By Jim den Hollander
The Sauk Prairie Eagles snapped a two-game losing streak and created a three-way tie for second in the Badger West Conference with three straight home wins at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC).
Starting the stretch, on Monday, Dec. 20 was a needed 7-1 win against the visiting Oregon Panthers, followed up by a 7-5 non-Conference win the following night against the McFarland Spartans and a 9-4 margin on Thursday against the Avalanche, made up of players from La Crosse Aquinas, Holmen and other area schools.
The key might have been rediscovering its offense. In a division that includes some of the best offensive crews in the state, the Eagles fit in well, coming up with 24 goals in its first three games, but then two in its next pair. The Eagles struck for another 23 in the past three carrying it into the Christmas break.
The win against the Panthers was the most important as the Eagles, winners of its first two conference games suddenly saw itself at 2-2 and needed to get back on track.
The Eagles struck for three unanswered first period goals and added two more in the second with two more in the third before the Panthers, a team the boasts the state’s top three point getters avoided being victims of a shutout with the only shot to beat junior Kaden Stracke in the Eagles’ net with 50 seconds to play in the contest.
Junior Luke Mast had a massive night for the Eagles, in on all seven points with a goal and six helpers. Senior Nick Mast added three more goals, including the game winner. Senior Erik Peterson enjoyed his best night so far with two goals and three assists and senior Micah Hanson scored the other.
Spartans 5 @ Eagles 7
A night later, the Eagles engaged in a wild shootout, similar to the season opener against Onalaska.
After allowing the game’s first goal, the Eagles carried a 4-2 lead out of the opening period, but found themselves even at 4-4 four minutes into the middle frame. Two later goals made it 6-4 heading to the third and both teams added one more down the stretch.
The Mast brothers and senior Hakon Peterson scored two each, Peterson added three assists with two for Luke and one for Nick.
The other Eagles’ goal came from freshman Gunnar Nachreiner.
Avalanche 4 @ Eagles 9
Wrapping up the busy and successful week on Thursday, the Eagles again allowed the first goal but carried a 3-1 lead into the middle period and widened the gap to 6-3 by the start of the third.
Nick Mast led the charge again with four goals and an assist, Hakon Peterson adding two of each and Luke Mast picking up a goal and four more assists.
Erik Peterson scored a goal and added two assists, junior Landon Clary scoring the other.
Luke Mast leads the team with 30 points (9g, 21a) at the break, good enough for 10th best in the state and Nick Mast is close behnd with 25 (18g, 7a).
The wins boosted the Eagles’ record at the break to 6-2.