By Jim den Hollander
A large number of RWD hockey players have avoided a lull in their schedule by trying out for and making the Western Wisconsin Blue Devils Summer Hockey teams.
Most of the teams attended three tournaments, wrapping up this past weekend.
Details on the events were limited, but following is a list of teams that included local players and the details this reporter was able to garner.
’08 Blue Devils
The ’08 Blue Devils began its three-tournament season at the Border Battle Tournament with RJ Manley, a fixture with the Tomah-based squad for several seasons included in the lineup along with Thomas Sarnow.
Manley, an incoming RWD freshman and his teammates started out with an impressive 8-1 win against Blaze (Gold) at Somerset Ice Arena April 22, then returned the following day battling Breakaway to a 1-1 draw in Forest Lake and moving back to the win column with a 5-2 decision against Ice Edge in Woodbury, MN.
The Blue Devils wrapped up top spot in its six-team group with another 5-2 margin on April 24 against the St. Croix Muskies, played in Forest Lake.
At the Shock Doctor Tournament played in the Twin Cities area, the Blue Devils played in the six-team ’08 Upper draw, beginning April 29 with a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Lake Superior Pirates at Brooklyn Park.
The following day, the North Metro Stars doubled the Blue Devils 4-2 but the Devils stormed back with an 8-2 win against FCA Hockey (Blue), both games played in Maple Grove.
In the first of two games Sunday, the Blue Devils were shutout 4-0 by Hockey Haven and they wrapped up a busy weekend, settling for fourth place after a 5-2 loss against the Madison Capitols in the third-place contest.
The team wrapped up the compact season playing this past weekend in the Mountain Dew Blast Tournament, also in the Twin Cities area. No details from that event were available at the time of printing this article.
’09 Blue Devils
A group of players from the Regional Champion RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers stayed united on this team. Tyler Krieski and Ethan Pope both made the trip with the team to the Border Battle Tournament in Hudson.
Playing at the AAA level is a giant step for players generally playing in smaller centers and the tournament was primarily a learning experience.
After dropping a 10-3 decision against the Eskimos in the first game, April 22, the Devils played twice the following day, doubling the Minnesota Magicians 8-4 before falling 7-3 against Tommy Chicago later the same day.
The Blue Devils returned to play Tommy Chicago again Sunday falling 8-3.
Scoring details were unavailable.
Krieski and Pope were joined by Ethan Wilcox and Hailey Dietl a few weeks later at the Shock Doctor Shootout played at several rinks in the Twin Cities area as well as the final tournament.
The caliber was tough again in the State of Hockey, the Blue Devils opening April 29 with a tough 3-1 loss against All Out Hockey and returning the following day for a 5-2 loss against Hockey Factory from Fond du Lac, eventual championships in their 12-team division and a 2-2 draw against Arvada 2009. On Sunday, the team played in the 9th place match but settled for 10th following a 5-1 win against the same Arvada team.
The team turned in its best effort at the end, settling for fourth place at the Mountain Dew Blast played at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, MN, along with a few others. No game or roster details were available from this event played this past weekend but the ’09 team wrapped up fourth place.
’10 Blue Devils
This team that also included a trio of members from the Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers attended the same events as their ’09 teammates — Landen Uminski, Noah Backeberg and Jesse Arnold. Also, from the Sauk Prairie Flyers, Logan Harrington played in all three events while Michael Jolicoeur and Braden Slough joined for the final two.
At the Border Battle Tournament, the ’10 Devils played its first two games in St. Croix, falling 4-1 in its opening contest against MPH Gold before bouncing pack with a 3-2 win against Blaze (Gold) later on Friday April 22.
The Blue Devils stepped across the border to Woodbury and collected a 9-3 win against the Rivertown Muskies (Green) Saturday.
On Sunday, the Devils wrapped up in Hudson, dropping a 4-0 shutout against the Eskimos.
Scoring details were unavailable.
At the Shock Doctor tournament, the local players joined the Blue Devils in the 10-team ’10-Lower’ Division.
The team again continued its summer arena tour appearing in two more, beginning with a 4-1 loss against the Wisconsin Jr. Jets in Maple Grove, MN.
