Wiebusch hat trick paces Crusaders by Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander 



The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team saw a nine-game winning streak come to an end but continued to show progress against a tough opponent despite falling 4-2 at La Bahn Ice Arena in Madison against the host Madison Edgewood Crusaders.  

The Crusaders held a 1-0 lead after a period and carried a 4-1 margin into the third, but a goal for senior C.J. Pfaff 69 seconds into the final period kept the visiting Cheavers in the equation. 

That turned out to be the final goal as the host Crusaders, who limited the high-octane Cheavers’ offense to seven shots in both the first and second period, tightened the screws a big more down the stretch, allowing just four in the final 17 minutes. 

Meanwhile, the Crusaders who eliminated the Cheavers from Badger West contention with the win, peppered RWD senior goaltender Cooper Oakes with 35 shots. 

Senior JJ Wiebusch scored three for the Crusaders and senior Cody Menzel notched the other – both veterans of the prestigious Team Wisconsin Before and After program. 

Junior Caden Brandt fired the first RWD goal and grabbed an assist on the Pfaff goal, along with senior Trevor Slaght. 

The loss was the first for RWD since Dec. 14 at Oregon and dropped the team’s overall record to 13-6 on the season. More importantly, RWD fell to 5-3 in Badger West contests, snapping a string of three straight wins.  

The Cheavers head home for a Thursday (Jan. 20) contest against the Monroe Cheesemakers, its final home game at Reedsburg Area Community Arena and its penultimate Badger West contest.  

The Cheavers have just five games remaining on its schedule, hitting the road for three following the Thursday game before wrapping up the regular season at Lake Delton Ice Arena Feb. 8 against the Janesville Bluebirds. 

Crusaders clinch in in final period against Cheavers

By Jim den Hollander  



The RWD varsity Cheavers dropped its first conference test of the season despite a gritty effort and yet another standout performance between the pipes.  

Outshot 17-5 through the opening period, senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kept everything out of the RWD net and teams were still scoreless heading to the second.  

The visitors put up another 15-7 margin on the scoreboard and broke through with a pair of middle period markers, but in between was junior John Scott’s first goal of the season, from sophomore Trey Lariden, keeping the game close at 2-1 with a period to play.  

The Crusaders finally pulled away with two goals in the opening seven minutes of the final period.  

Seniors J.J. Wiebusch and Aidan Lenz both scored a pair for the Crusaders while assisting on one for the Crusaders and senior Cody Menzel had three assists. All three played for the Team Wisconsin 18U team this fall.  

The loss dropped the Cheavers to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in Badger West Division play while the Crusaders improved to 2-1 and opened conference play with a win. 

Tomas Komdofer made his varsity debut with the team Friday and the defense corps is expecting a boost in time for Tuesday’s contest. 

The Cheavers will be on home ice again Tuesday for the always exciting rivalry contest against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds at 7 p.m. The Crusaders were scheduled to play Saturday night at Hartmeyer Ice Arena against the Madison Memorial Spartans and also faces a big conference match Tuesday on home ice at LaBahn Arena in Madison against the 3-0 Sauk Prairie Eagles. 

Season Preview — Sauk Prairie Eagles

By Jim den Hollander  



The Sauk Prairie Eagles head into the 2021-22 WIAA season looking to build off the success of its past two seasons.  

After reaching Sectional semifinals in the past two seasons, the Eagles had its progress impeded by the State Champion Verona Wildcats in the spring of 2020 and the same Wildcats who once against reached the State Championship game this past Spring. 

A few key members have moved on, but offensively, many of the key cogs are back for another run beginning Tuesday (Nov. 23) when the Eagles play host to the Onalaska Hilltoppers, a perennial contender as well.  

 The Eagles have solid leadership up front and on the blue line with key seniors such as Nick Mast, Erik Peterson and Micah Hanson at the forward position along with Hakon Peterson on the blueline along with junior forward Luke Mast and junior defender Ethan Tranel.  

In goal, the junior pair of Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney helped the team to a 12-1 regular season record in last year’s shortened season. 

