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). 

Short staffed but game RWD squad in Onalaska

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Several players from the RWD varsity hockey team attended a two-day event at the Omni Center in Onalaska this past weekend and they certainly can’t complain about the ice time. 

With seven teams entered in the annual summer event, including split squads from both Black River Falls Tigers and the Avalanche (La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen) and other teams from Viroqua Blackhawks and the host Onalaska Hilltoppers along with the Cheavers. 

The schedule suited the Cheavers with three games on Friday against both Black River Falls teams along with Viroqua followed up on Saturday with back-to-back games against the Avs split squads and the finale against the Hilltoppers Saturday afternoon. 

WEHL tryouts and other commitments left the Cheavers with a small number of players Saturday, but the continued to outwork both Avalanche teams. Bolstered with a few Avs players for its final contest, the Cheavers wrapped up a 4-2 weekend with an intense high-octane match with a rivalry evident between two teams who have played some big games against each other in the past decade. 

Still months from opening the practice schedule, these summer events (including a get together in Baraboo and a weekend in Superior prior) are generally a chance for players to continue, renew or start the bonding process as they look forward to the 2022-23 WIAA season. 

There are always questions after graduations change the team every season. This season’s squad is impressive as it appears willing to work hard and play a physical and skilled game. Most impressive to this writer was the intensity level entering scrimmage matches, playing each of the 30-minute straight time sessions as if it was an important game.  

For anyone who misses the game and what it brings, the finale against Onalaska was a treat. Bolstered by some of the Avalanche players and the addition of junior Brady Baldwin just a short time after wrapping up play at the Legion baseball state championship in nearby Holmen, the Cheavers went toe to toe with the Hilltoppers in a game that entertained from the drop of the puck. 

Circle the Bobber’s 2022 Winter Classic over the Christmas Holidays on your calendars. The Cheavers and Hilltoppers are not scheduled to cross paths in the regular season but Onalaska will be in the Christmas tournament for the first time and if they meet up with RWD Dec. 28-30 it could be a game fans won’t want to miss. 

Caleb Eastman was one of the seniors taking part in the Onalaska tournament for RWD this past weekend
Coach Jeramy Greenwood chatted about the weekend between the team’s fifth and sixth games.

Hilltoppers dominate Lightning again at Pierce Park

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Onalaska Hilltoppers continued its domination of the Badger Lightning varsity hockey team with an 8-0 win at Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Feb. 8). 

The Hilltoppers also defeated the Lightning 7-0 at the Omni Center in Onalaska earlier this season and have won 14 in a row against the local squad dating back to 2012. 

The Lightning has turned in some solid efforts against teams that have had their number this season, including a recent game with the Cap City Cougars that went to overtime, but the Hilltoppers dominated the host team from the opening faceoff in this one.  

Sophomore Madchen Ewig took a turn in the blue paint with regualar goaltender Alyssa Gada unable to play. Ewig was easily the busiest player in this game as the Hilltoppers outshot the Lightning 45-15, including a massive 22-3 edge in the middle period when they turned a 2-0 cushion into a comfortable 6-0 margin.  

Senior Kiya Bronston enjoyed a two-goal, five-point game for the Hilltoppers and senior Lydia Walz also fired a pair. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 8-13 in regulation period and extended its current skid to four games. The Lightning will wrap up its regular season Friday playing host to the Medford Raiders at Pierce Park Pavilion. The Lightning played the Raiders twice at an event in Beaver Dam, Jan. 29 winning both. 

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. 

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. 

Understaffed Lightning falls to Onalaska Hilltoppers

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada turned in an awesome effort between the pipes, but it couldn’t help a short-staffed Badger Lightning team who got the post-Christmas Break portion of its varsity hockey schedule underway with a 7-0 loss on the road against the Onalaska Hilltoppers. 

The host Hilltoppers outshot the Lightning by a 50-11 margin and Gada turned in a 43-save performance in goal. 

The Hilltoppers fired the game winner 8:25 into the match and added another in the first period before piling on another three in the second and two more down the stretch.  

Senior Lydia Walz led the Hilltoppers’ attack scoring twice and setting up three others against a Lightning squad that included just a dozen skaters.  

The loss dropped the Lightning under .500 for the first time this season at 4-5 and they sit at 3-4 in Badger Conference play. The team will stay on the road with a game Thursday against the Medford Raiders (0-5, Independent). 

Next home game for the locals will be on Friday with a rematch against the Rock County Fury at Pierce Park Pavilion at 7 p.m.  

