By Jim den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info Three unanswered third period goals lifted the host Rock County Fury to a come from behind 4-2 win and spoiling what may have been the best offensive showing ever for the Badger Lightning varsity team.
It’s not long ago the Lightning was used to facing a barrage every game, but in this one, it was the local Co-op blasting the host Fury with 51 shots in a wide open 90-shot contest.
The Lightning started quick, senior Kayla Capener getting them on the board before the end of the first minute with the 50th goal of her varsity career, unassisted.
Capener’s goal stood up as the lone marker of the opening period and she added another from senior teammate Mallory Ruland five minutes into the middle period.
The Fury finally found a way past junior Alyssa Gada when senior Amery Stuckey potted a powerplay marker with just over two minutes to play in the second period.
The third period was the Emma Kligora show as the Fury junior fired the tying, game winning and insurance goals to wrap up a natural hat trick in the final frame. The tying goal came 16 seconds into the period and the clincher with 2:37 remaining in the contest.
The loss is the third straight for the Lightning, dropping the team’s overall record to 7-10. In Badger Conference, the Lightning sits fifth of seven with a record of 4-5.
The Lightning will look to get back to .500 in conference Monday with a home game against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers at Pierce Park Pavilion. On Thursday the Lightning will face the currently undefeated (in Badger Conference) Metro Lynx in the team’s final home game of the regular season before embarking on a five-game road stretch to wrap it up. Three of those games will be at a Beaver Dam Tournament next weekend.
Kayla Capener scored the 50th goal of her varsity career against the Rock County Fury. Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer
The Badger Lightning bounced back from a sub-par effort in its previous game but it wasn’t quite enough against a tough Coulee Region Cyclones team on the road Tuesday (Jan. 16).
The host Cyclones opened the scoring in the opening minute and rolled to a 4-2 win at the West Salem Panther Den.
That opening goal, scored by first year Brooke Borkenhagen ended up being the lone score of the opening period and her Cyclones teammate, senior Jaden Hammes added another in the fifth minute of the second period.
Senior Bella Bowden got the Lightning on the scoreboard with her goal just past the halfway mark of the period, from senior Mallory Ruland and sophomore Kayla Garbacz but the Cyclones restored the two-goal cushion with another for Hammes.
Katelyn Allen got the Lightning within a goal again 90 seconds into the final period but it was Samara Collins wrapping up the scoring for the Cyclones about three minutes later.
Alyssa Gada faced 28 shots in the contest compared to 13 against Coulee keeper Diana Hanson.
The Lightning wil return to Badger Conference play Thursday (Jan. 19) in Beloit against the Rock County Fury. In their previous meeting at Pierce Park on Dec. 16 the Fury pulled out a narrow 4-3 win.
Next home game for the locals will be on Monday, another conference test against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers.
The Badger Lightning has seen a little bit of everything this season. Come from behind wins, hard fought defeats but Friday might be the first time the team saw one slip away, dropping a 4-1 decision to the visiting Cap City Cougars.
‘Coming up flat’ is an expression used by every level of team, including top notch pros when they inexplicably have an off night.
That was the Lightning on Friday as they played host to the Cougars, a team it defeated 2-0 in Sun Prairie on Dec. 5.
This time around, at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo, the Cougars dominated the local side with a 38-12 edge in shots and pulled away from a 1-1 draw with three unanswered through the final two periods.
The Lightning was missing a player to suspension and dealing with the distractions always in place on Senior Night and dealing with a team that was not happy with losing to the Lightning for the first time in several seasons and looking to settle the score. All of these may have been factors in the loss, but the main thing was despite a solid penalty kill, the Lightning gave their opponent to may extra skater opportunities.
Cougars were on the board before the three-minute mark but senior Mallory Ruland pulled the Lightning even with her goal, set up by senior Kayla Capener and sophomore Reese Olson with 7:08 to play in the period.
Ill-timed penalties and giveaways hurt the Lightning who saw a chance at a big home win evaporate when the Cougars scored twice in 77 seconds in the middle period.
Another near the five-minute mark of the third period added some insurance for the visitors.
Alyssa Gada was a bright spot in goal for the Lightning, kicking out 34 shots.
The Lightning are hoping to get back on track in time for a non-conference road test in Onalaska Monday and will also travel to Beloit Thursday to take on the Rock County Fury Thursday evening.
Next home game for the Lightning will be Thursday, Jan. 26 against the Metro Lynx, the final home game of the regular season.
Video interviews with Coach Capener and Mallory Ruland from this game are unavailable.
By JIm den Hollander Editor/Publisher Saukhockey.info The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team continues to rewrite history every time it steps on the ice in what is becoming a dream season. The Lightning continued a four-game winning streak, improved to 4-1 on the season and were led once again by junior goaltender Allysa Gada who hung her third shutout of the season as the local side collected a 2-0 shutout right in Sun Prairie against the rival Cap City Cougars.
