Cheavers bounce back from so-so tourney showing

By Jim den Hollander  


Unable to continue a two-year run as the champions of their own tournament, the Dells Ducks bounced back with some solid and promising performances to start the new calendar year. 

The Sauk Prairie Eagles robbed them of a chance to mount a nice string, but the team is certainly rounding into shape for a solid regular season homestretch run. 

Hopes of a third straight home tournament trophy ended quickly as the Kenosha Thunder edged them 2-1 on Dec. 28 in the opening round of the newly named Bobber’s Winter Classic, sending the home side to the consolation side of the draw. 

The Rice Lake Warriors compounded the pain with a 3-1 win against the Cheavers the following day sending them to the seventh-place final for the first time ever. 

The Cheavers took out frustrations with a 7-0 against the Avalanche made up of La Crosse area schools to avoid a winless showing at the event. 

That win started some momentum for the Cheavers who returned from the Christmas Break with another goose egg – 8-0 against the visiting Waupaca Comets Jan. 3 and an impressive 2-1 edge in its return to Badger West Conference play on home ice against the Oregon Panthers.  

The run ended though with a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the host Sauk Prairie Eagles at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Jan. 10). 

At the Winter Classic, the Cheavers scored the lone goal of the first period against Kenosha but couldn’t add another. The Thunder scored twice about four minutes apart in the final period. Against the Warriors it was the visitors on the board with the lone goal in both the first and second period before the Cheavers pulled one back early in the third. An empty netter with nine seconds to play clinched the win for the Warriors. 

Against the Avs, the Cheavers scored once in the opening period adding two more in the second and putting it away with a four-goal final frame. 

The Cheavers blitzed Waupaca with four first period markers, adding two in both the second and final periods. 

The win on home ice against the Panthers was satisfying as it avenged a 3-2 overtime defeat in Oregon back on Dec. 2. A pair of first period goals was enough for the win but the Panthers gained some consolation, ending a stretch of 154:45 of shutout hockey for sophomore Alex Griebe in the second period.  

Goaltender Alex Griebe, shown here against the Sauk Prairie Eagles had a stretch of more than 150 minutes of shutout hockey and Caden Brandt (#15) paced the offense with 11 points in a six-game stretch.
Photo Courtesy Jessica Othmer

At SPARC, the Cheavers were looking for a little more revenge having dropped its earlier home game against the Eagles 4-3 in overtime Dec. 6. 

Teams were even at 2-2 after a period but the Cheavers were in control with a 4-2 cushion heading to the third. The host Eagles, still with a shot at a share of the conference title battled back in the third, scoring the game winner just 20 seconds from the final horn. 

Offensively, senior Caden Brandt returned from injury and helped the Cheavers with five goals and 11 points over the six-game stretch, senior John Scott chipping in six goals and eight points. Another senior, Nate Stando enjoyed an offensive explosion, putting up five goals and seven points while senior Carsen Brandt added a goal and four helpers. 

Senior Lukas Vana had four set ups, junior Andrey Tougas adding two goals and an assist and senior Logan DeMars collecting three assists. Junior Trey Lariden scored twice, junior Brady Baldwin added a goal and assist. Senior Caleb Eastman notched a goal and other assists came from sophomore Kaden Uminski and junior Iszak Elder. 

Game winners came from Lariden, Scott and Stando. 

In goal, despite a 3-3 record through the stretch, Griebe racked up the long shutout stretch and overall kicked out 108 of 118 shots for a save percentage of .915. 

A postponed Badger Challenge game (The Cheavers will now host DeForest Norskies on Jan. 30) leaves a rare stretch of nine days without a game. Next up will be a game at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds. The Cheavers will renew the rivalry and host a ‘Hometown Hero’ game Thursday. 


JV Cheavers shutout streak continues in Waupaca

By Jim den Hollander 


The RWD junior varsity Cheavers extended its current shutout streak to an unreal five game, setting the stage for the varsity goose egg with a 1-0 edge of its own on the road against the Waupaca Comets on Tuesday (Jan. 4). 

Alex Griebe once again backstopped the win which has seen him and his defensive teammates playing more than 250 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.  