The Fury earned a 2-1 in their first Badger Conference match in Beloit Dec. 2. 

Cheavers-Red Raiders squaring off again in Monk’s final

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Another two goals for junior John Scott and the third shutout of the season for senior Cooper Oakes helped the RWD Cheavers reach the prime stage to defend its 2020 Monk’s Cheeseburger crown. 

A 3-0 win in its semi-final set up a date with the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Wednesday (Dec. 30) at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. 

The path to the final went through the Kenosha Thunder and while the game was not clinched until late, the Cheavers were in control the whole way, outshooting the Thunder by a 49-11 margin.  

Thunder junior goaltender Zach Mitchell was the busiest man in the barn, kicking out 46 shots but once again it was the trio of Scott, senior Tomas Korndorfer and sophomore Brady Baldwin who solved the goaltender. 

Scott fired both the game winner 7:43 into the opening period and the clincher, early in the third Korndorfer notching the middle goal, also in the first period and assisting on the final goal. Baldwin set up Korndorfer’s tally. 

After wearing out a path to the sin bin the previous night, the Cheavers produced a more disciplined effort against Kenosha as the two teams combined for six minutes of infractions, just one minor called against the locals. 

The win sets up the final against the Red Raiders, the same team RWD defeated for the burgers last season. 

Teams met in Rapids to open this season, the Red Raiders rallying back from an early 2-0 deficit to pull out a 3-2 edge. The Raiders outshot RWD 36-15 on that night and have brushed aside La Crescent-Hokah and Onalaska by a 17-5 margin in its first two games at the Monk’s tourney. 

Other Games  

The second game for the Red Raiders was a lopsided 7-1 win against Onalaska on Tuesday. They carried Lout of the opening period and added another before the Hilltoppers scored its only goal. 

Senior goaltender Dakota Blasky stopped 26 shots for the Red Raiders with two goal games for senior Carson Gunderson and junior Trevor Vilbaum. Gunderson also collected two assists.  

The game’s first game, saw La Crescent-Hokah Lancers picking up a 5-4 win in overtime against the McFarland Spartans and River Falls Wildcats bounced back from its opening game loss to RWD with a 7-1 win against Tomah/Sparta. 

Scott hat trick leads Cheavers past Wildcats

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Cheavers opened play at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic ready to defend its title and putting together what might have been its best 51-minutes of the season so far this season. 

Led by a junior John Scott who fired his first varsity hat trick and 22 stops on 23 shots for senior goaltender Cooper Oakes, the Cheavers got by the River Falls Wildcats, a team they had never faced before. 

RWD dominated the contest from start to finish, including a long stretch in the middle period played one or two skaters short. After a lackadaisical final five minutes of the second which allowed the Wildcats a chance to score its lone goal, the Cheavers responded with a renewed vigor in the final period, turning a 3-1 cushion into the 5-1 final. 

Juniors Caden and Carsen Brandt had the set ups on the game’s first goal, scoring by senior C.J. Pfaff and Scott fired the other two first period goals, the first on a feed from senior Tomas Korndorfer. 

The Cheavers re-established control with a 14-3 edge in shots through the final 17-, minutes and it paid off with goals from Scott and junior defenseman Logan DeMars.  

Korndorfer collected assists on both third period goals and sophomore Brady Baldwin, the third man on the line with Scott and Korndorfer, also picked up one. 

Other Scores  

The first day of the tournament began with Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders collecting a 10-4 win against the La Crescent-Hokah Lancers, an independent Minnesota team. 

Sophomore Carson Gause led the Raiders with four goals and two assists, first year Pagel Jax scored a pair. 

In the second game, Noah Clemment turned aside all 29 shots he faced and junior Gavin Schuster scored four to lead the Onalaska Hilltoppers to a 6-0 shutout against the McFarland Spartans.  

The third game was the closest of the day, the Kenosha Thunder holding off a late rally by Tomah/Sparta for a 2-1 edge. First-year goaltender Mark Michelson stopped 33 of 34 to lead his team to the win despite a massive 34-12 edge in shots for Tomah/Sparta who didn’t find a way past him until late in the final period. 

Monk’s Culver’s and Mullet Cup tournaments

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

RWD, Baraboo/Portage and Sauk Prairie varsity teams will all hit the tournament trail this week, seeing some different teams and getting a break from their respective conference schedules. 

