By Jim den Hollander
If losing a two-time state scoring champion and one of the top goaltenders among nine graduating seniors was supposed to have a detrimental effect on the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team, someone must have forgot to tell this season’s team.
Two more lopsided wins wrapped up a near perfect season for the Eagles who enter the post season with at least as much promise as a year ago.
The final week included an 8-3 win against the McFarland Spartans and a 6-0 shutout against the Milton Red Hawks, both on home ice at the Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC).
McFarland Spartans 3 @ Sauk Prairie Eagles 8
In the past, Eagles have jumped on teams quick, often grabbing control of games with opening shift goals.
Last Monday (January 25), the Eagles showed it can comeback if needed. A hot goaltender played a big part in the Eagles looking up at a 2-0 deficit on home ice despite outshooting its guest by a 17-3 margin.
The Eagles though, found a higher gear in the middle period, scoring three unanswered goals on 23 more shots, then blasted off with a 5-1 edge and another 25 shots down the stretch.
Junior Luke Mast paced the squad with a three-goal game, juniors Erik Peterson and Landon Clary adding two each and the other the first career varsity goal for freshman Samson Begalske.
Junior Hakon Peterson enjoyed a huge playmaking game, collecting five assists with juniors Nick Mast and Erik Peterson along with sophomore Ethan Tranel setting up two each. Senior Caeben Schomber also picked up a helper.
Kaden Stracke picked up the win in goal and his opposition keeper, Ray Wheaton faced 65 shots on the night.
Milton Red Hawks 0 @ Sauk Prairie Eagles 6
The finale was billed as ‘Senior Night’ and the four graduating players played their part – Brodie Trollop scored the game winning goal and set up another while Caeben Schomber, Spencer LaCour and Sam Severson each collected an assist in the contest.
Junior Nick Mast enjoyed a two-goal, four-point night to wrap up the season with 30 points in 13 games, Luke Mast adding an assist for a team high 33 points on the season.
Hakon Peterson also scored twice with the other added by Clary. Junior Micah Hanson, Luke Mast and Erik Peterson also picked up assists.
Sophomore keepers Stracke and Brooks McInerney, split the work on a shared shutout bid and the Eagles outshot the Redbirds 43-12.
The Eagles lost just one contest this season, a brief 3-2 stumble against Beaver Dam the lone blemish on an otherwise perfect campaign. It can be called a stumble because in a previous meeting, the Eagles bounced the same Golden Beavers by a 6-1 score.
The Eagles were seeded third in the 13-team Section 3 pool and along with top two seeds – Madison Edgewood Crusaders and Verona Wildcats, the Eagles drew a bye through the opening round of the post season.
RWD Cheavers and Middleton Cardinals are playing tonight (February 2) for the right to challenge Sauk Prairie on Thursday night in the Sectional Quarterfinals.