For his part, Griebe stopped 16 shots while his Comets counterpart, senior Brody Berens stopped all but one of the 26 shots he faced for what normally be an awesome night between the pipes.  

Junior Caleb Eastman fired the first and game winning goal in the sixth minute of the second period with assists for junior Nate Stando and first year Nolan Pope.  

The win is the seventh straight for the now 10-2 JV Cheavers who will look to grab another win on home ice Thursday (Jan. 6) when the Oregon Panthers pay a visit.  

Cheavers roll over Comets for sixth straight win

By Jim den Hollander 


Inspired by a great performance at the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic tournament over the Christmas holidays, the RWD varsity Cheavers headed into the post-Christmas portion of the schedule with another impressive win. 

The Cheavers travelled to Waupaca and collected a 6-0 shutout win against the host Comets, extending its current winning streak to six games.  

The potent offense struck quick, senior Trevor Slaght notching his second goal in five games since returning from an off-season injury in the game’s third minute, from senior C.J. Pfaff.  

That stood up as the game winner, but the Cheavers added more in the opening 17 minutes. Junior Caden Brandt and senior Tomas Korndorfer fired goals in the middle part of the period before Slaght found the net for another.  

Junior John Scott fired the lone middle period goal, his eighth of the season and sixth in the past four games and Korndorfer wrapped it up with his second of the contest and fifth of the season in the final period.  

Pfaff and junior Carsen Brandt both picked up a pair of assists in the game with singles for Slaght, senior Grant Marsich and sophomore Brady Baldwin. 

Cooper Oakes kicked out all 27 shots he faced to record his fourth shutout of the season and once again smash his own record for career shutouts with his 13th

The win boosted the Cheavers’ overall record to 10-5 while the host Comets slipped to 7-6 (2-1 in Great Northern Conference). 

Huge test ahead  

The Cheavers are hoping to carry some momentum from its recent streak into a massive conference test on home ice Thursday as they kick off the second half of the Badger West Conference against the Oregon Panthers.  

Both teams are 3-2, the Panthers collecting a 5-1 win in the first half meeting in Oregon.  

The Panthers entered the week ranked second among Division 2 teams in the state according 

While the Cheavers are riding a five-game winning streak, the Panthers dropped three in a row after defeating RWD before winning its most recent pair against Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc (KMMO) and Fox Cities at a holiday tournament hosted by KMMO. 

Full team effort results in Monk’s tourney win

By Jim den Hollander 


Talk about a team effort! 

The RWD Cheavers wrapped up its second straight and fifth overall Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic Dec. 30 with the best effort of the season so far from every player involved in a 5-2 win against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders.

As a result, the team allowed the game’s first goal 33 seconds in, then scored five of the next six for a dominant 5-2 win and a platter full of Monk’s Cheeseburgers. 

The Championship game brought together the same two teams as last year—a game won 6-0 by the home side. In between through, the Red Raiders collected a 3-2 win in the season opening contest with wide 36-15 edge on the shot clock. 

This time around, the Cheavers held a one-shot edge in all three periods on its way to a 31-28 total. Teams were even at 1-1 and 2-2 after the first two periods respectively, the Cheavers showing itself to have a little more in the gas tank heading into the third period of the game and ninth period in a 48-hour stretch. 

Senior C.J. Pfaff sank his first of a pair of third period goals early in the final period to put the Cheavers in front to stay, but a major penalty infraction a short time later gave the home side another challenge to overcome.  

A short time later though on the kill, Pfaff found junior Caden Brandt that sent him on an end-to-end rush and a flip shot over the stick of Rapids’ goaltender, senior Dakota Blasky to pad the lead and add a little insurance. 

Pfaff added a clincher a short time later, his third point of the period, unassisted after picking off a cross ice pass in the offensive zone. 

Sophomore Brady Baldwin fired the team’s first period goal, from senior Tomas Kordorfer and Brandt notched his first of two in the middle period from senior Trevor Slaght. 

Senior Cooper Oakes picked up the win in goal but was forced to the bench with a little under four minutes to play after cracking the blade on one of his skates. That allowed freshman Alex Griebe a chance to make his varsity debut on a grand stage. 

A great weekend effort and a great prize for the effort. Congrats to the RWD Cheavers for its second consecutive tournament win and congrats to Monk’s for making a mean Cheeseburger.

