Brandt fires three to lead RWD past Red Raiders in opener

By Jim den Hollander
Editor/Publisher
Saukhockey.info
Three goals from senior captain Caden Brandt and 26 stops for sophomore goaltender Alex Griebe led the RWD Cheavers to a 4-1 win at Reedsburg Arena Community Arena (RACA) in its 2022-23 WIAA season opener against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Tuesday night.


The Red Raiders are frequently among the first competitors for the Cheavers and the win Tuesday avenged a season opening loss in Wisconsin Rapids last season.


While Brandt found the mesh for three of the four RWD goals, the team showed off three solid lines and appeared to be in control for much of the contest, although shots on goal show the visitors with a 27-17 overall margin.
Czech exchange student Lukas Vana made his presence felt in his first WIAA contest. A defenseman, he showed off a strong 200-foot game and he stepped up from the blueline to collect his first varsity goal, the game winner, giving the Cheaves a 2-1 cushion in the final minute of the opening period.
Brandt notched the first of the game on a feed from twin brother Carsen Brandt 9:38 into the contest but Carter Morrison evened it up just 45 seconds later on a powerplay, unassisted.


Brandt scored the other two goals, 1:50 apart in the second period. The first had set ups from Vana and Logan DeMars and the other was a solo effort, sniped from about 30 feet out.
Griebe made the lead stand up, blocking all 16 shots in the final two periods to help the Cheavers collect the win.
Like last season, the Ducks will head to Somerset for the post-Thanksgiving weekend to compete a four-team event.
First up will be last season’s tournament champion Eau Claire North Huskies from the Big Rivers Conference on Friday with a 2 p.m. faceoff and the Cheavers will wrap it up Saturday against either Somerset Spartans from the Middle Border Conference or Antigo Red Robins from the Great Northern Confernce.
The Cheavers will follow that up with five straight Badger West Conference matches, beginning on the road in Oregon Dec. 2 against the Panthers with the next home game at RACA Dec. 6 against the Sauk Prairie Eagles.

Sauk County varsity teams rolling into season

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Here we go! 

The highly anticipated 2022-23 varsity High School hockey season is just days away from facing off.  

For the Sauk County teams – RWD Cheavers, Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds and Sauk Prairie Eagles in the Badger West Conference and the Badger Lightning varsity team from the Badger Conference, weeks of captain’s practices turned into actual practices in recent days with the regular season kicking off as early as Saturday. 

The Lightning, looking to make a jump into the middle or upper tiers of the Badger Conference this season, will be first out of the gate, entertaining the Arrowhead Warhawks on Saturday.  

In terms of personnel, this is probably the biggest Lightning team in a decade or more. Two seasons ago, the team fielded exactly two lines, hoping the COVID epidemic or any other illness or injury wouldn’t affect its team that had to have every player available. 

Two seasons later, the Lightning has grown to a full 27-player roster which means junior varsity games will be included on the schedule. 

After finishing last season with a 9-13 record last season, the Lightning has its eyes on .500 or better this time around and will get an interesting test out of the gate against a Warhawks team it hasn’t faced off against in a while. 

First Badger Conference match will be Saturday Dec. 3 against the Icebergs at Mandt Community Center in Stoughton and first home league game will be Dec. 9 against the Rock County Fury from Janesville/Beloit. 

Among the leaders for the Lightning this season is an awesome group of seniors including Kayla Capener who garnered all-state recognition last season, Bella Bowden, one of the fastest skaters around looking for a bounce back after injuries and adversity kept her out of the lineup much of last season and Mallory Ruhland, a gifted goal scorer who travels all the way from Elroy to suit up.  

In goal, the Lightning has junior Alyssa Gada who has already shown herself to be one of the best keepers in the conference. With improvements all around likely limiting the shots she will face, watch for Gada to have a huge campaign. 

Sauk Prairie Eagles – of the local varsity teams, the Eagles went the furthest last season, falling in Sectional semi-finals against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders in Sectional semifinals. 

Several graduations affect the team both on offense and defense, but there are some key players returning as well, including Luke Mast who finished among the state leaders last season with 27 goals and 69 points. In three years on the varsity team, Mast has racked up 53 goals and 128 points. 

