RWD third at Onalaska tournament

After dropping its opening game Friday (July 23), the RWD Cheavers charged back with three straight wins to wrap up third spot at a summer tournament at the Onalaska Omni Center.

Led by a solid group of incoming seniors, it was a fun weekend with Billy Oakes stepping in behind the bench with RWD Head Coach Neil Mattson away for the weekend.

The RWD Cheavers picked up wins in three of four games to claim third place at a tournament in Onalaska July 23-25.

After wrapping up a 2-1 record through three round robin games, the Cheavers finished second in its pool and grabbed a 3-1 win against former Badger North Conference rival Waunakee Warriors in a battle of second place teams Sunday morning.

The Cheavers dropped a 4-0 decision to the Brookfield Stars on Friday night before returning Saturday to earn a 7-1 decision against the Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche in that team’s home barn, then clinching second place with a 4-1 win against the Viroqua Blackhawks Saturday evening.


RWD Cheavers 1 Brookfield Stars 4

After the tournament Sunday, Oakes said he thought RWD came out a bit flat on Friday, finding its game in the final 15-minutes but already out of it by then as the Stars scored twice in each of the first two frames.

Cheavers were kept off the shot clock entirely through the first period and sophomore Brady Baldwin counted the team’s only goal unassisted on one of four third period shots.

Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes kicked out a dozen shots for the Cheaves and freshman Alex Griebe came on later to save another seven.


RWD Cheavers 7 Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche 1

RWD bounced back with a big win Saturday morning, scoring twice in the opening period, including its first just 2:05 into the contest by junior John Scott, his first of three in the game.

Scott also fired the other first period goal, the game winner, late in the period, senior Clayton Pfaff and junior Caleb Eastman counting middle period markers.

Griebe went the distance in goal, turning aside 17 of 18 shot, the only one to get by him coming early in the third.

The Cheavers responded with three more goals, from Eastman, Scott and finally, senior Mitchell Henke. Senior Carter Scully along with juniors Nate Stando and Logan Demars both collected assists in the contest.

RWD Cheavers 4 Viroqua Blackhawks 1

Saturday night, Cheavers blasted off quickly again, Pfaff firing an unassisted regular strength goal before the end of the opening minute and Yevgeny Dedun converted a feed from Baldwin on a powerplay less than a minute later to add the game winner.

Viroqua pulled one back late in the opening period but that was as close as they got, Baldwin and Scott notching unassisted goals in the middle period to put this one away.

Oakes picked up the win in goal for the Cheavers, stopping all but one Viroqua shot.

RWD Cheavers 3 Waunakee Warriors 1

A change in the Badger Conferences for the upcoming season sees an end to 11 seasons as rivalry with the Waunakee Warriors, but seeing those purple jerseys still gets the Cheavers fired up.

That was certainly the case Sunday with a more chippy and emotional contest than the other three.

RWD notched the first goal once again, Eastman relaying a feed from Stando with 3:33 to go in the opening segment, but a goal in the final minute of the second had the Warriors at the break.

The Cheavers came out fired up for the final 15 minutes and despite a trio of third period infractions, it was the Cheavers providing all the offense as well.

Henke sank the game winner from Baldwin and Scott’s fifth of the weekend added insurance a short time later.

Griebe kicked out 22 of 23 to pick up the win in goal.

Many of the Cheavers players will turn their focus to football, soccer or cross country as they prepare for the varsity fall seasons.

Captains practices for both RWD and Baraboo/Portage will kick off in early September at the Lake Delton Ice Arena and the first practice of the 2021-22 regular season will take place in early November.

Lightning closes gap but comes up just short in Viroqua

By Jim den Hollander


As they boarded the bus for Viroqua on Monday (Jan. 11), the Badger Lightning varsity girls hockey team knew it was in tough. After all, the last meeting, played at Pierce Park Pavilion saw the visiting Blackhawks skating off with an 11-3 win in the season opener on Dec. 3.

So despite absorbing another defeat, the Lightning team and Head Coach Rick Capener had to be somewhat pleased returning home from Viroqua Community Arena having surrendered a 3-1 decision.

The Lightning showed improvement on the stats sheet. After surrendering 41 shots last time, the locals limited the home side to 30 in Viroqua while firing 20 of their own, a couple more than last time.

Teams were past the halfway mark before the host Blackhawks opened the scoring with a goal from Cadence Dehlin.

Kayla Capener responded with the lone Lightning goal – her seventh of the season —  with 91 seconds to play in the middle period but the Hawks went in front again just 25 seconds later as Erin Simonson hit the mesh. Dehlin added another in the third to wrap up the scoring in a much closer contest than the Hawks likely expected.

