The Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells boys hockey team clinched its seventh overall Badger North Conference title on Tuesday when the Cheavers hosted Waunakee and won 3-1.
The win put RWD at 8-1 in the conference to clinch it, as Waunakee is now at 6-2 with only one game remaining in the regular season.
“It’s awesome, I’m happy for the senior class, we’re 15-1-1 in the last 17 games so it’s been a pretty incredible ride,” coach Neil Mattson said. “It was exactly the style of game I thought it would be between us and Waunakee, a tight game. We were lucky to get that third clincher there in that third period.”
Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells led 2-1 going into the third period, before senior Dylan Brown scored off a pass from Ben Jones at the 10:14 mark to grab a crucial two-goal cushion. It’s a special win for the seniors, as it’s the first time in program history winning the conference twice within a four-year span.
“It’s all about them, not anybody else. It’s about the team and the seniors,” Mattson said of the win. “They’ve established a legacy now for a lifetime.”
Both teams felt each other out in the opening frame, and RWD was able to get on the scoreboard first when Brown set up Jacob Ely, who made a routine pass to the slot where Derek Pawlak buried it home to make it 1-0. Waunakee had control of the puck for most of the first period however, and the Warriors capitalized on an opportunity at the 12:32 mark when Kurt Johnson knotted the score.
Pawlak would score again at the 9:54 mark in the second period to give the Cheavers a crucial 2-1 lead, with Brown assisting. RWD had an extra man on two occasions in the second period, while killing off one Waunakee power play as well.
RWD started to get desperate for a two-goal cushion in a physical third period. Goaltender Nicolas Breunig had his work cut out for him, recording multiple clutch saves to keep the Warriors at bay. RWD’s defense in front of Breunig also played a big role in clearing out loose pucks and pushing Waunakee to the outside. Brown’s goal in the third period put the Cheavers at ease, and despite Waunakee pulling its goalie with a minute and a half remaining, closed things out strong to come away with the conference title.
Brown, who leads the state in points, broke a school record after Tuesday’s win as he now holds the most points recorded in a regular season with 83. Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells (16-5-1) will host DeForest on Thursday for its final game of the regular season.