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.

Brandt fires three to lead RWD past Red Raiders in opener

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Three goals from senior captain Caden Brandt and 26 stops for sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe led the RWD Cheavers to a 4-1 win at Reedsburg Arena Community Arena (RACA) in its 2022-23 WIAA season opener against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Tuesday night.


The Red Raiders are frequently among the first competitors for the Cheavers and the win Tuesday avenged a season opening loss in Wisconsin Rapids last season.


While Brandt found the mesh for three of the four RWD goals, the team showed off three solid lines and appeared to be in control for much of the contest, although shots on goal show the visitors with a 27-17 overall margin.
Czech exchange student Lukas Vana made his presence felt in his first WIAA contest. A defenseman, he showed off a strong 200-foot game and he stepped up from the blueline to collect his first varsity goal, the game winner, giving the Cheaves a 2-1 cushion in the final minute of the opening period.
Brandt notched the first of the game on a feed from twin brother Carsen Brandt 9:38 into the contest but Carter Morrison evened it up just 45 seconds later on a powerplay, unassisted.


Brandt scored the other two goals, 1:50 apart in the second period. The first had set ups from Vana and Logan DeMars and the other was a solo effort, sniped from about 30 feet out.
Griebe made the lead stand up, blocking all 16 shots in the final two periods to help the Cheavers collect the win.
Like last season, the Ducks will head to Somerset for the post-Thanksgiving weekend to compete a four-team event.
First up will be last season’s tournament champion Eau Claire North Huskies from the Big Rivers Conference on Friday with a 2 p.m. faceoff and the Cheavers will wrap it up Saturday against either Somerset Spartans from the Middle Border Conference or Antigo Red Robins from the Great Northern Confernce.
The Cheavers will follow that up with five straight Badger West Conference matches, beginning on the road in Oregon Dec. 2 against the Panthers with the next home game at RACA Dec. 6 against the Sauk Prairie Eagles.

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. 

Eagles wrap up great run in a super conference

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Jimmy D’s Notes

With two teams still competing from the Badger West Conference, it confirms the division’s status as one of the best in the state this season. It was a wild season with four teams boasting stellar lineups with key players in their final season of varsity play 

Hockey is no different from any other varsity sport where seniors play a big role as leaders, but there is seldom a season with so many top-notch seniors playing in the same conference.  

The last Sauk County based team, the Sauk Prairie Eagles had seven seniors in their lineup including top line forwards Nick Mast and Erik Peterson who both spend off season time with Team Wisconsin along with Micah Hanson, a top six forward and regular contributor who wrapped up a great final season before moving on to his primary sport in the fall as a division 1 lacrosse player. Defensively the team relied heavily on Hakon Peterson who did double duty, protecting his own end while contributing 13 goals to the offense as well. Porter Kreul showed leadership in a supporting and set up role. Forward Brody Wolfe and utility player Brandon Mittelsteadt were both limited in games played this season but made their presence felt whenever they were able to play. 

Past Performance and the talent level of the incoming seniors and juniors made the Sauk Prairie Eagles a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, they came along in a season and in a conference filled with talent. The RWD Cheavers had a ton of senior talent as well while the Edgewood Crusaders are among the Division 1 Final Four while the Oregon Panthers will play in their division 2 Sectional final on Saturday. This was an amazing year for all four teams and the Badger West Conference overall. 

The Eagles finished this season with a 19-5 record overall. All five of their defeats came against Badger West opponents – three against the Crusaders and twice against the Cheavers. Also, this was the third straight season the Eagles were eliminated in the Sectional semis. The first two were both against the Verona Wildcats who both times reached the State Championship game, winning in 2019-20 and finishing as runner up last season. Ironically, the Madison Edgewood Crusaders were Verona’s victim in the Sectional Championship game on both occasions. 

Mast’s third lifts Eagles past Panthers 6-5

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

By Jim den Hollander  

The Sauk Prairie Eagles collected a needed 6-5 win on the road in Oregon to keep its hopes of at least a share of the Badger West Conference alive on Thursday (Jan. 20). 

