Defense was key on Feb. 10 when the Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston boys hockey team took on Baraboo/Portage in the regular season finale at Poppy Waterman Arena.

The win didn’t come easy for the Cheavers, as the Thunderbirds were looking to avenge their 4-1 loss to RWD earlier in the season. While Baraboo was able to sustain an offense, Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells showed impenetrable defense, with senior goalie Dylan Stein leading the way with 25 saves on the night. The Cheavers were also helped by two, five-minute long power plays, which kept the puck possession in their favor as they outshot their opponents 35-25.

“I thought was a great game, back and forth,” head coach Neil Mattson said. “I thought Dylan Stein played a fantastic game to keep them from getting the puck in the net after a long week of makeup games. But my hats off to Baraboo, I thought that was a much better played game than the first time around.”

Both teams felt each other out in a back-and-forth first period. The Cheavers controlled the puck early, with Reedsburg’s Riley Leuhman causing a scramble in front of the Baraboo net with a close shot, and Baraboo’s Joe Zemanovic was called for interference on the play.

The Thunderbirds were able to kill off the power play, but Reedsburg junior Dylan Brown found the puck soon after and used his speed to catch the T-Birds on a line change, flicking a shot over Baraboo goalie Nate Heckendorf’s left shoulder to make it 1-0 with 6:22 remaining. Brown was assisted from Alek Severson on the play.

RWD was forced to play on its heels at the start of the second frame due to an interference call, but Stein made a couple of big saves to kill off Baraboo’s power play. The Cheavers had the extra man moments later however, when a Baraboo player was called for head contact and was in the box for five minutes. Senior Chris Jones had a couple of close shots on goal in the long power play, one of which banked off the crossbar but Reedsburg was unable to capitalize.

The T-Birds put on the pressure early in the third, but RWD found an insurance goal at the 12:07 mark when Jacob Ely made a quick pass to Kip Cunningham who converted his shot to make it 2-0.

Baraboo was awarded another power play soon after the goal, due to a hooking call but the Cheavers once again played physical defense. RWD spent another five minutes with an extra man after a T-Bird was penalized for boarding.

RWD ends the regular season with an overall record of 17-7 and finished second in the Badger North with a record of 7-3. Waunakee took the title with a record of 8-2.

The Cheavers will host DeForest at Poppy Waterman Arena on Feb. 16 for a WIAA Div. 1 Regional Final.

“I think it’s going to be a great game,” said Mattson on the DeForest game. “We beat them 3-1 (earlier in the season), but really it was a one-goal differential because we had an empty-netter. And then the time they beat us was a one goal differential.

“I believe we’re a deeper bench than they are, so if I’m able to run three lines for the first couple of periods and if we’re close or if we have the lead I think we can put the game away in the third period.”

Gymnastics

The Reedsburg gymnastics team had a busy weekend, starting with a dual against Monona Grove on Feb. 10 on the road.

The Beavers held their own, but ultimately fell to the Silver Eagles 130.075-107.125. Reedsburg recorded team scores of 30.1 on the floor exercise, 29.65 on the vault, 24.675 on the balance beam and 22.7 on the uneven bars.

On the floor, Raegan Hyzer led the Beavers with a sixth place finish (7.7) while Ally Gesteland recorded a 7.625. Raelle Bishop and Mai Klink also added scores in the sevens. On the vault, Gesteland took sixth place with a 7.9, followed by Abbey Buelow (7.5), Haley Asp (7.2), and Alicen Henke (7.05). On the beam, Gesteland took sixth (6.725) while Hyzer recorded a 6.1. Reedsburg’s lowest score came on the bars, where Buelow led with a 6.05 while Gesteland added a 6.025.

A day later, the team competed in the Platteville Invitational where the Beavers took ninth place out of 11 teams. The Beavers recorded scored of 29.15 on the beam, 31.85 on the floor, 30.0 on the vault, and 23.725 on the bars for a total of 114.725. Mount Horeb took the title (139.7), followed by Dodgeville/Mineral Point (132.52), Southwestern/Cuba City (131.725), Platteville/Belmont/Lanc (130.975) and Waunakee (130.725) to round out the top five.

“On Saturday morning, we competed in the Platteville Invite and had a much better day,” Hoege said. “Some of the girls reached new personal bests and it was an exciting event. We reached a new high team score of the season as well. Abbey Buelow had her best bar routine of her career and scored her personal best.”