The team has plenty of experience at the most important position as well, seniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney both veterans of the high school game in goal. 

Other seniors include Cole Scallon and Landon Clary, and Head Coach David Lohrei has done an amazing job in his seasons with the team and is able to provide a game plan based on whatever strengths the team has. 

The Eagles will open the regular season with a pair of road games, in Onalaska to play the Avalanche Tuesday (Nov. 22) and at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena to face Middleton on Nov. 26. 

First home game will also be the team’s first Badger West Conference game, taking on the Oregon Panthers Nov. 29. 

RWD Cheavers – The Cheavers look solid at all positions despite graduating a goaltender who started nearly every game for the team in all four seasons he attended RAHS. 

Cooper Oakes has established every record of note for Cheavers goaltenders, but junior Alex Griebe put up some amazing numbers as a junior varsity keeper last season and Head Coach Neil Mattson is confident, he can be relied on to take the team to the next level.  

The Cheavers graduated a small but amazing group of seniors last season but led by the Brandt bothers, forward Caden and defenseman Carsen, the team looks solid both up front and on the blue line.  

Caden has scored 58 goals and collected 91 points through his first three campaigns and could be among the state scoring leaders this time around. Carsen showed his physical and mental toughness last year when he decided to put off shoulder surgery and played through some excruciating pain in the late season games. He enters this season healthy and ready to go. 

John Scott is coming off not only his best season with the Cheavers, scoring 14 goals, but also an awesome season as a running back for WDHS football which has college scouts from two different sports knocking on his door. 

Other key contributors among the seniors are hardnosed forwards Caleb Eastman, Yevgeny Dedun and Conner Putz along with defenders Nate Stando and Logan DeMars, both regulars on the blue line along with Carsen Brandt last season.  

RWD will have to hit the ground running with a tough opening to the regular season, including its annual duel against the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders, opening the season at RACA on Tuesday, followed up by a return visit to the four-team tournament in Somerset on Friday/Saturday. 

RWD will open against the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday.  

Following that, the Cheavers will head into a stretch of five straight Badger West Conference contests, taking it immediately to the halfway mark of the conference season. 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds – Thunderbirds had its struggles last season with illness, injury and adversity playing a key part.  

Positive reinforcement from Head Coach David Clark and great leadership from forwards Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams and goaltender Andrew Schaetzl kept the team in a lot of games. 

Clark has moved away from Baraboo, but Tony Bluske who has been with the team for several seasons and knows the players well, will be a perfect fit as the new mentor. 

Like Griebe with RWD, Burke Schweda showed his potential in both junior varsity and varsity games last season, and he will give the team stability in the blue paint this year and into the future. Brother Luke Schweda, a hard working forward with a nose for the net will be among the senior leaders as well as others. 

The Thunderbirds will kick off the regular season on the road, taking on Monona Grove Silver Eagles Tuesday and will play its first three games on the road, including a tough conference opener against defending champion Madison Edgewood on Nov. 28. 

First home game for the Baraboo/Portage fans will be the first of three straight at home Nov. 29 against Tomah/Sparta. 

Full team effort results in Monk’s tourney win

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher  

Saukhockey.info 

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. 

Cheavers-Red Raiders squaring off again in Monk’s final

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Another two goals for junior John Scott and the third shutout of the season for senior Cooper Oakes helped the RWD Cheavers reach the prime stage to defend its 2020 Monk’s Cheeseburger crown. 

A 3-0 win in its semi-final set up a date with the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Wednesday (Dec. 30) at the Lake Delton Ice Arena. 

The path to the final went through the Kenosha Thunder and while the game was not clinched until late, the Cheavers were in control the whole way, outshooting the Thunder by a 49-11 margin.  

Thunder junior goaltender Zach Mitchell was the busiest man in the barn, kicking out 46 shots but once again it was the trio of Scott, senior Tomas Korndorfer and sophomore Brady Baldwin who solved the goaltender. 

Scott fired both the game winner 7:43 into the opening period and the clincher, early in the third Korndorfer notching the middle goal, also in the first period and assisting on the final goal. Baldwin set up Korndorfer’s tally. 

