All year long, we hear above the exploits of the 'usual suspects,' the teams that normally occupy the WiPH Top 10 or honorable mention. For the most part, that includes 15-20 teams.
We all know that Verona, USM, Northland Pines, SPASH, Wausau West, and Superior are all usually 'superior' when it comes to boys high school hockey.
If I failed to mention other top-end teams, chill; there is a method to my madness.
Each of the teams listed have won at least 10 games this year, which reaches the halfway point on Monday, believe it or not. 53 days down, 54 more to go until Championship Saturday at the Clamshell on John Nolen Drive in Madison.
That brings us to eight squads that don't always get showered with adulation from the Wisconsin HS hockey fans. They have each won at least 10 contests this season, and five of them won at least 15 games in the regular season last year, so their success should come as no surprise.
But still, they are overshadowed by the big boys, so they skate under the radar.
Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells (RWD)
Coach: Neil Mattson
Conference: Badger North (1st)
The Cheavers (combined nickname, Chiefs and Beavers) have won seven of their last eight. They won 35 regular season games the last two years, so this team knows how to win, they just need to do it in the big games to finish up the year.
Coach: Steve Libert
Conference: Big Eight (3rd)
The Regents have the misfortune of playing in the shadows of Big 8 foes Verona and Sun Prairie, with three of their losses coming at the hands of those two opponents.
Coach: John Erspamer
Conference: Great Northern (1st)
The Comets should exceed the 14 regular season wins of two years ago. They have won 10 of 11 going into Saturday night's contest with SPASH.
Coach: Lucas Trickle
Conference: Middle Border (1st)
The Blackhawks are on this list with Middle Border competitor Amery. B-W won 36 games in the last two years, and like RWD, just need to win some big games in the playoffs to advance further.
Coach: Tim Henningsgard
Conference: Middle Border (2nd)
The Warriors lost to RWD today, so these teams are beating up on each other. And prior to yesterday's loss to Tomah/Sparta, they had won 11 of 12.
Coach: Buster Hebda
Conference: North Shore (1st)
The Ice Bears won 17 regular season games last year, so they are no strangers to success. They have won seven of the last eight, but need to get past NS foe Homestead Saturday.
Coach: Charlie Marshall
Conference: Mississippi Valley (it's a long story)
The Avalanche have won six of their last seven after winning 17 regular season games last year. Stat of the Year: Senior forward Cody Dirks has 39 assists in 14 games, including a high of six in one game. Wow. You don't have to tell him to pass the puck.
Coach: Rob Novak
The Hurricanes have been a .500 club the last couple years, but hope to better that this year. They have won five of their last six and had a six-game win streak early in the season.
So whether the squad has been overlooked for playing a softer schedule, been overshadowed by stronger teams in their conference or sectional, or any other reason, let's at least give them their due for their successes of the 2018-19 season.
Only three have ever played in the state tournament (RWD, Madison West, Hayward), but that doesn't mean they can't dream of playing at the Clamshell on Quarterfinal Thursday this year.
Keep it going, boys, and best of luck the rest of the way.
Tag(s): Home Trasher's Dog House Boys Varsity Badger North Reedsburg/Wis. Dells Big Eight Madison West Great Northern Waupaca Middle Border Amery Baldwin-Woodville North Shore West Bend Mississippi Valley Avalanche Independents Hayward