PRAIRIE DU SAC — It came as no surprise that the Sauk Prairie co-op boys hockey team turned in another stingy defensive effort Tuesday night.
Led by sophomore goaltender Kaden Stracke and a defense anchored by junior Hakon Peterson and sophomore Ethan Tranel, the Eagles have been making it difficult for the opposition this season.
Undefeated Sauk Prairie also showed off its offensive firepower, scoring three goals apiece in the second and third periods en route to a 7-1 non-conference victory over the Reedsburg co-op at Sauk Prairie Ice Arena.
“It all starts in our `D’ zone,” said junior Nick Mast, a captain and center for Sauk Prairie. “When we are playing strong there, we have good positioning and it’s one unit. It’s not five individual guys, it’s one unit, and then we play great defense. Then we transition and that fuels our offense.”
Tranel scored two goals and had two assists, sophomore Luke Mast scored twice and had two assists and Nick Mast, Luke’s brother, added four assists for the Eagles (6-0-0).
“We played hard,” Sauk Prairie coach David Lohrei said. “We played pretty smart. And it’s Reedsburg. They’ve always been such a strong Badger North team. (Reedsburg) coming in here, our guys got ready for them.”
The Badger Conference isn’t holding league competitions or naming conference champions this season because all the teams can’t play full seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Lohrei said: “It’s always an important game when you are playing Reedsburg.”
Sauk Prairie peppered Reedsburg junior goalie Cooper Oakes, who finished with 40 saves.
Stracke, who entered allowing only 1.5 goals per game, totaled 17 saves.
“It all starts with Stracke,” Lohrei said. “I thought Stracke was pretty good tonight. It might seem like he didn’t do much, but he made two saves in the first period where it could have been 2-1 (Reedsburg). Our defense has been pretty good.”
Junior Erik Peterson, Hakon Peterson’s twin, opened the scoring 7 minutes, 40 seconds into the game.
Tranel gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead with a blast from his offensive zone, just inside the blue line, at 4:51 of the second period.
“That was a hammer,” Lohrei said of Tranel’s goal. “He can really shoot it.”
Luke Mast followed with his first goal 59 seconds later, increasing the lead to 3-0.
Reedsburg (9-4-0) answered and cut its deficit to 3-1 when senior forward Danny Ely, the team’s top point scorer this season, broke the scoring ice for the Cheavers with a goal with 8:00 remaining in the second period.
But senior Brodie Trollop stymied the Cheavers’ comeback, tipping in a goal with 1:09 remaining in the second period.
The Eagles broke open the game late in the third period, erupting for three goals in a span of 1:22. Luke Mast scored a power-play goal with 3:43 remaining to play and Hakon Peterson added a power-play goal 46 seconds later. Tranel’s second goal of the game came with 2:21 left.
“I think we are playing great,” Nick Mast said. “The team chemistry is great. The locker room is great. That transitions to the ice. Our practices are phenomenal. We are just working as one team.”
Luke Mast now has three goals and 13 assists this season. Nick Mast has four goals and 11 assists and Erik Peterson eight goals and four assists.
The Sauk Prairie co-op includes players from Sauk Prairie, Mount Horeb, River Valley and Wisconsin Heights.
The Reedsburg co-op is made up of players from Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Mauston.
Ely entered Tuesday’s game leading Reedsburg in points (10 goals, 18 assists in 12 games), followed by sophomore Caden Brandt (17 goals, seven assists), junior Trevor Slaght (six goals, nine assists) and junior Clayton Pfaff (six goals, six assists).
SAUK PRAIRIE CO-OP 7,
REEDSBURG CO-OP 1
Sauk Prairie co-op*1*3*3*—*7
First period — SP: Peterson (Tranel), 7:40.
Second period — SP: Tranel (Hansen), 4:51; L. Mast (N. Mast, H. Peterson), 5:50; R: Ely (Schyvinck, Pfaff), 9:00; SP: Trollop (Tranel, L. Mast), 15:51.
Third period — SP: L. Mast (H. Peterson, N. Mast), 13:17 (pp); H. Peterson (N. Mast, E. Peterson), 14:03 (pp); Tranel (N. Mast, L. Mast), 14:39.
Saves: R (Oakes) 40; SP (Stracke) 17. Penalties-minutes: R 2-4, SP 1-2. At Sauk Prairie Ice Arena, Prairie du Sac.