Wisconsin's tourney run is giving a boost to Northwoods businessesSubmitted: 03/20/2017

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NORTHWOODS - You can bet there were smiles all across Wisconsin when the Badgers finished their upset win over Villanova on Saturday night.

But excited Bucky fans aren't the only ones enjoying the ride to the Sweet 16.

Some Northwoods businesses are loving it too.

"Whether it's the Badgers, Packers, and even the Brewers, when the local teams do well, we see a large upswing for our business," said Bucketheads bartender Lyndon Lampe.

Wisconsin's jump to the Sweet 16 has done just that for Bucketheads Sports Bar in Rhinelander.

Lampe says it's been all Badgers talk at the bar the last few days.

But he's not the only one noticing the excitement.

"I think a lot of people were surprised by the win this past weekend, and Saturday a lot of people were in looking for new Badger things, excited about where we're going to go with this," said Packerland Plus owner Brenda Mrotek.

The Wisconsin NCAA tournament run comes at a particularly important time for Packerland Plus in Minocqua.

It's providing a spark to what's normally a quiet time of year.

"This time of the year is hard because snowmobiling's done, ice fishing is still going a little bit, but people can't really open their cabins," said Mrotek. "Summertime is definitely the bigger season when we get more tourists around." 

Mrotek also said Packerland Plus is already prepared for a few more Wisconsin wins.

"We already have shirts and hats pre-booked for Final Four, so hopefully they make it that far. Again, the further teams go in playoff situations like this, the more excited fans get."

Over at Bucketheads, the Badgers games are a chance to offer drink specials to customers. And much like Packerland Plus, these unexpected games help fill a void.

"The longer they go, it bridges the gap from--we obviously had the Saint Patrick's Day party--it bridges the gap right into the start of baseball season," said Lampe.

Whether it's rooting as a fan or rooting for better business, it's all about the Badgers right now.

"At this point it's 'Go Bucky!' and hope they can do it," said Lampe.

Wisconsin's next game is this Friday night against Florida at Madison Square Garden.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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STEVENS POINT - Sports superstitions don't always have a well-known origin. That's true of the hockey playoff beards you see every season.

"I don't really know why it's a thing," said UW-Stevens Point senior forward Kyle Sharkey.

But that hasn't stopped hockey players from rolling with it.

"Back when I was playing juniors, it was a lot longer playoff season and things got pretty hairy," said Sharkey.

The UW-Stevens Point hockey team won the Division III national title last year, and they're out to defend their title over the next few weeks.

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MINOCQUA - December 4 was a night that junior Tyler Carroll will never forget. It was the night nearly half of his body was badly burned in a bonfire accident. Most of the burns were on his legs.

"For me to barely even walk, that was really hard for me," said Carroll.

Tyler was a star football, hockey, and track athlete for Lakeland Union High School. The accident ended his hockey season.

"I got two games in, scored two goals, having fun, and then that came to a halt, which was frustrating," said Carroll.

But Tyler's favorite sport is football. He's the quarterback and running back for Lakeland Union and plans to play in college as well.

"My first question was 'Can I play football again?' because that's my main focus. And when they said that I could play again, that's what kept me going," said Carroll.

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MARSHFIELD HIGH SCHOOL - Stevens Point boys basketball upset No. 1 Oshkosh North 76-61.

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All that and more on this edition of Friday Night Blitz.

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After a back-and-forth battle, Wausau East would take down Medford 51-49.

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UPPER PENINSULA - 14-year-old Ty Springer from Eagle River loves alpine skiing.

"There's not really any other sports that use gravity to your advantage and have to manage your speed on a slope, it's just kind of different," said Springer.

He loves the sport so much that he practices almost every single weekend.

"I've been training my hardest and trying to get to this point where I can compete at a national level," said Springer.

Ty placed sixth in his nine-state regional last weekend. He'll now be on that national level with the under 14 U.S. Rocky Central team.

"The competition is really stiff. 1/10th [of a point] can move you back ten places, it's that tight," said Springer.

Helping Ty with that competition is his family. They're always at Ski Brule in Iron Mountain, Michigan practicing with him. When they found out Ty qualified for the national team, they knew his hard work paid off.

"Very proud and happy. A happy feeling and a major accomplishment to be able to punch his ticket and ski with the U.S. Ski Team out in Steamboat Springs," said Ty'd dad, Brett Springer.

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"I'm working on controlling my speed and being able to ski fast but look like I'm skiing slow," said Springer.

Ty has a few more practices left but after that, he's going to leave it all on the hill.

"I just want to do the best I can. If I do the best I can, then that's all I can do," said Springer.

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NORTHCENTRAL WISCONSIN - Rhinelander boys basketball traveled to Wausau East for their regional matchup. The Hodags fell to the Lumberjacks 59-53.

The Phillips Loggers hosted St. Croix Falls. Phillips held on to win 77-61. The Loggers will play at Rice Lake against Cameron on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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Phelps fell to Gresham 57-45 to end their season.

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