After wearing out a path to the sin bin the previous night, the Cheavers produced a more disciplined effort against Kenosha as the two teams combined for six minutes of infractions, just one minor called against the locals. 

The win sets up the final against the Red Raiders, the same team RWD defeated for the burgers last season. 

Teams met in Rapids to open this season, the Red Raiders rallying back from an early 2-0 deficit to pull out a 3-2 edge. The Raiders outshot RWD 36-15 on that night and have brushed aside La Crescent-Hokah and Onalaska by a 17-5 margin in its first two games at the Monk’s tourney. 

Other Games  

The second game for the Red Raiders was a lopsided 7-1 win against Onalaska on Tuesday. They carried Lout of the opening period and added another before the Hilltoppers scored its only goal. 

Senior goaltender Dakota Blasky stopped 26 shots for the Red Raiders with two goal games for senior Carson Gunderson and junior Trevor Vilbaum. Gunderson also collected two assists.  

The game’s first game, saw La Crescent-Hokah Lancers picking up a 5-4 win in overtime against the McFarland Spartans and River Falls Wildcats bounced back from its opening game loss to RWD with a 7-1 win against Tomah/Sparta. 

Scott hat trick leads Cheavers past Wildcats

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The RWD Cheavers opened play at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic ready to defend its title and putting together what might have been its best 51-minutes of the season so far this season. 

Led by a junior John Scott who fired his first varsity hat trick and 22 stops on 23 shots for senior goaltender Cooper Oakes, the Cheavers got by the River Falls Wildcats, a team they had never faced before. 

RWD dominated the contest from start to finish, including a long stretch in the middle period played one or two skaters short. After a lackadaisical final five minutes of the second which allowed the Wildcats a chance to score its lone goal, the Cheavers responded with a renewed vigor in the final period, turning a 3-1 cushion into the 5-1 final. 

Juniors Caden and Carsen Brandt had the set ups on the game’s first goal, scoring by senior C.J. Pfaff and Scott fired the other two first period goals, the first on a feed from senior Tomas Korndorfer. 

The Cheavers re-established control with a 14-3 edge in shots through the final 17-, minutes and it paid off with goals from Scott and junior defenseman Logan DeMars.  

Korndorfer collected assists on both third period goals and sophomore Brady Baldwin, the third man on the line with Scott and Korndorfer, also picked up one. 

Other Scores  

The first day of the tournament began with Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders collecting a 10-4 win against the La Crescent-Hokah Lancers, an independent Minnesota team. 

Sophomore Carson Gause led the Raiders with four goals and two assists, first year Pagel Jax scored a pair. 

In the second game, Noah Clemment turned aside all 29 shots he faced and junior Gavin Schuster scored four to lead the Onalaska Hilltoppers to a 6-0 shutout against the McFarland Spartans.  

The third game was the closest of the day, the Kenosha Thunder holding off a late rally by Tomah/Sparta for a 2-1 edge. First-year goaltender Mark Michelson stopped 33 of 34 to lead his team to the win despite a massive 34-12 edge in shots for Tomah/Sparta who didn’t find a way past him until late in the final period. 

Monk’s Culver’s and Mullet Cup tournaments

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

RWD, Baraboo/Portage and Sauk Prairie varsity teams will all hit the tournament trail this week, seeing some different teams and getting a break from their respective conference schedules. 

RWD Cheavers will once again host the annual Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic. The 12th version of the tournament will see it once again as an eight-team event after being trimmed to four last season. 

The tournament has been an important launching pad for the Cheavers in past seasons. They won the first tournament and rolled from that to a state championship berth. In 2014-15, a team much like this season’s Cheavers carried a 4-3-1 record into the Monk’s tournament and turned three wins to win the title into an 18-game unbeaten streak that didn’t end until the State championship quarterfinals. 

The Cheavers will begin its latest version of the tournament in the final game of the day on Dec. 28 against the River Falls Wildcats at 7:30 p.m.  

Meanwhile the Sauk Prairie Eagles will begin play at the annual Culver’s Cup, playing out of Hartmeyer Ice Arena and Madison Ice Arena.  