The remaining games were played at Pagel Rink in Minnetonka, MN. The Devils clearly found it to be like home, collecting a 6-5 win against Arvada 2010 Saturday morning and a 4-1 decision against Rivertown Muskies (Blue) later the same day.
An 8-2 win Sunday morning against Hockey Factory Lake Country advanced the Blue Devils into the Consolation Championship game and the locals stayed hot with its fourth straight win at Pagel, 7-4 against the MN Lakers (White).
The Blue Devils wrapped up its short Spring/Summer season with a spot at the Mountain Dew Blast this past weekend where the ’10 Blue Devils wrapped up its season with a tournament championship.
U-14 Girls Blue Devils
This division included four locals — Kayla Garbacz and Reese Olson who played as freshmen on the Badger Lightning varsity hockey team this past season along with Paige Othmer and Ryleigh Bychinski who reached the U-14 State Championship match with Tomah’s TNT Squad and will join the Lightning in the late fall.
This team first played at the Border Battle Tournament, opening play in Baldwin, WI with a 5-2 loss against the St. Croix Selects Friday April 22, before bouncing back the same day at Woodbury, MN with a 2-0 shutout against Ice Cougar East.
The following day, back in Baldwin, the U-14’s played Hometown Hockey to a 2-2 draw before wrapping it up in Baldwin with a 6-0 win against MPH Gold.
On May 6 the Devils travelled to the Twin Cities to compete in the Spring Stampede, opening with a 3-0 shutout against Minnesota Hook at the Buffalo Civic Center and following it up with another goose egg, 6-0 against the South DC Tigers at the Super Rinks in Blaine.
The Blue Devils moved on to a 4-4 draw in its third game (opponent unclear) at Blaine’s Fogerty Ice Arena, then moved on to Elk River Ice Arena to pick up a 5-2 win against Stampede Green.
That moved the Devils into the tournament championship game where they came up just short 3-1 against Northern Elite White.
The 14U squad finished it’s summer schedule with a spot at the Midwest Invite Tournament in Appleton May 13-15.
In its opening match, the Blue Devils dropped a 3-1 decision against the Green Bay Hornets. Garbacz scored the lone Blue Devils’ marker in the second period.
The following day Olson fired a pair and set up another with another goal from Bychinski as the Blue Devils got by the Milwaukee Tuskers 5-1. Later Saturday Hockey Factory Madison handed the locals a 2-0 loss.
On Sunday, Othmer led the way with a goal and assist, Olson adding another goal and Garbacz setting up one in a 4-0 shutout against the Fox Cities Bulldogs, wrapping up third place for the Devils.
U-12 Girls Blue Devils
Hailey Dietl did double duty playing for the U12 Girls Blue Devils as well as the ’09 squad.
The team played three events as well, beginning with the Ignite the Ice/Trailblazer Tournament April 8-10 in the Twin Cities.
Starting out with a 4-3 edge against the Red River Flames (Red) team on Friday night, they found the Red River Flames (Black) tougher on Saturday morning, falling 4-1. Later on Saturday, the Blue Devils responded with a 7-0 shutout win against Hometown Blue.
On Sunday, the second seeded Blue Devils collected a 4-1 win agianst Red River Flames which moved them into the tournament championship where they ran into Red River Flames (Black) again, settling for runners up 6-1.
Next up was Spring Stampede, May 6-8 also at the Elk River Ice Arena.
The Blue Devils opened with an 8-1 win against the Majors and also blew by Blue Army Red 8-0, then played the Railhawks to a 5-5 draw.
A 9-1 win in semis against the Majors sent the Blue Devils to a rematch with the Railhawks in the Championship game, but it was the Railhawks hoisting the hardware with a 1-0 win.
Wrapping up the season, the Blue Devils played in the U-12 Midwest-Invite in the Madison area, wrapping up the season in style with five straight wins and a championship trophy.
In the first game, the Devils downed Hockey Factory, Fond du Lac 7-1 on Friday at McFarland Community Ice Arena.