Griebe, currently riding a four-game shutout streak as the junior varsity goaltender, teammed up with his mates to keep the crease clean four the final few minutes, triggering the celebration. 

At the buzzer, RWD celebrates a 5-2 win against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders and its second consecutive Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic Championship

Solid play at this tournament is often used as a trigger to a big second half for the Cheavers. This season the Cheavers have flirted with the .500 mark, just under or just over, but the three wins at the Lake Delton Ice Arena has the team riding a five-game winning streak with a record of 9-5 heading into 2022. 

The second half begins with a non-conference test against the Waupaca Comets (7-5, 2-1 Great Northern) at the Waupaca Expo Center Tuesday (Jan. 4) at 7 p.m.  

Next home game will see the team returning to Badger West Conference play against the Oregon Panthers (9-5, 3-2 Badger West). The same two teams met in Oregon on Dec. 14, the host Panthers collecting a 5-1 win. 

RWD faces tough schedule in 2021-22

By Jim den Hollander


The focus of high school sports is currently fall sports – football, cross country, boys’ soccer, girl’s golf and tennis, swimming, and volleyball.

We know several players from local teams are already taking part in before/after programs and varsity high school teams will be stepping on the ice in the next few days or weeks to begin captain’s practices, allowing students to begin preparing for their upcoming seasons.

For the RWD Cheavers, the actual season will begin Nov. 5 with a get together at Monk’s with practices getting underway three days later.

The annual pre-season scrimmages will take place at West Salem with both the host Panthers and DeForest Norskies taking part.

For the seventh time in nine seasons, the Cheavers will open the campaign against the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Red Raiders. The other two times the teams squared off in the second game of the campaign. This time around the game will be played at the South Wood County Recreation Center.

New this season will be a Thanksgiving Weekend tournament in Somerset and the other Holiday tournament, the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic will return to its normal eight-team field with several new teams raising the caliber of the event.

The Somerset event will involve both the varsity and junior varsity teams with other teams from Eau Claire North, New Richmond and of course, the host Somerset teams taking part.

The RWD varsity team will open the event on Nov. 26 against the Eau Claire North Huskies immediately followed by the JV Cheavers against the New Richmond JV Tigers.  Opponents and start times for the second day will depend on game results.

The Monk’s Battle for the Cheeseburger Classic will see familiar teams like Wisconsin Rapids, Tomah, McFarland, and Kenosha, but will also this season involve the Onalaska Hilltoppers, La Crescent Lancers and River Falls Wildcats.

Here is a look at the RWD Cheavers’ schedule as of Sept. 1. Games and start times are subject to change between now and the start of the season.

One different thing this season will be the Badger Conference Challenge which will pit teams from the Badger West against the Badger East. Opponents and start times will be determined based on standings at the time and the site is still to be determined as well. It will be played Jan. 15.

Badger West Conference games are in bold type.


23 — @ Wisconsin Rapids

26-27 — @ Somerset Spartans Holiday Tournament

30 — vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers


3 – vs. Edgewood Crusaders

7 – vs. Baraboo Thunderbirds

9 — @ Monroe Cheesemakers

11 – vs. Baldwin-Woodville Hawks

14 — @ Oregon Panthers

17 – vs. Sauk Prairie Eagles

21 — @ Tomah Timberwolves


January 2022

4 — @ Waupaca Comets

6 or 8 — @ Edgewood Crusaders

11 — @ Baraboo Thunderbirds

15 — @ Badger Conference Challenge

20 – vs. Monroe Cheesemakers

25 – vs. Oregon Panthers

27-29 JV Tournament at Lake Delton Ice Arena (Hosted by DeForest)


1 – @ Sauk Prairie Eagles (JV @ Monroe)

4 — @ Hayward Hurricanes

5 — @ Ashland Oredockers

8 – vs. Janesville Bluebirds

Peewee B Flyers take a pair from Comets at SPARC

By Jim den Hollander


The Sauk Prairie Peewee B Flyers made the trek to Waupaca to collect a pair of wins against the host Peewee Comets.