The Eagles will begin at 2:45 p.m. against the Oshkosh Ice Hawks. 

Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will begin the following day at a tournament in Hartland. 

Here is a little information on the local tournament and the other ones as well.  

Monks’s Cheeseburger Classic  

Lake Delton Ice Arena

Tuesday, Dec. 28  

Game 1 — 12 p.m. — Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders (5-3, 2-2 Wisconsin Valley) vs. La Crescent-Hokah Lancers 4-2, Minnesota Independent) 

Game 2 — 2:30 p.m. — McFarland Spartans (4-5, 3-2 Badger East) vs. Onalaska Hilltoppers (3-4, 1-1 Mississippi Valley) 

Game 3 — 5 p.m. — Tomah Sparta (3-5, 1-0 Mississippi Valley) vs. Kenosha Thunder (4-2, 0-1 Classic Eight) 

Game 4 — 7:30 p.m. — RWD Cheavers (6-5, 3-2 Badger West) vs. River Falls Wildcats  (3-5, 0-4 Big Rivers)

Wednesday, Dec. 29 

Game 5 – 12 p.m. – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 

Game 6 – 2:30 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2  

Game 7 – 5 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 

Game 8 – 7:30 p.m. — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 

Thursday, Dec. 30 

Game 9 – 10 a.m. — Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 

Game 10 – 12:30 p.m. — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7 

Game 11 – 3 p.m. — Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 

Game 12 – 5:30 p.m. — Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8 

Culver’s Cup – Varsity Boys Division  

Tuesday Dec. 28 – Quarterfinals  

Game 1 – 2:45 p.m. — Sauk Prairie Eagles (6-2, 2-2 Badger West) vs. Oshkosh Ice Hawks (3-4, 2-1 Badgerland) — MIA 

Game 2 – 7:45 p.m. — Madison West Regents (3-7, 3-4 Big Eight) vs. Marshfield Tigers (6-3-1, 2-1 Wisconsin Valley) — MIA  

Game 3 – 5:15 p.m. — Marquette Hilltoppers (6-1, 1-0 Classic Eight) vs. Madison Memorial Spartans (4-6, 3-3 Big Eight) — MIA 

Game 4 – 7:45 p.m. — Ashland Oredockers (4-5, Independent) vs. Monona Grove Silver Eagles (3-5, 2-3 Badger East) — Hartmeyer 

Wednesday Dec. 29 – Semi Finals 

Game 5 – 12:15 p.m. — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – MIA 

Game 6 – 2:45 p.m. — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – MIA 

Game 7 – 5:15 p.m. — Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 – MIA 

Game 8 – 7:45 p.m. — Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – MIA 

Thursday, Dec. 30 – Finals  

7th Place Game – 4:45 p.m. — Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 – Hartmeyer 

5th Place Game – 4:45 p.m. — Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7 – MIA 

3rd Place Game – 7:15 p.m. — Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 – Hartmeyer  

Championship Game – 7:15 p.m. — Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8 – MIA 

Mullet Cup  

Howard G. Mullet Ice Center – Hartland, WI 

There will be four teams in this two-day event.  

On Dec. 29, the first game will pit the Homestead Highlanders (5-5, 0-0 North Shore) against the Sheboygan Red Raiders (3-9, 0-3 Fox River) at 4:45 p.m. followed by the Baraboo-Portage Thunderbirds (2-7, 1-2 Badger West) against the Arrowhead Warhawks (6-2, 0-0 Classic Eight). 

Game times and match ups for the Consolation and Championship game on Dec. 30 are still TBA as of press time.  

Badger Lightning 

The Lightning will not be in a tournament this season, but locals get a look at them at Pierce Park Pavilion on Wednesday at 5 p.m. when they play host to the Northern Pines Eagles at Pierce Park Pavilion wrapping up a three-game homestand. 

Badger West this Week

Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

BADGER WEST THIS WEEK 

The Badger West Division is now one week old in WIAA Hockey play and preparing for its first week of head-to-head conference matches. 

Facing tough opposition could have played a part in the division opening the season with a 7-7 record so far and the only undefeated team of the half-dozen is the Sauk Prairie Eagles who scored 15 goals in its first two contests, both wins. 

