By Jim den Hollander
It doesn’t seem likely in a game that saw 11 goals, but the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds varsity hockey team ran into a hot goaltender when it really mattered in a 6-5 loss to McFarland Spartans at Pierce Park Pavilion Jan. 12.
Teams traded the lead back and four times, the Spartans scoring in bunches for the most part to take and retake control of the game.
Junior defenseman Luna Larson opened the scoring jut 2:02 into the contest from senior Campbell Koseor and freshman Dylann Carpenter.
The lead lasted just 1:24 as the Spartans struck for its first of three goals in 3:54 to grab control of the match.
Thunderbirds rallied back though as Larson continued his strong game, setting up junior Kyle Poole with 6:08 to play in the contest and adding the tying goal himself, from junior Courtney Dunnett with 1:56 to go, sending teams to the locker room even at 3-3. Junior Oliver Scanlan also picked up an assist.
Dunnett’s goal, from sophomore Luke Schweda and Pool gave the T-Birds another lead 59 seconds into the middle period but the Spartans tied it up just before the three minute mark and teams were once again even at the end of the middle frame.
Two goals in the opening three minutes of the third period gave the Spartans a 6-4 cushion and the Thunderbirds spent the rest of the game throwing all it had at the McFarland team trying to draw even.
Thunderbirds held a narrow 22-21 edge in shots heading to the third, but pounded the McFarland goal with 19 third period shots trying to get back into this game.
Ray Wheaton, in goal for the Spartans denied them until senior Gabe Fitzwilliams found a way past, Larson assisting for his fourth point of the contest. That goal came just 12 seconds from the final buzzer though and didn’t give the Thunderbirds enough time to put together the tying goal.
The loss dropped the Thunderbirds to 5-8 in regular season play.