On Saturday, the Devils earned a 3-2 edge against Milwaukee Tuskers at Verona’s Eagles Nest, then returned to McFarland for a massive 13-0 shutout against Them Girls.
A 9-2 win in McFarland against the Hornets send the Devils to the championship game where it was joined by Dietl who played for the ’09 team in Minnesota on the same weekend.
Dietl scored twice and set up the other, leading the Devils to a 3-0 win in the championship game against the Tuskers. Brooke Lakowske was on the receiving end of the pass from Dietl for her goal and returned the favor with assists on both Dietl markers.
’11 Blue Devils
Rainier Scott, a member of the RWD Squirts played for the ’11 Blue Devils who attended the same three events as the older Blue Devils’ teams, beginning with the Border Battle April 22-24.
The competitition was tough for the ’11 Blue Devils who dropped four games. The first three, an 8-1 loss against the Guardians (Gray), 6-1 against the Blaze (Gold) and 8-1 against the OP Predators were played Friday and Saturday at St. Croix Rec Center and the final game, a 6-3 doubling by the MN Magicians was played in Hudson.
At the Shock Doctor event April 29-May 1, the Blue Devils played in the 10-team U-11 Lower Division.
After opening with a 4-3 win against the Wisconsin Titans at the Pagel Rink in Minnetonka Friday, the team moved to Eden Prairie Saturday, dropping an 8-1 decision against the Majors and settling for a 5-5 draw against MN Steel.
On Sunday, the U11’s wrapped up the weekend, dropping a 7-4 decision to the Wildcats, also at Eden Prairie.
Like the others, the U-11 Blue Devils finished the schedule at the Mountain Dew Blast which currently has no details available.
’12 Blue Devils
Briar Messer, another member of the RWD Squirt ‘A’ squad played for the ‘U12 Blue Devils which opened its season at the Border Battle event April 22-24 as well.
The Devils started on the Friday in Somerset dropping a 3-1 decision against the Guardians (Gray), then headed to Woodbury on the Minnesota side of the border, battling the Ice Hawks to a 3-3 draw Saturday morning.
Back in Somerset later Saturday, the Devils collected an 8-1 win against Lake’s Elite and they wrapped up play Sunday with a 6-3 doubling of Blaze (Gold).
At the end of April at the Shock Doctor tournament, the ’12 Blue Devils played all games at Shakopee Rink, starting out with a 7-0 win Friday against. the Daggers.
On Saturday, Devils collected an 8-1 win against the B-E Bombers (Red) but suffrered a 5-1 loss later in the day against the Fox City Bulldogs.
On Sunday, the Devils suffered a 9-1 loss against the AAA Velocity who later claimed the division championship while the Blue Devils moved on to down the Wisconsin Jets 5-1 and wrap up third place.
Like many of the other Blue Devils teams, the ’12 squad finished at the Mountain Dew Blast this past weekend, wrapping up the spring schedule with a third place showing.
’13-14 Blue Devils
Jase Uminski, Owen Meyer and Bentley Meyer played a part for the ’13-14 Blue Devils who attended the same three events as the other Blue Devils teams.
At the Border Battle, April 22-24, the ’13 Blue Devils won four straight games, beginning Friday with a 7-6 edge against the Blaze (Gold) squad in Hastings, MN.
On Saturday, the Devils pounded PH Grit 10-3 and downed the Guardians (Gray) 5-2, both games played in St. Croix.
The team wrapped up top spot with a rematch and a 9-3 win against Blaze (Gold).
Blue Devils were one of 16 teams at the Shock Doctor Shoot Out and got the tournament off to a great start with a 7-0 win against the WI Jr. Jets at Eden Prairie Friday followed by a 6-3 decision against Ice Edge (Blue) Saturday at the same rink.
Later Saturday, the Blue Devils dropped an 8-1 decision against the MN Lakers at Braemar Arena in Edina.
Those results put the team into a 7th place battle against the same Guardians (Gray) team it played a few weeks earlier. The Devils clinched the spot with a 5-3 edge.
Last weekend, the ’13 Blue Devils finished the schedule at the Mountain Dew Blast, reaching the championship game.