After a 3-0 shutout win in the opening contest, teams returned a few hours later and notched a 4-1 decision at Waupaca Expo Center.

In the opening match, Ethan Goodman recorded a 15-save shutout for the Flyers with the game winning goal scored by Cyril Welch. The other two goals came from Jacob Wiegmann and all three goals were unassisted.

Teams returned later for a rematch. This time the Flyers carried a 2-0 lead out of the first period and were up 2-1 heading to the third.

Caden Argall converted a pass from Blake Dederich for the first Flyers’ goal and Ryan Jorganson sank the game winner from Ethan Goodman in the game’s fourth minute.

Kash Caldwell restored the two-goal cushion early in the final period from Baryn McNeish and Argall’s second added some insurance with a little under four minutes to play.

Jameson Ballweg stopped 16 of 17 in goal for the Flyer to collect the victory which raised the team’s overall record to 15-8.

The Peewee ‘B’ Flyers have a big game ahead as they take on the RWD ‘B’ Cheavers at 12:15 p.m. at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) for the Region 4 berth at the WAHL Peewee 3B Championship tournament which will be played at Rhinelander.


Koseor leads Thunderbirds to impressive home win

By Jim den Hollander


Home ice appears to be the best fix for any ailments the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team is facing.

After a pair of close, but ultimately unsuccessful road contests through the week, the Thunderbirds returned home Saturday (Jan. 9) and collected a 4-2 win against the visiting Waupaca Comets at Pierce Park Pavilion

Campbell Koseor led the charge for the Thunderbirds, scoring a goal and assisting on the other three.

Thunderbirds carried a 1-0 cushion out of the opening period, Alex Rietmann scoring the lone marker from Koseor.

Two goals in the first three minutes of the middle period padded the margin, the first by Koseor with help from Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams and the other scored by Luke Schweda , from Koseor and Peyton Sloan.

The Comets pulled one back near the halfway mark of the period but Fitzwilliams restored the three-goal cushion with two ticks on the clock, assisted by Koseor and Scanlan.

The Comets pulled one back in the third period but got no closer.

Andrew Schaetzl made his 12th straight start in goal and just days and he helped the team snap a two-game losing skid with a 32-save win.

Lately the Thunderbirds have looked their best in the opening period and Saturday was no different as the home team peppered the Comets’ keeper with a 21-6 edge in shots through the frame. Comets turned the tables though in the second, holding a 20-10 edge.

Koseor’s four points vaulted him into the overall team scoring lead with 16-points on the season so far, one more than Fitzwilliams.

Thunderbirds kick off a busy week with another home contest, Tuesday against the McFarland Spartans and the team will travel to Sauk Prairie for a Thursday night contest against the Eagles. On Dec. 11, the Eagles collected an 8-2 win against the Thunderbirds.

Wrapping up the week, the Thunderbirds will host another Saturday night contest against its biggest rival, the RWD Cheavers with a 7 p.m. faceoff.

Thunderbirds dominate shot clock but not scoreboard against Avs

By Jim den Hollander


The Baraboo/Portage Thunder engaged in another back-and-forth shootout at the Omni Center in Onalaska Thursday (January 7) night and came up a goal shy in a 6-5 decision against the La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche.

Thunderbirds scored first, just 43 seconds into the match and carried a 3-2 lead out of the first period, but a pair of goals early in the second period flipped the script and it was the Thunderbirds playing catch up the rest of the way.

Luke Schweda fired the first goal, from Peyton Sloan. The Avs fought back to tie it twice in the period but the Thunderbirds had a quick response every time. Things got crazy in the seventh minute with three goals in 25 seconds, including Baraboo goals scored by Carson Zick and Kyle Poole.

Zick’s goal was a solo effort while Poole accepted help from Gabe Fitzwilliams and Luna Larson on his first of two goals.

Poole’s first of two goals is shown below.

An opening minute goal and another in the sixth minute of the period put the Avalanche on top,  Campbell Koseor responding to tie it from Alex Rietmen. The tie lasted just 40 seconds though before the Avs went up again, carrying a 5-4 cushion into the final period.

Poole’s second, from Sloan pulled the Thunder even at 5-5 with 9:05 to go in the contest, but the game winner came with 6:17 to play.