Freshman Alyssa Gada inched a little close to that elusive .900 Save Percentage plateau with a  27-save contest, leaving her at .892.

The loss dropped the Lightning to 2-7 on the season and they will host the 0-1 Onalaska Hilltoppers Thursday at Pierce Park Pavilion with a 7 p.m. opening faceoff. The Lightning will also be home Tuesday for a rematch against the Warbirds who defeated them 5-2 on Jan. 4.

Kayla Capener tied the game briefly late in the second period.


Varsity Cheavers looking to make a little more history

By Jim den Hollander


The RWD varsity Cheavers took a giant step in what could be a memorable season – at least if history means anything.

The Cheavers collected their fourth Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic at Lake Delton Ice Arena in the 11th year of the tournament.

Of the three previous titles, two have gone to RWD varsity teams that have gone on to claim a Sectional championship and earn a berth at State quarterfinals.

This season’s team is considered young and that is setting the bar perhaps a little too high, but that box, which is part of the previous two title runs, has now been checked. The first ‘Classic’ was held in the inaugural season of the RWD Co-operative effort between Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Mauston High Schools.

The first event was also the only one to see a team from outside of Wisconsin involved and the most exciting championship game of the tournament so far saw the Cheavers winning in overtime against Prairie Ridge from Illinois. The Cheavers won its first six games at the tournament, capturing the second title as well with a 5-2 win against Kenosha, the same team that handed RWD its first tournament defeat in the opening round a year later.

The other RWD title came in the 2014 version of the tournament and it was the turning point on a season that saw the team start out 5-4 before three wins led to the tournament title, doubling as the first three wins in a 19-game unbeaten string, the final one a 4-0 win against rival Baraboo/Portage in Onalaska for its second Sectional Championship.

Following is a quick look at the first 11 Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic tournaments – how the Cheavers fared and who won the event.


2010 – Cheavers defeat Sauk Prairie 8-2, the qualify for the championship game with a 6-0 win against Steven’s Point Pacelli before capturing a thriller in overtime against Prairie Ridge, the only Illinois-based team to ever participate in the event.


2011 – Once again RWD led off with a win against Sauk Prairie, this time a 4-1 decision before a 9-1 win against Madison Lafollette sent the team to its second straight championship game, won against Kenosha 5-2.


2012 – The string ended in the opening round of this event as Kenosha avenged its championship loss the previous season with a 6-5 overtime win to send RWD to the losers’ side of the bracket for the first time.

The Cheavers rallied with a 3-1 win against Beloit Memorial and a 3-2 win against Beaver Dam to finish fifth overall.

Kenosha Thunder took the Monk’s title home following a 3-2 win against West Salem in the championship game.


2013 – After opening with a 3-0 win against West Berlin, the Cheavers were denied a spot in the championship following a 5-1 loss to Fox Cities Stars who went on to hand West Salem its second straight 3-2 defeat in the championship game.

The Cheavers dropped a 5-4 decision to Viroqua Blackhawks in the third-place game.


2014 – The Cheavers rebounded from its first losing record the previous season with its third title in five seasons, starting out with a 2-0 win against Stoughton and back-to-back 5-2 wins against Menomonie and, in the championship, Beloit Memorial. Those were the first three games of the 19-game unbeaten string that marched RWD all the way to the State Championship tournament.


2015 – After defeating DeForest Norskies in a combination tournament/Conference game, the Cheavers shutout New Berlin to reach the championship game again. For the first and only time, the Cheavers fell in the Championship match 3-1 against the Stoughton Vikings.


2016 – Once again the Cheavers opened with DeForest, but this time it was the Norskies moving on to the winners’ side with a 3-2 win. A 4-0 win against Tomah and another win against Stoughton wrapped up fifth place for the Cheavers.

Wisconsin Rapids claimed the tournament title with a 7-3 win against New Berlin.


2017 – All three games for RWD went to extra time in 2017. After a hard-fought 6-5 win against McFarland in its first game, the Cheavers fell to Wisconsin Rapids in extra time in the middle round, before earning a 5-4 win in overtime against DeForest in the third-place game.

The Championship game also went to overtime as Fox Cities denied Rapids back-to-back burgers with a 3-2 overtime win, becoming the first team, apart from the Cheavers to win a second Monk’s title.


2018 – After a 4-0 win against Stoughton in the opening round, the Cheavers missed on a berth in the championship game, denied by 5-3 loss to McFarland who went on to drop a 3-1 decision to Tomah/Sparta in the championship match.

