The Badger West Conference race changed drastically in 51 minutes at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) on Friday (Dec. 17).
The RWD Cheavers entered the contest with two conference losses and in danger of falling out of the race for a top spot. A 2-1 win on home ice against the Sauk Prairie Eagles saw the Cheavers climb to 3-2 in the conference while the Eagles fell to 2-2.
Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes turned in another stellar effort between the pipes, beaten once on 34 Eagles chances. Eagles’ junior goaltender Kaden Stracke was also impressive with two goals against on 22 shots. Both were solid out of the gate as the first period was scoreless despite 26 shots, 15-11 in favor of the Eagles.
The Eagles were on the scoreboard first, senior Nick Mast connecting on an unassisted goal 3:38 into the middle period but the lead lasted just 76 seconds before junior Caden Brandt evened it up with an assist for senior C.J. Pfaff.
The final goal came with 3:18 to play in the period, Pfaff pulling the trigger with assists for senior Tomas Komdofer and junior Carsen Brandt.
Goaltenders stood tall the rest of the way, the Eagles carrying a 10-5 edge in shots through the final period.
RWD boosted its record back to .500 at 5-5 while the Eagles fell to 3-2 after winning its first three of the season.
The RWD varsity Cheavers slipped back under .500 with a couple rough days at the office.
On Saturday (Dec. 11), the Cheavers played host to Baldwin-Woodville Hawks for a non-conference tilt and saw a 3-2 edge after two periods slip away thanks to three unanswered Hawks goals in the final 17 minutes and a 5-3 loss.
On Tuesday at Oregon, the Cheavers went up against one of the state’s top scoring teams, the Oregon Panthers and limited the team to 26 shots, but that was enough for a 5-1 win for the home team.
Baldwin Woodville Hawks 5 @ RWD Cheavers 3
The home team couldn’t have started this game much better, outshooting a Hawks team coming off a tough loss the night before at Black River Falls to start the weekend road trip, by a 19-4 margin.
But on the scoreboard teams were even at 1-1, the lone goal coming from junior defenseman Carsen Brandt, just back in the lineup after a season opening injury. Brandt’s rising shot from the blue line hit the back of the net unseen by the Baldwin keeper, cancelling out the Hawks’ opener, scored a couple minutes prior.
Another defender stepped up 33 seconds into the middle period as senior Grant Marsich put the Cheavers in front with help from junior Caden Brandt and senor Tomas Komdofer.
The Hawks tied it just past the nine-minute mark, but Komdofer put the Cheavers in front again 63 seconds from the middle period buzzer from Marsich.
The Cheavers held a 31-14 edge in shots through the first 34 minutes, but the visitors flipped the script in the final frame, tying the game 6:17 in and taking the lead with 6:17 to play on a powerplay. Another powerplay goal, third of the game for the Hawks all but settled the game with 1:54 to play.
RWD Cheavers 1 @ Oregon Panthers 5
The assignment awaiting anyone taking on the Panthers is shutting down the explosive trio of Joe Roemer, Kyle Rohrer and Andrew Jicha. For the most part, the Cheavers did that for 44 of 51 minutes Tuesday night, but three goals in seven minutes to open the middle period showed just how explosive that trio can be.
The Cheavers took the game to the host Panthers through the opening period, holding the high-flying team to one goal scored 2:03 into the contest.
The Cheavers held a 10-8 edge on the shot clock, but the Panthers scored twice in the opening two minutes of the second and added another before the seven-minute mark to widen the gap.
Senior CJ Pfaff finally got the Cheavers on the board with 7:05 to play in the game, from juniors Yevgeny Dedun and Logan DeMars, but any thoughts of a late comeback with squashed less than a minute later as Oregon fired its fifth.
Once again the Cheavers held the overall edge on the shot clock but just by a 27-26 margin.
Rohrer-Roemer and Jicha played a part in all five Panther goals and combined for 10 points although only one of the markers involved all three.
The back-to-back losses dropped the Cheavers under .500 at 4-5 for the first time since Dec. 3 when they sat at 2-3. It also evened the team’s Badger West Conference record at 2-2, making Friday’s home game against the Sauk Prairie Eagles (3-1, 1-1 Badger West) crucial to the team’s conference championship hopes alive.
That game will wrap up the first half of the Conference schedule for the Cheavers who will have one more game before the Christmas break, traveling to Tomah to faceoff against Tomah/Sparta on Tuesday (Dec. 21).