Thunderbirds had a whopping 39-18 edge in shots in the game, including a 19-4 margin in the middle period.

Andrew Schaetzl and Burke Schweda shared the work in goal for the Thunderbirds who have dropped two in a row since its come from behind win against Tomah/Sparta last Saturday. The team will get another Saturday night opportunity this week as the Waupaca Comets pay a visit to Pierce Park Pavilion for a 6 p.m. contest.

Thunderbirds fall to 4-7 with the loss and have eight games yet to play, at least five on home ice, the only trip scheduled so far behind down the ‘12’ to Sauk Prairie on Thursday.

Thunderbirds drop 4-2 decision to Golden Beavers

By Jim den Hollander


Coming off a huge emotional come from behind win on home ice on the weekend, the Baraboo/Portage varsity Thunderbirds were unable to match the comeback Tuesday night dropping a 4-2 decision to the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers Tuesday (Jan. 5).

Playing at Beaver Dam Family Center, the Thunderbirds fell behind 1-0 in the opening period and trailed 3-1 heading to the third.

The second period goal for the Thunderbirds came from sophomore Peyton Sloan, his fifth of the season on a set up from Luke Schweda.

The home team added another before senior Campbell Koseor fired his team-leading seventh of the season on a powerplay, from Carson Zick, getting Thunderbirds back to within a pair with 5:01 to play.

Thunderbirds could get no closer, despite a 10-8 edge in shots through the final period.

Junior Andrew Schaetzl turned aside 27 shots in the game as the Golden Beavers outshot the Thunderbirds 31-25.

The loss dropped Baraboo/Portage to 4-6 on the season so far and they will stay on the road for a Thursday (Jan. 7) night game at the Omni Center in Onalaska against the La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche.

Next home game for the Thunderbirds will be Saturday, a 6 p.m. contest against the Waupaca Comets at Pierce Park Pavilion.

Larson’s ot tally finishes massive Thunderbirds comeback

By Jim den Hollander


The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds started 2021 with the type of effort that could be looked at later as a turning point in their season.

Entering the game against the 5-1 Tomah/Sparta squad, the Thunderbirds regrouped from a tough opening period and simply outworked their opponent for a 4-3 overtime win at Pierce Park Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 2).

Simply said, the start couldn’t have been much worse as the Thunderbirds trailed 15-seconds into the contest and found themselves down 2-0 by the end of the third minute and 3-0 after a period.

Outshot 19-3 in the first period, the Thunderbirds appeared on its way to a rough night, but the road back started with a goal from Kyle Poole 7:27 into the middle period, from Oliver Scanlan.

The biggest goal of the contest for sure came from Campbell Koseor who tipped a perfect feed from Gabe Fitzwilliams to finish off a two-on-rush with the goal just seconds from the end of the middle period. Thunderbirds held a 12-8 edge in shots through the middle period and were fired up for the third with the late goal.

But, despite dominating the play, the Thunderbirds battled mostly on the wall moving the puck forward a few feet at a time and the

The defense played a key part on the offense, the forwards looking to get them the puck whenever possible, but some solid defensive play from the Tomah Sparta crew had lanes to the goal clogged constantly. The work finally paid off on a powerplay with 6:53 to go as Koseor got his stick on a point shot from Luna Larson, changing its direction enough to elude the Tomah keeper and tie the contest.

Larson ended the match himself with 1:21 to play in the eight-minute overtime session moving the puck up from the point and snapping it home in the top left corner.

Andrew Schaetzl collected the win in goal turning aside 31 of 34 shots in the contest and unbeaten on all 15 he faced in the final two periods and overtime. Despite dominating the play in the final two frames, Thunderbirds managed just 19 shots but owned a 4-2 margin in the overtime session. But Tomah/Sparta still held a 34-26 overall.


The win boosted the Thunderbirds to 4-6 overall and the team will look to get back to .500 with a pair of road games this week, at Beaver Dam against the Golden Beavers Tuesday at 7 p.m. and at the Omni Center in Onalaska Thursday against the La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen Avalanche with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.

Next home game for Baraboo/Portage will be played  on Saturday when the Waupaca Comets pay a visit at 6 p.m.

Below is some powerplay action for the Thunderbirds.