season. More importantly, RWD fell to 5-3 in Badger West contests, snapping a string of three straight wins.  

The Cheavers head home for a Thursday (Jan. 20) contest against the Monroe Cheesemakers, its final home game at Reedsburg Area Community Arena and its penultimate Badger West contest.  

The Cheavers have just five games remaining on its schedule, hitting the road for three following the Thursday game before wrapping up the regular season at Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 8 against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

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. 

Eagles wrap up third straight shutout against T-Birds

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles and Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds returned from a brief holiday break to face each other at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Monday (Jan. 3) night. 

The Eagles collected a 9-0 win, its third straight goose egg to wrap up its first round of Badger West Conference play at 3-2, snapping two conference losses in a row.  

Teams played through seven minutes without a goal, but the Eagles wrapped up four in the final 10 minutes of the opening period and piled on three more in the middle frame before wrapping it up with two down the homestretch. 

Seniors Hakon Peterson and Micah Hanson and junior Luke Mast fired two goals apiece, Peterson adding two assists and Mast setting up one. Seniors Nick Mast and Erik Peterson both notched a goal and two assists, the other goal fired by junior Landon Clary. 

Luke Mast boosted his season points total to 46, fourth best in the state behind only the Oregon trio of Kyle Rohrer (57), Andrew Jicha (51) and Joe Roemer (47). He is also third in assist. Nick Mast’s goal was his 26th of the season, boosting him to second in state, tied with David Emerich of Waunakee and just two behind state leader, Jicha. 

The Eagles held a 44-8 edge in shots on goal. Junior Brooks McInerney picked up the shutout in goal and first year Burke Schweda was the busiest man on the ice, in goal for the Thunderbirds.  

The Thunderbirds returned home to Pierce Park Pavilion where it was scheduled to play host to the Black River Falls Tigers on Tuesday and the Eagles head straight into the second half of its Badger West Conference schedule with a trip to SLICE in Monroe to play the host Cheesemakers on Thursday night. 

T-Birds break into Badger West win column

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds snapped a five-game losing streak and broke into the Badger West win column with a 2-1 edge against the Monroe Cheesemakers at Pierce Park Pavilion on Saturday, Dec. 18. 

The game was the middle match of three, a pair of losses against tough non-conference opponents in Janesville and Onalaska. 

Preceding the win, on Dec. 16 was a 9-0 loss on the road against the Janesville Bluebirds and the Thunderbirds wrapped up the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule with an 8-2 loss at the Onalaska Omni Center against the host Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers. 

Cheesemakers 1 @ Thunderbirds 2  

Thunderbirds have endured a tough first half of the season due in a big way to injuries and illness creating a revolving door to the locker room. It’s been tough in Monroe as well for a team full of promise thanks to a state championship bantam squad last season, but still young and learning the varsity ropes.  

Senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzel made 29 stops to help the Thunderbirds collect the win despite a 30-22 edge in shots for the guests.  

That goal was the fourth of the season for Monroe junior Seth Brandt, the lone goal of the opening period and it stood up until the game’s final minutes.  

Senior Gabe Fitzwilliams hit the scoreboard for Thunderbirds with 3:59 to play with help from junior Peyton Sloan and sophomore Carson Zick put the home team in front for the first and only time 77 seconds from the final buzzer with assists for senior Oliver Scanlan and first-year Jordi Beale. 

Thunderbirds 0 @ Bluebirds 9  

The Bluebirds are off to a great start in the Big Eight Conference and collected in fifth win in six games on home ice against the Thunderbirds.  

The hosts all but clinched the win with six first period goals including three in 1:23 late in the frame. After a rough first period, Schaetzl was stingier in goal for Baraboo/Portage allowing just three the rest of the way.  

Thunderbirds 2 @ Hilltoppers 8  

Off to an uncharacteristic slow start that included losses in each of its first four games this season, the Hilltoppers are scratching their way back and the win against Thunderbirds was the second of three straight for the perennial Mississippi Valley Conference champ. 

Once again, the first period was tough for the visitors who fell behind 4-0 and the Hilltoppers struck back with three more in the second before the Thunderbirds scored its two goals 2:17 apart. 

Senior Oliver Scanlan scored the first, his fourth goal of the season from junior Landon Olson. The other goal came from first-year Nathan Gneiser with help from senior Gabe Fitzwilliams and junior Peyton Sloan. 

Senior Andrew Schaetzl and first-year Burke Schweda shared the work in goal for the Thunderbirds, combining on a 34-save effort. 

Thunderbirds hit the Christmas Break with a 2-7 overall record, 1-2 in Badger West Conference play.