By Jim den Hollander
The RWD varsity Cheavers hockey team found third time was lucky, breaking into the win column Saturday with a 5-3 edge against the host Somerset Spartans in the Consolation final at a four-team tournament.
After dropping a pair of 2-1 heartbreakers in games they were badly outshot, the Cheavers faced another lopsided total on the shot clock, but this time managed five goals and a win despite a 34-26 edge in shots for the Spartan.
After battling back from a 1-0 deficit to even things by the end of the first period, the Cheavers were looking up at a 3-1 deficit, halfway through the middle frame. But while Cooper Oakes blanked the hosts the rest of the way, the Cheavers responded with four unanswered goals, two to tie it by the end of the second, then two more down the stretch.
Trey Lariden notched the first goal on a feed from Brady Baldwin with just over seven minutes to play in the opening period.
Caden Brandt and CJ Pfaff who have both collected a point in all three games so far, both scored unassisted second period goals and Malachi Strombolis-Salama notched the team’s first game winner of the season 5:07 into the third, from Pfaff.
Baldwin sank an insurance marker with help from Brandt exactly three minutes from the final buzzer.
Oakes provided stellar work in goal, stopping all but three of the 50 shots he faced. He has already kicked out 107 of 114 shots faced in the first three games.
The Cheavers will finally play in front of friendly fans at the Reedsburg Area Community Arena Tuesday night, but it will be another tough one as the Onalaska Hilltoppers will pay a visit for the final game before the Cheavers embark on three straight Badger West Conference tests.