Oregon Panthers picked up with three games in three days at a holiday event in Sheboygan, winning the first two by lopsided scores.  

Madison Edgewood Crusaders also opened at a weekend event in Verona, grabbing a split in two games played.  The Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells (RWD) Cheavers dropped an opener in Wisconsin Rapids before splitting a pair at a weekend tournament in Somerset.  

The Monroe Cheesemakers got an early start, dropping a pair before grabbing its first win against Beloit Memorial and the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds opened its regular season Saturday with a loss against Middleton Cardinals on home ice.  

SAUK PRAIRIE EAGLES (2-0-0) 

After opening on home ice Tuesday (Nov. 23) with a 7-5 win against the always tough Onalaska Hilltoppers, the Eagles were equally as impressive in its first road test, taking an 8-2 win at Madison Ice Arena (MIA) against the host Madison West Regents.  

The Mast brothers, senior Nick (5g, 3a) and junior Luke (2g, 5a) have led the way offensively and Hakon Peterson is close behind with five points (2g, 3a).  

OREGON PANTHERS (2-1-0) 

The Panthers held off its start to the season until Friday, but then played three games in three days, beginning with a 7-2 win against the Brookfield Stars and a 10-0 whitewash against the Whitefish Bay Storm. The Ashwaubenon Jaguars ended the streak on Sunday with an 8-5 win against the Panthers.  

With 22 goals in its first three games, the Panthers enter conference play as a team that can score consistently. 

Leading the charge is junior Kyle Rohrer who slides into a share of the state scoring lead with his 18 points (6g, 12a) and sophomore Andrew Jicha (10g, 7a) is just one point behind. Joe Roemer (2g, 10a) has also been a steady contributor. 

Junior Josh Kean has been in the blue paint for all three games and stopped 68 of 77 shots so far. 

MADISON EDGEWOOD CRUSADERS (1-1-0) 

The Crusaders also waited until the weekend to get the season underway. It doesn’t get any tougher than facing the defending state champ in the opener as the Crusaders dropped a 7-2 decision against the Hudson Raiders Friday but rallying back with a 5-1 win against the Chippewa Falls Cardinals on Saturday. 

Senior JJ Wiebusch has been in on five of his team’s seven goals (3g, 2a) so far and Cody Menzel has four points (2g, 2a) while senior Aidan Lenz has collected three (1g, 2a). 

RWD CHEAVERS (1-2-0) 

Entering the season at Wisconsin Rapids Tuesday night, the Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston squad held a 2-0 lead early, but the Red Raiders who held a wide margin in shots finally pulled back with the game winner in a 3-2 win coming late in the contest.  

From there, the Cheavers moved on to a weekend event in Somerset, dropping its opener 2-1 against the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday before finally breaking into the win column with a 5-3 margin against the host Somerset Spartans on Saturday. 

Senior goaltender Cooper Oakes has been a key factor, turning aside 122 shots in three games and posting a Save Percentage of .938 out of the gate.  

Offensively, junior Caden Brandt has collected six points (1g, 5a) and Brady Baldwin has picked up four (3g, 1a) while senior CJ Pfaff has been consistent with a point in all three games (1g, 2a). 

MONROE CHEESEMAKERS (1-2-0) 

Compared to the other teams in the Badger West, the Cheesemakers got off to a quick start, dropping a 4-2 decision to Whitefish Bay Storm on Nov. 19 and falling 8-3 against the Middleton Cardinals on Tuesday before finally breaking into the win column with a 4-2 doubling of the Beloit Memorial Purple Knights. 

All three games were played on the road and the Cheesemakers have one more road test before finally playing on home ice.  

Senior Blaze Janecke has been a bright spot in the lineup for the Cheesemakers in on six (5g, 1a) of the team’s nine goals and sophomore goaltender Kyle Theorin backstopped the win, stopping all but two of the 42 shots he faced in Beloit. 

BARABOO/PORTAGE THUNDERBIRDS (0-1)

Thunderbirds were the final Badger West team to hit the ice, dropping a 7-0 shutout against the Middleton Cardinals Saturday night at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.  