On the beam, Gesteland led with a 7.95 to tie for 14th, while Hyzer took 27th (7.55) and Buelow took 34th (7.2). On the floor, Hyzer took 29th with an 8.15 while Klink and Gesteland each took 31st (8.1). Buelow’s bar performance got her a 6.525, while Hyzer recorded a 6.35. On the vault, Gesteland took 23rd (8.125) while Buelow took 38th (7.6).

The Beavers will host the conference meet on Feb. 18.

Girls Basketball

The Reedsburg girls basketball team traveled to Wisconsin Rapids on Feb. 13 where the Beavers competed in a low-scoring affair, falling 35-34.

Wisconsin Rapids led 15-10 at halftime, before Reedsburg stormed back in the second. The Beavers knotted the score at 34 with 26.6 seconds left, but turned the ball over. Rapids missed a shot with under two seconds remaining, but Reedsburg was called for a foul on the offensive rebound and the Red Raiders saw one free throw converted to take the game.

“It was a tough night for our players. We didn’t bring the focus or production it takes to win on the road,” coach Mark Simon said. “We gave up two offensive rebounds in the last minute which was a huge factor in deciding the outcome of the game.”

Reedsburg (9-11 overall, 3-8 Badger North) will host DeForest on Feb. 16 before traveling to Lake Mills on Feb. 18 for its final game of the regular season. No. 9 Reedsburg will travel to No. 8 Baraboo on Feb. 21 for the opening round of playoffs.

Boys Basketball

PORTAGE – For 18 minutes, Reedsburg went toe-to-toe with Portage in a Badger North Conference game at Portage High School on Feb. 10.

But once the second half began, the Warriors appeared to be a different team, scoring at will against the Beavers on their way to a 50-point half and a 78-48 victory over Reedsburg.

The opening half saw six lead changes, with the final one coming when Portage senior Mason Ades nailed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to send the Warriors to the break with a 28-26 lead.

In the second, Portage (13-5 overall, 5-4 Badger North) took over by getting the ball down low to senior Thomas Yelk. It was Yelk that scored Portage’s first six points of the second half, helping the Warriors take a 34-27 lead. Yelk, who scored a game-high 23 points, scored 17 in the second half.

Reedsburg (3-16 overall, 1 -9 Badger North) used a zone defense to keep Portage out of the paint in the first half, but the Warriors had no trouble getting the ball inside after the break.

“They shot the ball really well. They got the ball inside and we had to switch to man (defense),” Reedsburg head coach Josh Rupnow said of Portage. “And they were able to attack the man as well. Every time down the floor, they were able to score.”

Portage led 44-33 with 13:10 to play and led by 10 a few minutes later.

Reedsburg junior Ben Fuhrman, who led the Beavers with 16 points, made three of his four 3-pointers in the opening half to help keep the Beavers in the game. His 3-pointer from the left corner with 3:25 to play in the first half gave Reedsburg a 26-23 lead, but Portage answered with a jumper by Trent Belleau and then Ades’ 3-pointer at the end of the half.

A day later, Reedsburg bounced back with a 63-46 victory over River Valley at home. The Beavers outscored the Blackhawks 34-22 in the first half and held from there. Ben Fuhrmann led with 20 points and four rebounds, while Tyson Tully added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Luke Friede recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds while Ian Rogers added seven points, four rebounds and five assists.

Reedsburg, which hosted Waunakee on Feb. 14 in a conference game that ended after Times-Press print time, will travel to Baraboo on Feb. 17.

Girls Hockey

The Badger Lightning girls hockey team traveled to Neenah on Feb. 11 to take on the Fox Cities Stars where it fell 8-1.

The Lightning fell into a 2-0 hole early, before Lizzy Patton converted a pass from Paige Pawlak at the 10:11 mark to make it 2-1. From there however, the Stars pulled away with a string of three unanswered goals in the first before added another in the second and two more in the third.

Lightning goalie Gabby Christensen saved 28 shots on the night while the Lightning amassed six shots on goal. The Lightning (4-18 overall, 2-8 Badger) will travel to Middleton on Feb. 17 to take on the Metro Lynx in the opening round of playoffs.

-Travis Houslet contributed.

Regional Sports Reporter