Rival might not be exactly accurate as – entering the game – the Cougars had an overall 20-1 record against the Lightning, not including a 3-0 win to eliminate Lightning from the post season last February.
Last and only previous time the Lightning collected a win against the Cougars was more than a decade ago, Jan. 12, 2012. To get an idea of how long ago that occured, the goal scorers in the match were Leigh Stawinoga, Hannah Juckett and Rachel Pawlak. This time around was no fluke either as the Lightning triggered nine shots each period and outshot its host 27-19. Teams played through a scoreless opening period before senior captain Kayla Capener notched the game winner from junior Reese Olson. While Capener is closing in on being the team’s all-time leading scorer she also picked up an assist on an insurance goal, the first varsity goal for first year Kyran Merrell about 10-minutes later.
That was more than enough for Gada who stopped all 19 shots faced including 10 in the final period when the home outshot the Lightning 10-9. The shutout is the third of the season but more impressive, the second straight for Gada who has gone 114:46 without being beat — the last goal coming early in the third period in Wisconsin Rapids where the Lightning rallied back from an early deficit for a 4-3 win. Equally as impressive, the Lightning is doing most of this on the road. Now 4-1 on the season, the last three have all come away from friendly fans. The Lightning will look to continue its streak and awesome start to the conference season when they welcome the 3-1 (2-0) Rock County Fury Friday at Pierce Park Pavilion. With previous wins against Beaver Dam and the Icebergs, the Lightning are 3-0 in the conference and will play both the Metro Lynx and Viroqua Blackhawks as well as a return match with the Fury, before the Christmas Break. This is easily the best start to the conference season ever for the Lightning and if they can rattle off another win Friday against the Fury it might not be too early for talk of the team’s first ever Badger Conference title.
The Badger Lightning continued a solid start to the 2022-23 WIAA regular season and made a little history with a dominating effort in Stoughton Saturday afternoon.
With likely the most impressive offensive effort in team history, the Lightning pounded more than 60 shots at the host Icebergs’ goal at the Mandt Community Center, racking up a 4-0 shutout win.
For a second straight game, the Lightning came up with a ‘Dub’ against a team it hadn’t defeated in several seasons.
The Icebergs, a co-operative effort of schools from several Madison area schools has been matched with the Lightning in the Badger Conference since it started, but coming into this one, the Icebergs held a 15-4-1 edge against the locals including eight straight wins dating back to Jan. 4, 2017. Incidentally, the Lightning won that one 3-2 with all goals, including the overtime game winner coming off the stick of Lizzie Patton.
This time around senior defender Eryn Benson notched the only goal needed by the Lightning before the end of the game’s first minute. Senior Kayla Capener collected an assist on the goal.
First-year Ryleigh Bychinski collected her first varsity goal unassisted later in the period and the Lightning carried a 2-0 lead out of the frame.
Sophomore Audrey Hanko notched the lone middle period tally with help from seniors Bella Bowden and Capener and the final goal came from Capener with an assist from sophomore Reese Olson.
By far the busiest player in this game was Icebergs’ goaltender Aven Gruner who stopped 59 of 63 shots and held the Lightning to a single second period goal despite and overwhelming 31-2 margin on the shot counter.
Meanwhile, junior Alyssa Gada is putting together an amazing season herself, collecting her second shutout in four games so far. While the 13 shots faced doesn’t sound scary, many feel it is tougher for goaltenders to be not as busy in a contest as they can get cold. Gada has allowed just nine goals in four games. Take away a rough start against Arrowheaed and that number falls to three goals against in her past three games with 54 saves on 57 shots.
Thunder is 3-1 overall and 2-0 in Badger Conference matches now and looks to keep the torch held high when they hit the road Monday (Dec. 5) for a game at Sun Prairie Ice Arena looking to end another long skid against the Cap City Cougars.
Local fans will get their chance to see the Lightning in action Friday at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo with yet another conference tilt, against the Rock County Fury. That will be the first of three straight home games for the local squad.
Reese Olson lifted the Badger Lightning to its first and only lead of the contest Tuesday night with 31 seconds to play at the South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids and the team held on for a 4-3 edge against the host Wisconsin Valley Union.
The Lightning rallied back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to grab the win, boosting its WIAA season record to 2-1.
Down by a pair after a period, the Lightning struck back in the middle period with goals from senior Lani Selje and junior Katelyn Allen 31 seconds apart and teams headed to the final period even at 2-2.
First year Kyran Merrell collected assists on both goals and senior Kayla Capener helped on the second.
Senior Sonia Dissanayake and first year Lily Cichy scored the first period Union goals and Dissanayake put her squad in front again 4:14 into the final period but Lightning senior Mallory Ruland pulled her team even again with an unassisted goal 3:10 later.
That set the stage for Olson who took a feed from Capener before scoring the game winner.
In goal, junior Alyssa Gada stopped 19 of 22 to grab her second win of the season while the Lightning sent 28 shots at junior Grace Lawrence.