The Cheavers settled for third place with a 5-2 win against DeForest.


2019 – After opening the tournament with a 6-0 win against the Avalanche ( La Crosse), the Cheavers lost to McFarland for a 6-5 decision to McFarland once again, before dropping a 4-2 decision to DeForest in the third-place match.

The McFarland Spartans moved on to claim the Cheeseburgers with a 7-2 decision against Rapids who reached the title match three times in four seasons but won it only once.


2020 – The field was cut in half for this season and the Cheavers became the first team to not allow a goal in tournament play, following up a 5-0 win in the opener against Tomah/Sparta with its most lopsided win ever against the Red Raiders, 7-0.

Third place went to Tomah/Sparta following a 5-1 win against Viroqua.

Thanks to Gary Wiles and Aaron Kirby (Championship pic) for photos below.







Uminski nets winner in bantam Cheavers’ comeback win

By Jim den Hollander


After a tough loss the previous day, the RWD Bantam Cheavers used a third period rally to snatch a 4-3 win away from the Verona Wildcats ‘B’ squad at Reedsburg Arena Community Arena (RACA) on Sunday (December 20).

The Wildcats scored the only goal of the opening period but Tye Barney evened things up early in the second from Kaden Uminski and Tristan Edgerton.

Wildcats went back in front and padded its lead with two goals in the final four minutes to carry a 3-1 cushion into the final frame.

The Cheavers went to work quick though, erasing the deficit with two goals in the first 2:19 of the period. Alec Breunig started the rally converting a pass from Kayla Garbacz and Nolan Pope tied things up just 59 seconds later from Barney.

That set the stage for Uminski’s powerplay goal from the blueline with 7:29 to play, Pope and Carter Renneberg helping.

Alex Griebe denied every Wildcats chance after that, getting the Cheavers to the finish line with a 19-save win in goal.

RWD boosted its record to 14-3 with the win and after a holiday weekend off, the Cheavers will head back into action with three home games this weekend, the most interesting one an 11:45 a.m. meeting with the Monroe bantams – a possible Regional rival  at 11:45 a.m. Saturday (January 2, 2021) Monroe handed the Cheavers its most lopsided defeat so far this season at a tournament in Black River Falls Dec. 5.

Before that the bantams will take on Viroqua at 9:15 a.m. in their only previous meeting, the Bantam Cheavers doubled Viroqua 4-2, also at RACA. On Sunday, the Cheavers will play its eighth straight home game, entertaining Stevens Point Area Ice Hawks  ‘B’ Bantams in a 10:45 a.m. meeting.

Caden Uminski fired the game winner against the Wildcats

Oakes shutout paces Cheavers to opening win at Monk’s Classic

By Jim den Hollander


The RWD varsity Cheavers moved to within a win of capturing the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic Championship with a 5-0 win against Tomah/Sparta on Saturday (Dec. 26.)

This season’s abbreviated version of the annual Christmas Holiday tournament sees four teams, the Viroqua Blackhawks and Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders taking part as well.

The second game of the day Saturday saw junior goaltender, Cooper Oakes collecting his second shutout of the season and the Cheavers its third in eight games and the game winner came from junior Trevor Slaght who dove across the crease to knock in a rebound 3:23 into the contest. Junior Clayton Pfaff and sophomore John Scott collected assists on the first period’s only goal.

Senior Danny Ely doubled the margin in the opening minute of the second period from freshman Brady Baldwin and the same two combined on the third goal, this time Baldwin pulling the trigger with help from Ely and sophomore Caden Brandt.

Brandt fired the final two goals, his 11th and 12th of the season, ranking him among the state’s top scorers. The first came in the second with help from Slaght and senior defenseman Connor Schyvinck and the other came with under four minutes to go from Ely and Slaght. Both were powerplay goals, the Cheavers scoring on its only two opportunities in the contest while denying Tomah/Sparta on its two chances.

Brandt is not the only RWD player turning heads this season. The 14 assists collected by Ely is third best in state this season and he is also among the top dozen points  with 19.

Defensively, Oakes is in the top dozen in Goals Against Average (2.00); Save Percentage (.927) and wins (4).

In the earlier contest the Red Raiders defeating the Blackhawks 10-2 so the Monk’s Cheesesburger Classic will be decided Sunday (Dec. 27) at 5 p.m. at the Lake Delton Ice Arena between the Cheavers and Red Raiders.

In an earlier meeting, the Cheavers grabbed a 2-1 win against the Red Raiders at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) to move to 2-0 on the season.