Senior goaltender Andrew Schaetzl was the busiest man in the game facing 46 shots and stopping 39. 

Conference matches ahead 

All six teams will enter the Badger West Conference fray this week, but a few teams will have another test along the way.  

On Tuesday night, the RWD Cheavers will entertain the Onalaska Hilltoppers while the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds travel to Tomah/Sparta.  

The Cheesemakers will be at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) for its fourth straight road test Thursday night and the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds will face its first conference test at Oregon Ice Arena against the host Panthers.  

On Friday, the final two teams will match up as the Madison Edgewood Crusaders will make the trip to Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA) against the host Cheavers. Also Friday, the Panthers will play host to the McFarland Spartans in a non-conference match.  

The week will wrap up with a pair of non-conference battles as Monroe Cheesemakers finally play in front of friendly fans at State Line Ice and Community Expo (SLICE) against the KMMO (Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc) hockey club while the Madison Edgewood Crusaders travel across town to Hartmeyer Ice Arena to tangle with the Madison Memorial Spartans. 

Oakes keeps it close for RWD against Rapids

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

It took a while, but the host Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders persistence paid off with a 3-2 win against the RWD (Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells) Cheavers on home ice at the South Wood County Recreation Center on Tuesday night. 

Goaltender Cooper Oakes has played some big games in Rapids, both as a youth player and later as the puck stopper for RWD and this was another one. Oakes kicked out 33 of 36 shots, including all 15 he faced in the opening period. That allowed the Cheavers to carry a 2-0 lead to the locker room at the break despite a 15-7 edge in shots for the Red Raiders.  

Sophomore Brady Baldwin notched the first one for RWD 37 seconds into the contest and Logan Demars scored the other just over two minutes from the buzzer, both on set ups from junior Caden Brandt. 

Sophomore Josh Dekarske finally found a way past Oakes 8:17 into the second and sophomore Carsen Gause evened it up 74 seconds later.  

The Red Raiders went on to outshoot the Cheavers by a 36-15 margin but didn’t capture its first and only lead until Dekarske scored with 6:25 to play. 

Gause picked up assists on both Dekarske goals and other help came from seniors Carson Gunderson and Jacob Dekarske. 

Senior Dakota Blasky stopped everything he faced in the final two periods to pick up a 13-save win in goal. 

The Cheavers will continue a busy opening week, traveling to Somerset to take part in a four-team tournament Friday and Saturday. In the first game, RWD will play the Eau Claire North Huskies Friday at 2:15 p.m. at Somerset Ice Arena. On Saturday, the opposition will be either the Antigo Red Robins or Somerset Spartans. 

The Red Raiders next action will be another home game on Dec. 2 when Wisconsin Valley Conference play gets underway against the Marshfield Tigers. 

JV Cheavers stay hot with win in Rapids

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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. 

Cheavers-Red Raiders a great rivalry

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

Preview — RWD Cheavers @ Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders Nov. 23 at South Wood County Recreation Center 7 p.m.

The RWD Varsity Cheavers will open the WIAA regular season Tuesday (Nov. 23) against a familiar foe. 

It’s become something of a tradition for the Cheavers to tangle with the Wisconsin Rapids Red Raiders near the beginning of each season.  

Since the RWD team was formed in 2010-11, the Cheavers and Red Raiders have faced off 13 times. The Red Raiders hold a 6-5-2 edge overall, but RWD has won the past four, most recently a 6-0 win at the Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic last season, one of two wins against the Red Raiders in 2020/21. 

For the RWD seniors, the rivalry goes back to pre-varsity as Billy Oakes’ bantam squad played at the state championship tournament in Rapids in 2018, dropping a heartbreaking game in the State Championship semis in overtime. 

It was a satisfying debut for the freshman class though as Cooper Oakes began his varsity career posting a 34-save shutout and a 5-0 win against the same Red Raiders team.  

Caden Brandt collected a hat trick in the shutout win at the Monk’s tournament last year, CJ Pfaff and Ty Thompson also collecting goals against the Red Raiders. 

The game will be the first of three this week as the Cheavers will follow up Thanksgiving heading to Somerset for a weekend tournament.