The back-and-forth contest saw the Eagles scoring first and up 2-1 against the Panthers after a period. Teams traded goals in the first half of the middle period but three goals in 2:59 had the host Panthers up 5-3 2:31 from the end of the middle stanza. 

The Eagles responded with two goals 23 seconds apart from seniors Micah Hanson and Nick Mast pulling the Eagles even in the final minute of the period. 

The lone final period goal was the game winner and third of the game for Nick Mast, scored unassisted 4:26 from the final whistle.  

Hanson also fired three goals, Mast adding a couple assists. Senior Hakon Peterson had two assists with twin brother Erik adding one and junior Luke Mast also picked up a helper.  

For the Panthers, junior Kyle Rohrer scored three goals and set up another to strengthen his state-leading points total to 85 while sophomore Andrew Jicha added two goals and two assists to stay second in state with 75 points. Jicha also leads the state in goals with 45. 

Nick Mast is seventh in points with 55 and Luke Mast rounds out the top 10 with 52. 

The Eagles held the edge in shots 33-29 and junior goaltender Kaden Stracke picked up the win in goal.  

The win was the 10th consecutive ‘W’ for the Eagles who improve its season record to 13-2 and its Badger West Conference record to 4-2. The Eagles have six games remaining on its schedule including the final game of the season against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Feb. 10. The Crusaders have yet to lose a conference match so the Eagles would need one other conference rival to step up before that finale to keep its hopes of a conference title alive. 

Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Baraboo’s Pierce Park Pavilion to play the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds on Tuesday (Jan. 25). 

Nick Mast scores first four against Cardinals

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles hit the road, making the short trip to Sun Prairie and extended its winning streak with a 7-2 win against the host Cardinals. 

The Eagles opened a comfort zone with three unanswered goals in both the first and second periods at Sun Prairie Ice Arena, then added another in the third before the Cards gained some satisfaction, denying junior Kaden Stracke the shutout with two goals in the game’s final six minutes. 

Eagles’ senior has had some big games this season, but this might be the biggest as he collected a natural hat trick with all three first period goals, then added his fourth early in the second on his way to a four goal, one assist game. 

Linemates, senior Erik Peterson and junior Luke Mast both added a goal and two assists the other Eagles’ goal scored by senior Micah Hanson.  

Junior Ethan Tranel and senior Hakon Peterson picked up assists as well.  

Seniors Will Brinkmeier and Davis Hamilton counted the Cardinal goals.  

Stracke’s role was big in this game as the Eagles held a slim 39-34 edge in shots including a 15-13 edge for the Cards in the final frame. 

The Eagles’ will put its nine-game winning streak on the line in a key Badger West Conference battle at Oregon on Thursday (Jan. 20) and the road stretch continues at Baraboo on Tuesday (Jan. 25). Next home game for the Eagles will be on Feb. 1 when the RWD Cheavers pay a visit. 

The Eagles climb to 12-2 overall and they are 3-2 in Badger West Conference matches. The team has seven games remaining to play, five of them conference tilts. 

Cheavers continue streak at home against Panthers

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team showed the grit and poise shown at the recent Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic was not temporary, putting together its best 51-minute effort of the season so far in a thrilling 4-2 Badger West Conference win against the Oregon Panthers Thursday night at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA). 

The Cheavers never trailed but didn’t have the game fully under control until an empty netter from Trevor Slaght with 27 seconds to play. 

The win extends the team’s current winning streak to seven games dating back to the team’s previous meeting with the Panthers, a 5-1 loss on Dec. 15.  

The team honored its seniors and their parents between the warm-up and pre-game flood.

All three forward lines and defense pairs along with senior goaltender Cooper Oakes played to expectations and Head Coach Neil Mattson showed he was not afraid to put anybody on the ice in high pressure situations. And, considering the Panthers entered the game with the state’s top three points leaders and are currently ranked second in state among Division 2 teams, that is a pretty darn high level of pressure. 

RWD hit the scoreboard first, senior Tomas Korndorfer hitting the mesh from a tough angle 7:29 into the contest and sophomore Brady Baldwin buried a pass from Korndorfer to give the host Cheavers a 2-0 cushion at the first period break.  