The meeting was the first between the Union and Lightning since 2016 and the Lightning evened the all-time series at 3-3-2 with their first win against the Stevens Point/Wisconsin Rapids cooperative effort since 2012.
Lightning will try to stay hot when they return to Badger Conference play Saturday with a trip to Mandt Community Center in Stoughton Saturday (Dec. 3) for a 2:15 p.m. puck drop against the Icebergs and then travel to Sun Prairie Ice Arena Monday night for another Badger Conference match against the Cap City Cougars.
Next home game for the Lightning will be on Friday when the Rock County Fury visits for yet another Badger Conference contest at Pierce Park Pavilion
The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team broke into the win column Saturday thanks in part to a 22-save shutout for junior goaltender Alyssa Gada and a goal from senior Mallory Ruland.
That turned out to be the game winner and the lone goal in a 1-0 win for the Lightning.
After Ruland’s goal, set up by first-year Kyran Merrell and sophomore Katelyn Allen with 4:46 to play in the opening period, it was all up to the goaltenders – Gada with the goose egg and Beaver Dams’ Emily Smedema who kicked out 35 of 36 at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.
The win boosted the Lightning record to 1-1 while the Golden Beavers were playing their first game of the season. The game was the first Badger Conference game of the season for both teams.
The Lightning will be back in action Tuesday, hitting the road for the first time this season to take on the Wisconsin Valley Union at South Wood County Recreation Center in Wisconsin Rapids in a 5 p.m. contest. The Lightning will stay on the road for three games with confrerence matches on Saturday at Stoughton’s Mandt Community Center against the Icebergs and a visit to Sun Prairie Ice Arena Monday Dec. 5 to play the Cap City Cougars.
Next home game for the locals will be another conference tilt against the Rock County Fury at Pierce Park Pavilion Dec. 9.
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.
The Badger Lightning came up with its best effort of the season on the right night, but it wasn’t quite enough to garner the WIAA playoff upset on Friday (Feb. 1) as they fell 3-0 to the rival Cap City Cougars at Sun Prairie Ice Arena.
The Lightning served notice it was ready to step onto a plateau with the Badger Conference’s mid and upper pack teams this past season, pushing the Cougars, Viroqua Blackhawks, Icebergs (Stoughton area) and Rock County Fury to close decisions, but ultimately falling short in every contest.
Inspired by a game just a couple weeks prior when the Lightning pushed the Cougars to overtime before ultimately succumbing 2-1, the six seeded Lightning entered playoff rematch ready and primed for an upset win.
Out of the gate, the Lightning took it to the Cougs, outshooting them in a tight opening period by a 5-4 margin, but both teams were scoreless through the first 17 minutes.
Sophomore Keegan Sanderfoot fired an unassisted regular strength goal halfway through the second period and added two more, both on the only two powerplays the Cougars had in the contest – one in the second period and the other in the third.
Cougars’ junior Izzy Hahn stopped all 29 shots the Lightning put her way and Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada stopped 23 of 26 for the Lightning.
Unfortunately, the loss ended the season for the 9-14 Lightning while the Cougars (12-11-1) advanced to the WIAA Section 3 semi-finals at Viroqua on Wednesday (Feb. 23) against the host Blackhawks who moved into the round with an 11-0 win against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers.
The loss was especially tough for the team’s three seniors: Carson Blosenski, Signe Begalske and Emily Gunnel.
The other semi will match the top seeded Metro Lynx who enjoyed a first-round bye against the fourth seeded Icebergs who earned 3-1 win against number five Rock County Fury. That game will also be on Wednesday.
Both winners will move into the Sectional Championship game at Sun Prairie Ice Arena Saturday at 7 p.m. for one of four Sectional Championship spots in the State tournament next week.
The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team scored its first goal in three games on Friday (Jan. 7) but it wasn’t enough to snap its losing streak dropping a 3-1 decision to the Rock County Fury at Pierce Park Pavilion.
The game was the first home game for the locals since Dec. 21 and the second meeting with the Fury who earned a 2-1 edge in Beloit at the beginning of December.
Once again, the Lightning stayed with the Fury, but just couldn’t find the mesh until late in the contest.
Senior Olivia Combs put the Fury up with the lone goal of the opening period and that stood up until the final frame when sophomore Hannah Chady sank the game winner at the 8:07 mark.
Sophomore Lily Clark added one more for the Fury before first year Reese Olson denied Olivia Cronin, the Fury’s senior goaltender a shutout, lighting the lamp 75 seconds from the final buzzer.
Senior Signe Begalske and junior Kayla Capener collected assists on the goal.
The Fury held a 30-24 edge on the shot clock and snapped a seven-game winless streak dating back to Dec. 10. The win boosted the team’s overall record to 5-8-2 and the Fury sits at 3-3.
For the Lightning who have now dropped three in a row, fell to 4-6 with the loss and they fell to 3-5 in Badger Conference play.