Cheavers collect another goose egg

By Jim den Hollander


Two goals each from Connor Schyvinck, Caden Brandt and Clayton Pfaff led the RWD Cheavers to its second straight shutout with a 9-0 win Saturday (Dec. 19) at Viroqua Community Arena againt the host Viroqua Blackhawks.

The Cheavers all but put this one away in the opening period, connecting on five of its 10 shots to pile up a big 5-0 cushion.

The game winner came from sophomore Caden Brandt, the team’s top shooter early in the season, before the end of the first period.

After Brandt’s unassisted goal, others came from: freshman, Brady Baldwin, senior Connor Schyvinck, a second for Brandt and finally, junior Clayton Pfaff.

Schyvinck, Pfaff and Brandt each added an assist in the period, senior Danny Ely setting up a pair and junior Trevor Slaght also adding a helper.

Four more in the second wrapped up the scoring, for the Cheavers beginning with a goal for Slaght, from Pfaff in the third minute.

Pfaff, Schyvinck and Ely collected the other goals, Slaght adding two more assists and others for Schyvinck, Ely and junior Grant Marsich.

The shutout was the second in a row for the team and the first for sophomore Trace Wiles, the third RWD goaltender to collect a varsity win this season.


Peewee Cheavers sweep Polar Caps, drop pair to Hawks

The RWD Peewee ‘A’ Cheavers wrapped up a split on the December 11-13 weekend, taking two from the East Madison Patriots on Saturday (Dec. 12)  at Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) before hitting the road Sunday and dropping two against the host Viroqua Blackhawks.

In the first meeting against the Patriots, the home team rallied with four goals in a little under six minutes to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead and ultimately, a 4-3 win.

The Cheavers left no doubt in the second meeting, piling up a 4-0 first period lead on its way to a 6-0 shutout win.


In the first game Sunday, the RWD squad dropped a 7-3 decision in the first game and 5-3 in the wrap up contest.


Saturday, December 12

Polar Caps 3 @ Cheavers 4

Polar Caps 0 @ Cheavers 6

The first game against Madison saw the Cheavers falling behind 2-0 in the first period and the same cushion was intact to start the third.

Landen Uminski opened the floodgates 4:15 into the final period with a powerplay goal, assisted by Elizabeth Haag.

An unassisted tally by Hailey Dietl tied the game at the 6:24 mark and Ethan Wilcox put the home team in front to stay from Tyler Krieski and Paige Othmer 44 seconds later. Uminski’s second, from Dietl padded the lead, but turned into the game winner when the Pats struck back for one more in the final period.

Jordan Kowalski kicked out 15 shots to collect the win in goal, but he saved his best for the next game, posting his sixth shutout of the season.

Dietl scored twice in the second game, Uminski adding a goal and two assists. Other goals came from Haag, Wyatt Arnold, and RJ Manley with assists for Krieski and Wilcox (2).


Sunday, December 13

Cheavers 3 @ Blackhawks 7

Cheavers 3 @ Blackhawks 5

At Viroqua, the Cheavers ran into a team with a high-powered offense that handed them back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

‘In the first game, the Cheavers matched the Hawks through a period, trailing 3-2 entering the second with goals from Kowalski and Dietl and an assist for Krieski.

The home side added two more in the second and another pair in the third before  Haag converted a pass from Manley late in the frame.

After five goals in the first period of the first period, teams failed to find the mark in the opening frame of the getaway game but made up for it with six second period tallies – unfortunately, four of them for the Blackhawks.

Manley collected an assist on a Krieski goal to open the scoring then scored the second himself a little over a minute later. Othmer also picked up an assist on the first goal.

Teams traded goals in the final period, Viroqua going up 5-2 before Uminski rounded out the scoring with a set up for Dietl.

The weekend split moved the Peewee Cheavers to 12-6 on the season.


Thunderbirds hit win column and avenge loss to Mustangs

By Jim den Hollander


The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team got a rare chance to avenge a non-conference defeat with a 5-3 win against Menomonie Mustangs on Saturday (December 11).

The win by the same score Mustangs downed them in the season opener broke the Thunderbirds into the win column for the first time in four tries and on this night, the visitors never trailed.

It was a total team effort with five different goal scorers stepping up in the contest, beginning with junior Kyle Poole who finished with help from junior Luna Lavin and Alex Rietmann 6:41 into the contest.

The Mustangs pulled even 1:45 later but Campbell Koseor put the Thunderbirds into the lead spot again just 67 after that and they carried that lead into the middle period. Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams had assists on the Koseor goal.

Fitzwilliams notched an unassisted goal 5:06 into the middle period, the fifth straight even strength goal of the game and the T-Birds collected big momentum late the frame with a ‘shorty’ off the stick of Rietmann.

