By Jim den Hollander
For a second straight day, the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team saw a close game slip away as they ended up on the wrong end of a 7-2 decision against Marquette Hilltoppers at a four-team event played in Hartland.
The Dec. 29-30 event brought together the Thunderbirds, Hilltoppers, Arrowhead Warhawks and host Brookfield Stars who defeated the Thunderbirds 4-2 the previous day.
Even at 2-2 with 5:52 to play in the second period, the Thunderbirds trailed 4-2 by the end of the period then surrendered a trio of unanswered third period markers to make a much more lopsided final.
The Hilltoppers opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the contest, but sophomore Peyton Sloan fired his second of the season 3:51 from the end of the period to pull Thunderbirds even on a feed from senior Campbell Koseor.
A goal in the final minute had the Hilltoppers up 2-1 heading to the second and that lead held up until late in the middle session when junior Gabe Fitzwilliams tied it again for the Thunderbirds with a set up from freshman Dylann Carpenter.
The tie was erased just over two minutes later and the Thunderbirds never scored again.
Andrew Schaetzl was peppered with 40 shots in the contest in goal for the Thunderbirds.
In the other contest saw Warhawks capturing top spot in the event with a 6-1 win against the Stars.
The losses in Hartland drop the Thunderbirds to 3-6 on the season so far and they will return to Pierce Park Pavilion Saturday (Jan. 2) for a 6 p.m. contest against Tomah/Sparta looking to get back on track.