By Jim den Hollander
The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team got a rare chance to avenge a non-conference defeat with a 5-3 win against Menomonie Mustangs on Saturday (December 11).
The win by the same score Mustangs downed them in the season opener broke the Thunderbirds into the win column for the first time in four tries and on this night, the visitors never trailed.
It was a total team effort with five different goal scorers stepping up in the contest, beginning with junior Kyle Poole who finished with help from junior Luna Lavin and Alex Rietmann 6:41 into the contest.
The Mustangs pulled even 1:45 later but Campbell Koseor put the Thunderbirds into the lead spot again just 67 after that and they carried that lead into the middle period. Oliver Scanlan and Gabe Fitzwilliams had assists on the Koseor goal.
Fitzwilliams notched an unassisted goal 5:06 into the middle period, the fifth straight even strength goal of the game and the T-Birds collected big momentum late the frame with a ‘shorty’ off the stick of Rietmann.
Mustangs cut the lead to a pair early enough in the final period to at least entertain thoughts of a comeback, but Aidan Collins erased them just 35-seconds later, restoring the three-goal cushion from Carson Zick.
The Mustangs pulled one more back but with just 12 seconds left in the contest it was way too little and too late.
Andrew Schaetzl made his fourth start of the season in goal for the Thunderbirds, turning aside 28 shots to grab his first win of the campaign.
While the Thunderbirds moved to 1-3 on the season a busy Mustangs team fell to 2-4. They were scheduled to meet Eau-Claire North Huskies on Tuesday while the Thunderbirds were on the road the same night to take on the Viroqua Blackhawks and on Thursday they will reignite the annual rivalry against RWD Cheavers at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena (RACA).