The Eagles are looking to step into a higher level of competition beginning with the game against Onalaska, a team it faced off for the first time in regular season competition in January. 

The new Badger West is basically an even trade-off as the always tough Madison Edgewood Crusaders now become a division rival along with Oregon and Monroe while perennial conference championship contender, Waunakee Warriors slide into the Badger East along with Deforest and Beaver Dam. 

Regular season contests against Big Eight contenders Middleton Cardinals and Sun Prairie Cardinals will provide some tough challenges late in the season. The Eagles will also be taking part in the prestigious Culvers Cup holiday tournament (usually played out of both Hartmeyer Ice Arena and Madison Ice Arena) over the Christmas break. 

Some of the players took part in both spring/summer teams as well as Before/After squads including Team Wisconsin, so the Eagles should be strong out of the gate. 

Team Wisconsin U-18s off to hot start

By Jim den Hollander



Team Wisconsin U18’s opened its season this past weekend, sweeping three games on a Chicago area road trip winning three games in three different arenas.

Included on Team Wisconsin is Sauk Prairie Eagles senior forward Erik Peterson as well as defenseman Hakon Peterson, although Hakon did not play this past weekend.

TW started out the weekend with a 4-1-win Friday (Aug. 20) at Canlan Rink 2 in Romeoville against the Chicago Fury, then brushed the Windy City Storm aside Saturday at the Seven Bridges Rinks by a 5-2 margin. Wrapping up the weekend, TW moved by the Minnesota Blizzard 7-3 at the Arctic Ice Arena in Orland Park.

In the first game, Team Wisconsin grabbed a 4-0 lead through the first two periods with goals from Cody Menzel (Sr., Edgewood); Callan Budinger (Notre Dame Sr.); Bryce Strand (Bay Port Sr.) and Hunter Bill (Notre Dame Jr.) while Adam Prokop (Wausau West Sr.) carried a shutout into the final period and stopped 19 of 20 shots faced in goal.

Against the Storm, TW rallied back from a 2-0 first period deficit with five straight unanswered goals, three in the middle period and two more down the stretch.

Tyler Dale (Waukesha Sr.) opened the scoring with a shorthanded marker and added the game winner later in the second period. Dayne Deanovich (St. Mary’s Springs Sr.) added a goal and two assists, Josh Austin (St. Mary’s Springs Jr.) adding a goal and assist, and the other goal fired by Kade Smigaj (Stevens Point Jr.).

Bridger Fixmer (Chippewa Falls Sr.) kicked out 12 of 14 to pick up the win in goal

In the final game, Blizzard scored first 6:06 into the contest, TW tying it 50 seconds later and piling on another half dozen before surrendering the final two meaningless goals in the third.

Austin and Menzel paced the attack with two goals apiece, Smigaj adding a goal and assist with other goals for Deanovich and Peyton Platter (Eau Claire Memorial Sr.).

Fixmer and Prokop shared the work in goal, combining to handle 55 of 58 Blizzards shots.

Peterson didn’t collect a point on the weekend but played a role in the team’s season opening sweep. He and the team will be back in action with two more against the Windy City Storm, this time at the Orbit Ice Arena in Palatine, Ill.

Petersons, Mast and Dietl on Team Wisconsin

High School hockey players are a few weeks from captains’ practices at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and early AAA Fall teams are forming for fall tournaments that will start soon as well from the varsity level down to the youngest youth players.

A quick internet search shows some of the ‘Before and After’ programs have updated information on websites, and a few have not.

Among those that have updated their info at the Team Wisconsin fall AAA team rosters.

Included on the team’s U-18 roster are Erik Peterson and Hakon Peterson, twins on the Sauk Prairie Eagles that are heading into their senior seasons. Erik is listed as a forward and Hakon is a defenseman.

They will get an early look at a trio of players from the Madison Edgewood roster who will be Badger West Division rivals this season.