Andrew Jicha fired his state-leading 28th goal of the season for the Panthers early in the second period and a penalty called in the final minute of the frame gave the visitors reason for optimism at the break. 

Senior C.J. Pfaff turned the tables though, intercepting a pass and heading the other way alone, making several moves before depositing the puck into the Oregon cage for a shorthanded goal 31 seconds into the final period.  

The only issue the team struggled with was some tough penalty calls in the second half. After the Panthers were assessed the first four infractions of the game, the Cheavers had the finger pointed at them five consecutive times from the 11:33 mark of the second to the 12:01 mark of the third. 

Successful at killing off the first four, the Panthers finally found a way through as senior Joe Roemer buried one bar down from about 40 feet out with 3:42 to play. 

That set the stage for Slaght’s clincher with assists for Pfaff and sophomore Trey Lariden. 

Overall, the Cheavers held a 35-27 edge in shots. 

The win boosted the team’s overall record to 11-5 and more importantly, boosted its Badger West Conference record to 4-2, keeping league title hopes alive. 

The Panthers fell to 9-6 and 2-4 since its previous win against the Cheavers and their conference record falls to 3-3. 

Next up for the Cheavers is another conference battle as they travel to Pierce Park Pavilion on Tuesday (Jan. 11) and the Panthers will also move on to play at Pierce Park on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.  

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. 

JV Cheavers shutout streak continues in Waupaca

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD junior varsity Cheavers extended its current shutout streak to an unreal five game, setting the stage for the varsity goose egg with a 1-0 edge of its own on the road against the Waupaca Comets on Tuesday (Jan. 4). 

Alex Griebe once again backstopped the win which has seen him and his defensive teammates playing more than 250 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.  

For his part, Griebe stopped 16 shots while his Comets counterpart, senior Brody Berens stopped all but one of the 26 shots he faced for what normally be an awesome night between the pipes.  

Junior Caleb Eastman fired the first and game winning goal in the sixth minute of the second period with assists for junior Nate Stando and first year Nolan Pope.  

The win is the seventh straight for the now 10-2 JV Cheavers who will look to grab another win on home ice Thursday (Jan. 6) when the Oregon Panthers pay a visit.  

Cheavers roll over Comets for sixth straight win

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Inspired by a great performance at the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic tournament over the Christmas holidays, the RWD varsity Cheavers headed into the post-Christmas portion of the schedule with another impressive win. 

The Cheavers travelled to Waupaca and collected a 6-0 shutout win against the host Comets, extending its current winning streak to six games.  

The potent offense struck quick, senior Trevor Slaght notching his second goal in five games since returning from an off-season injury in the game’s third minute, from senior C.J. Pfaff.  

That stood up as the game winner, but the Cheavers added more in the opening 17 minutes. Junior Caden Brandt and senior Tomas Korndorfer fired goals in the middle part of the period before Slaght found the net for another.  

Junior John Scott fired the lone middle period goal, his eighth of the season and sixth in the past four games and Korndorfer wrapped it up with his second of the contest and fifth of the season in the final period.  

Pfaff and junior Carsen Brandt both picked up a pair of assists in the game with singles for Slaght, senior Grant Marsich and sophomore Brady Baldwin. 

Cooper Oakes kicked out all 27 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season and once again smash his own record for career shutouts with his 13th

The win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 10-5 while the host Comets slipped to 7-6 (2-1 in Great Northern Conference). 

Huge test ahead  

The Cheavers are hoping to carry some momentum from its recent streak into a massive conference test on home ice Thursday as they kick off the second half of the Badger West Conference against the Oregon Panthers.  

Both teams are 3-2, the Panthers collecting a 5-1 win in the first half meeting in Oregon.  

The Panthers entered the week ranked second among Division 2 teams in the state according wisconsinprephockey.net. 

While the Cheavers are riding a five-game winning streak, the Panthers dropped three in a row after defeating RWD before winning its most recent pair against Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc (KMMO) and Fox Cities at a holiday tournament hosted by KMMO.