RWD Cheavers will once again host the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic. The 12th version of the tournament will see it once again as an eight-team event after being trimmed to four last season. 

The tournament has been an important launching pad for the Cheavers in past seasons. They won the first tournament and rolled from that to a state championship berth. In 2014-15, a team much like this season’s Cheavers carried a 4-3-1 record into the Monk’s tournament and turned three wins to win the title into an 18-game unbeaten streak that didn’t end until the State championship quarterfinals. 

The Cheavers will begin its latest version of the tournament in the final game of the day on Dec. 28 against the River Falls Wildcats at 7:30 p.m.  

Meanwhile the Sauk Prairie Eagles will begin play at the annual Culver’s Cup, playing out of Hartmeyer Ice Arena and Madison Ice Arena.  

The Eagles will begin at 2:45 p.m. against the Oshkosh Ice Hawks. 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will begin the following day at a tournament in Hartland. 

Here is a little information on the local tournament and the other ones as well.  

Monks’s Cheeseburger Classic  

Lake Delton Ice Arena

Tuesday, Dec. 28  

Game 1 — 12 p.m. — Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders (5-3, 2-2 Wisconsin Valley) vs. La Crescent-Hokah Lancers 4-2, Minnesota Independent) 

Game 2 — 2:30 p.m. — McFarland Spartans (4-5, 3-2 Badger East) vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers (3-4, 1-1 Mississippi Valley) 

Game 3 — 5 p.m. — Tomah Sparta (3-5, 1-0 Mississippi Valley) vs. Kenosha Thunder (4-2, 0-1 Classic Eight) 

Game 4 — 7:30 p.m. — RWD Cheavers (6-5, 3-2 Badger West) vs. River Falls Wildcats  (3-5, 0-4 Big Rivers)

Wednesday, Dec. 29 

Game 5 – 12 p.m. – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 

Game 6 – 2:30 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2  

Game 7 – 5 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 

Game 8 – 7:30 p.m. — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 

Thursday, Dec. 30 

Game 9 – 10 a.m. — Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 

Game 10 – 12:30 p.m. — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7 

Game 11 – 3 p.m. — Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 

Game 12 – 5:30 p.m. — Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8 

Culver’s Cup – Varsity Boys Division  

Tuesday Dec. 28 – Quarterfinals  

Game 1 – 2:45 p.m. — Sauk Prairie Eagles (6-2, 2-2 Badger West) vs. Oshkosh Ice Hawks (3-4, 2-1 Badgerland) — MIA 

Game 2 – 7:45 p.m. — Madison West Regents (3-7, 3-4 Big Eight) vs. Marshfield Tigers (6-3-1, 2-1 Wisconsin Valley) — MIA  

Game 3 – 5:15 p.m. — Marquette Hilltoppers (6-1, 1-0 Classic Eight) vs. Madison Memorial Spartans (4-6, 3-3 Big Eight) — MIA 

Game 4 – 7:45 p.m. — Ashland Oredockers (4-5, Independent) vs. Monona Grove Silver Eagles (3-5, 2-3 Badger East) — Hartmeyer 

Wednesday Dec. 29 – Semi Finals 

Game 5 – 12:15 p.m. — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – MIA 

Game 6 – 2:45 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – MIA 

Game 7 – 5:15 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – MIA 

Game 8 – 7:45 p.m. — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – MIA 

Thursday, Dec. 30 – Finals  

7th Place Game – 4:45 p.m. — Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 – Hartmeyer 

5th Place Game – 4:45 p.m. — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7 – MIA 

3rd Place Game – 7:15 p.m. — Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 – Hartmeyer  

Championship Game – 7:15 p.m. — Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8 – MIA 

Mullet Cup  

Howard G. Mullet Ice Center – Hartland, WI 

There will be four teams in this two-day event.  

On Dec. 29, the first game will pit the Homestead Highlanders (5-5, 0-0 North Shore) against the Sheboygan Red Raiders (3-9, 0-3 Fox River) at 4:45 p.m. followed by the Baraboo-Portage Thunderbirds (2-7, 1-2 Badger West) against the Arrowhead Warhawks (6-2, 0-0 Classic Eight). 

Game times and match ups for the Consolation and Championship game on Dec. 30 are still TBA as of press time.  

Badger Lightning 

The Lightning will not be in a tournament this season, but locals get a look at them at Pierce Park Pavilion on Wednesday at 5 p.m. when they play host to the Northern Pines Eagles at Pierce Park Pavilion wrapping up a three-game homestand.