By Jim den Hollander
A busy week of Badger West head-to-head matches set up a crucial week ahead filled with big matches as the six teams hit the halfway mark on the conference schedule.
Key game of the week saw the Madison Edgewood Crusaders making its home ice debut with a 6-1 win against the Sauk Prairie Eagles giving the visitors its first loss and first loss in what ended up being the lone game of the week for both teams.
The Crusaders remain undefeated in conference play and enter this week with the Panthers as co-leaders entering their head-to-head battle on Monday (Dec. 13) which will be part of next week’s conference summary.
The Panthers enjoyed a big week, starting with an 8-0 win at SLICE against Monroe Cheesemakers Monday and also including a 9-8 edge against Big Eight leading Janesville Bluebirds on home ice Tuesday.
A scheduled meeting between the Eagles and Panthers was postponed and will now be played on Dec. 20.
RWD hit the conference win columns with victories against both Baraboo Portage on home ice Tuesday and at SLICE in Monroe Thursday but wrapped up the win with a tough non-conference loss to Baldwin on Saturday.
The Thunderbirds also dropped a pair of non-conference matches, both at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo while the Cheesemakers lost a pair of conference matches as well as a road game against Muskego
MADISON EDGEWOOD CRUSADERS (4-1, 2-0 Badger West)
SAUK PRAIRIE EAGLES (3-1, 1-1 Badger West)
These two are included together as their lone game of the week was against each other.
After dropping its season opener, the Crusaders have now racked up four straight including conference matches against both RWD and Sauk Prairie.
It’s starting to look like this team could be in for a special season with an awesome group of seniors leading the way.
J.J. Wiebusch was in on five of the six (2g, 3a) against the Eagles and has put up 15 points in the team’s four wins. Parker Murn and Cody Menzel both collected four points in the game and Aidan Lenz had three set ups.
In goal, sophomore Rowan White and freshman Hayden Reuhl have combined on the 4-1 record, stopping all but 11 of 118 shots against so far.
For the Eagles, the Mast brothers, senior Nick and junior Luke both played a part in the lone goal, and they have combined on 27 points through four games for the Eagles.
After playing Oregon on Monday, the Crusaders will stay home to entertain the Cheesemakers Tuesday wrapping up the team’s pre-Christmas schedule. They have yet to play Baraboo/Portage and those two teams will meet twice in the second half of the schedule.
The Eagles are scheduled to entertain Baraboo/Portage at SPARC on Tuesday and will be at RACA in Reedsburg to play RWD. The Eagles will remain busy, the moved game to Dec. 20 leaving them with still five games to play before the break.
OREGON PANTHERS (6-1, 2-0 Badger West)
The offensively gifted Panthers continued to wreak havoc on opposition goaltenders this past week, scoring another 17 goals and racking up two more wins.
After the 8-0 shutout at SLICE Monday, the team played at home Tuesday and an equally impressive Janesville Bluebirds team its first loss 9-8 on Tuesday.
The Oregon team, ranked among state coaches as one of the top Division 2 teams in the state, rolled into Tuesday’s game with 59 goals through its first seven games – an average of more than eight per match. The Bluebirds rolled in undefeated through its first three games with 29 goals scored so the 17 goals in the game was likely no surprise.
The trio of forwards – junior Kyle Rohrer, sophomore Andrew Jicha and senior Joe Roemer continued their season opening barrage combining for 30 points in the two games.
Rohrer notched eight goals and five assists in the two games and entered this week as the state leader with 41 points. Jicha had two goals and six assists and is currently second in state with 36 points while Roemer picked up two goals and seven helpers and currently sits third with 32 points so far.
The Panthers are scheduled to start the win making the trip to LaBahn Arena Monday in a battle of the only two teams undefeated in conference play so far. After hosting RWD the following night, the Panthers will wrap up the week with a non-conference contest against Fond du Lac Warbirds on Saturday in Oregon. Wrapping up the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule, the Panthers will travel to Sauk Prairie on Monday, Dec. 20.
RWD CHEAVERS (5-5, 2-1 Badger West)
RWD picked up a pair of big wins to climb over .500 both in conference and overall, but a tough 5-3 loss against the visiting Baldwin-Woodville Hawks on Saturday was a bit of a spoiler.
RWD has shown itself to be well balanced so far, collecting 19 goals in the three games played while allowing just one in the two conference matches.
Junior Caden Brandt and senior CJ Pfaff both collected eight points in the two wins while senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kicked out all but one of 30 shots faced and picked up a shutout. Brandt’s 19 point have him in a tie for ninth in state.
The team has collected at least a point from 14 players in its first eight games.
BARABOO/PORTAGE THUNDERBIRDS (1-5, 0-2 Badger West)
A tough 8-0 loss against conference rival in Reedsburg was sandwiched between a pair of non-conference losses Monday against Madison LaFollette East Lakers (6-3) at Pierce Park Pavilion Monday and Thursday (10-4) against Brookfield Stars.
The team was missing eight players due to illness, injury or other reasons against the Cheavers, and the team has not had a full lineup on the ice yet this season.
Seniors Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams have tried the lead the squad, both scoring in both non-conference matches, Scanlan ending the week with three goals and Fitzwilliams with two. The other goals came from junior Luke Schweda and freshman Jordi Beale.
Thunderbirds have dropped four in a row and face a tough assignment Tuesday making the trip to Sauk Prairie to play the Eagles and staying on the road Thursday for another tough game against the Bluebirds, then returning home to Pierce Park Pavilion Saturday to face the Monroe Cheesemakers.
MONROE CHEESEMAKERS (1-8, 0-3 Badger West)
A rough week for the Cheesemakers saw the team dropping conference losses to both Oregon (8-0) and RWD (8-1) and wrapping up the week with an 8-1 loss on home ice against the Muskego Co-op Ice Force. The losses stretched the team’s current losing streak to five games and they have dropped their first three Badger West matches.
Junior Nolan Bodenstein and sophomore Wyatt Janecke scored the Cheesemaker goals. The week ahead will be tough as well, beginning with a conference match at La Bahn Arena in Madison against the Crusaders Tuesday and a Saturday contest at Pierce Park Pavilion against Baraboo/Portage to wrap up the first half of the conference schedule.