Mustangs cut the lead to a pair early enough in the final period to at least entertain thoughts of a comeback, but Aidan Collins erased them just 35-seconds later, restoring the three-goal cushion from Carson Zick.

The Mustangs pulled one more back but with just 12 seconds left in the contest it was way too little and too late.

Andrew Schaetzl made his fourth start of the season in goal for the Thunderbirds, turning aside 28 shots to grab his first win of the campaign.

While the Thunderbirds moved to 1-3 on the season a busy Mustangs team fell to 2-4. They were scheduled to meet Eau-Claire North Huskies on Tuesday while the Thunderbirds were on the road the same night to take on the Viroqua Blackhawks and on Thursday they will reignite the annual rivalry against RWD Cheavers at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA).

Bowden and Capener lead Badger Lightning

By Jim den Hollander


The Badger Lightning varsity girl’s hockey team made up of players from Sauk County and area high schools opened the 2020-21 WIAA season with  a split in a pair of home games and also dropped its first road test.

The Viroqua Blackhawks handed the Lightning a tough 11-3 loss in its opener Thursday (December 3) but the Lightning bounced back in its second straight home game with a 5-2 decision against the Brookfield Glacier on Saturday.

Following that, the Lightning hit the road to the Kettle Moraine Ice Center in West Bend, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Lakeshore Lightning.

Following it a quick look at all three games.

Viroqua Blackhawks 11 @ Badger Lightning 3

Three goals in the opening seven minutes at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo sent the Blackhawks on its way but the host Lightning trimmed the lead to 4-2 by the end of the first period. Another five unanswered in the middle period had the visitors in complete control.

The combination of Bella Bowden and Kayla Capener was a bright spot for Lightning as the pair combined for three points apiece – Bowden with two goals and an assist and Capener with the other goal and a couple helpers.

Lily McPherson was the third member of the combo, picking up a couple assists as well. The Hawks spread out its scoring well, four different shooters notching a pair of goals in the contest.

Kaitlyn Elder was the busiest player on the ice, facing 42 shots in goal for the Lightning.


Brookfield Glacier 2 @ Badger Lightning 5

The Lightning fought back from an early deficit to record its first win of the season Saturday, scoring five straight before Glacier also closed out the scoring with less than two minutes to play in the contest.

Bowden fired her third of the season tying the game with help from Capener and Signe Begalske and Capener put the Lightning in front to stay 1:27 from the end of the opening segment on a feed from Carson Blosenski.

The lone goal of the middle period was the game winner, notched by Mallory Ruhland with help from Lani Selje.

Begalske and Capener fired third period goals, Capener’s into an empty cage with just over two minutes to play. Bowden and Blosenski collected assists on the Begalske goal.

Freshman Alyssa Gada collected the win in her first varsity contest between the pipes, stopping 19 of 21 Glacier shots in a game that saw the home side outshot 21-17.


Badger Lighting 1 @ Lakeshore Lightning 4

This time the Badger Lightning scored first, Bowden finding the back of the net 6:05 into the contest with help coming from Capener and Madchen Ewig.

Jillian Bilsborough’s goal four seconds from the end of the opening period had teams even heading to the middle frame where the Lightning added two more. The final goal came as time expired with Badger Lightning goaltender, Gada on the bench in favor of an extra attacker.

Gada stopped 22 of 25 in goal for the local squad.


Next up – Northern trip

The trip to West Bend kicked off a stretch of five straight road games for the Lightning, beginning with a pair on a Northern swing Saturday. The Lightning will be in Eagle River for a noon faceoff against Northland Pines Eagles, then moves on to Rhinelander for a 6 p.m. contest against the Northern Edge.

Next home game for the Lightning will be on December 22 against the Arrowhead Warhawks at Pierce Park Pavilion with a 7 p.m. faceoff.


Badger Lightning faces off new season Thursday

By Jim den Hollander


The Badger Lightning varsity girls hockey team which includes players from several area high schools, will open its 2020-21 regular season Thursday on home ice at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.

The Lightning will open with a match against Badger Conference rival, the Viroqua Blackhawks with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

The game will be a replay of 2019-20 which also opened against the Hawks, but at Viroqua, the home team pulling out a 6-3 win. The score was identical when the Lightning played host in mid-January again at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

Due to Covid restrictions, Pierce Park does not allow spectators. However, the game will be streamed online at

The Lightning is also scheduled to play host to the Brookfield Glacier from the Eastern Shores Conference Saturday in a another contest at Pierce Park Pavilion. The two did not faceoff against each other last season.