The team will kick off its season in Illinois with three games this coming weekend (Aug. 20-22) against the Chicago Fury, Windy City Storm and Minnesota Blizzards. The following weekend they will be back in the Chicagoland area to play a pair of games against the Chicago Reapers, and they will head to New Hope, Minn. To play on both Sept. 11-12 and 18-19.

From there, the team will alternate between New Hope, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities and Eau Claire, Wis.

U-16 TW

Another member of the Eagles, Luke Mast, an incoming junior, has been chosen to play for the Team Wisconsin U-16 team. One of his teammates will be Kyle Roher from the Oregon Panthers, another new rival in the Badger West Conference this season.

The U-15 TW squad will play in Orland Park, near Chicago Aug. 20-22 against Florida Alliance, Minnesota Blizzards and Chicago Fury, returning to Palatine the following weekend for a pair against the Windy City Storm.

The team will make the trip to St. Louis for a tournament on Labor Day Weekend and continues with tournaments in Omaha and Minneapolis before a highlight, playing in Pittsburgh along with the USHL season opening Showcase Sept. 24-27. Oct. 8-10 the team will travel to the Detroit area to play in the Compuware Invite. The season will continue with league games through Oct. and into early November in Fond du Lac, Madison, Plymouth, Mich., Chicago and finally, another USHL Showcase in Sioux City, Iowa.

U-12 TW Girls

Hailey Dietl from Reedsburg was recently announced as a member of the newly formed TW U-12 Girls team following a Camp Weekend held in Fond du Lac this past weekend.

The team will return to Fondy next weekend for a practice weekend, preparing for its first tournament, the Summer Finale Tournament in Minneapolis Aug. 27-29. The team will get a few weeks off before a two-game weekend with the Chicago Young Americans Sept. 11-12 at a rink TBA. Locals will get a chance to see the team in action when they play a pair against the Madison Capitols U-12 squad at the Ice Pond in Waunakee Sept. 25 (9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.)

The following day the team will play a pair in McFarland against a still TBA opponent, then wrap up the season at the Rivalry Cup tournament in Detroit Oct. 1-3.

These are just a quick look at some players playing with the Team Wisconsin fall teams. The Wisconsin Stars, Wisconsin Junior Jets and Green Bay Gamblers will also have teams that could include local players.

If we have missed any Sauk County area players, please contact saukhockey.info at jim@dellsduckshockey.com or call 608-393-2876.

Bantam Cheavers take first four on home ice at RACA

The RWD bantam hockey team couldn’t have started much better, winning its first four contests – all on home ice at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) before dropping its first game on the road Sunday.

The season started with a pair of games November 1 as the Washington County Ice paid a visit.

The Cheavers captured a 6-2 win in the first of two games then followed it up with a 3-1 decision later the same day.

Nolan Pope and Tye Barney both scored twice, both adding an assist with other goals added by Gus DeFosse, Kaden Uminski, Bryan Mammos and Carter Renneberg. Uminski also collected an assist with other helpers for RJ Manley and Tristan Edgerton.

Alex Griebe stopped 43 of 46 shots to pick up a couple ‘W’s’ between the pipes.

This past weekend, Griebe topped those performances with his first shutout, against Sauk Flyers ‘B’ team, turning aside 43 shots in the first of two games Saturday. The second was a 4-2 decision against the Viroqua Thunder.

Included in the 11 goals were two each for Mammos, Barney, Alec Breunig and Uminski and others from Pope, Ryleigh Bychinski and Renneberg. Breunig and Uminski both added a pair of set ups with others for Kayla Garbacz, Bychinski and DeFosse. Griebe moved to 4-0 with a 20-save effort against Viroqua.

The streak ended Sunday as the Cheavers headed to Black River Falls and ran into a mighty squad that included a trio of Team Wisconsin players.

The Tigers rolled to a lopsided win on home ice while the Cheavers chalked it up to a valuable learning experience. This weekend the Cheavers will face its first tournament tests of the season, travelling to an event at the new arena in West Salem. The locals are scheduled to play at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and again at 11 a.m. Sunday. Next home games will be Nov. 28 when the Bantam Cheavers welcome the Chippewa Thunder for a pair of games at RACA.