The RWD varsity Cheavers turned in a near perfect effort and the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds once again saw its adversity from the start of the season continue with several players sidelines due to injury and illness.
As a result, the Cheavers scored the game winner in the game’s second minute and never looked back on its way to an 8-0 shutout win.
The Cheavers scored twice in the game’s first four minutes rolling to a 3-0 first period lead and had a running clock in place with three more in the middle 17.
Thunderbirds had eight players scratched and RWD Head Coach Neil Mattson acknowledged the return match in Baraboo in January see a much tougher Thunderbirds’s squad.
But the RWD team was clicking on all cylinders and the chemistry on nearly every line was undeniable.
Senior CJ Pfaff enjoyed one of his best nights as a varsity player, contributing to the effort playing both defense and forward and on at least one occasion switching mid-shift. Pfaff scored twice and set up the game winner 1:47 in with a perfect pass from behind the net to junior Caden Brandt.
The junior center also scored twice and set up a pair while the third member for the lead trio, sophomore Brady Baldwin picked up an assist on Brandt’s second of the game.
Junior John Scott and senior Tomas Komdofer also turned in a noticeable effort setting each other up frequently. Both collected a goal and assist in the game.
Junior Defenseman Carsen Brandt, playing in his first game of the season hit the mesh from the blueline 3:43 into the game from Yevgeny Dedun.
Another defenseman, junior Logan DeMars scored the other goal and picked up an assist and senior Grant Marsich collected an assist as well.
Cooper Oakes broke his own record for RWD shutouts, collecting his 10th varsity goose egg.
Thunderbirds Head Coach David Clark shrugged off the loss with the depleted roster and praised his troops for a hardworking and disciplined effort despite playing with so many sidelined players.
The win boosted the Cheavers to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Badger West. The Thunderbirds fell to 1-4 and are now 0-2 in Badger West matches.
The Cheavers will look to stay in the win column, making the trip to Monroe for another conference duel Thursday night while the Baraboo Thunderbirds will play host to the Brookfield Stars on the same night at Pierce Park Pavilion.
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.
The RWD junior varsity hockey team boosted its regular season record to 4-1 with an impressive 6-2 win against the visiting Onalaska Hilltoppers on Tuesday night as the opening act to thrilling varsity contest.
Hard work and a 26-11 edge in shots had the home side up 2-0 heading to the final frame, but that evaporated suddenly as the Hilltoppers scored twice in 42 seconds and pulled even before the third period was 90 seconds old.
The home side went back to work though scoring the game winner about three minutes later and piling on another three before the final horn.
Seniors Carter Scully and Tomas Komdofer formed a potent tandem playing a part in four goals including the game winner for RWD.
Komdofer set up Scully for the opening goal and both collected assists on a goal scored by Nate Stando later in the opening period.
Scully assisted on Komdofer’s game winner with additional help from junior Caleb Eastman.
Freshman Kaden Uminski fired the fourth goal on a feed from Freshman Tye Barney and Scully’s second came later with an assist for Komdofer. Connor Putz scored the final goal 26 seconds later with a pass from Tristan Edgerton.
Freshman goaltender Alex Griebe collected his third win in goal stopping 19 of 21 shots and the Cheavers held a 47-21 edge overall.
Next up for the JV Cheavers will be a tough test against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders on Friday night with a 5 p.m. faceoff at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA).
The RWD junior varsity hockey team continued a strong opening to its regular season collecting it second win in 24 hours with a 6-2 win against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders at South Wood County Recreation Center Tuesday evening.
Tomas Komdofer, Nate Stando and Carter Scully paced the offense, scoring two goals each Scully and Komdofer both adding an assist as well along with Kaden Uminski.
RWD fired the lone goal of the first period, Komdofer pulling the trigger and the game was still close at 2-1 heading to the third.
With Alex Griebe, the team’s regular netminder out with illness, defenseman Mark Othmer volunteered to patrol the blue paint and recorded the win in his debut.
The team will continue play in its busy opening week, following Thanksgiving with a trip to Somerset for a tournament involving both the varsity and junior varsity teams.
First game for the local JV squad will be against New Richmond Tigers at 4:15 p.m. Friday and they will hit the ice again at 9 a.m. Saturday against the host Somerset Spartans JV squad.