By Jim den Hollander
The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds turned in some solid efforts but were unable to snap its losing streak in a couple games at a four-team holiday event hosted by Arrowhead Warhawks Dec. 29-30.
Playing at the Howard G. Mullett Ice Center in Hartland, the Thunderbirds dropped its opening contest 4-2 against the host Warhawks, then fell 2-0 in the Consolation final the following day against the Sheboygan Red Raiders.
In the opening game, sophomore Carson Zick pulled the T-Birds even at 1-1 from junior Peyton Sloan and first year Jordi Beale 4:49 from the first period buzzer. The Warhawks moved in front again though 38 seconds later and added another before the end of the opening period for a 3-1 cushion.
After a scoreless middle frame, senior Oliver Scanlan made it a one-goal game again 7:40 into the third with help from juniors Landon Olson and Luke Schweda. The Warhawks restored its two-goal edge a couple minutes later.
The close score flattered the Thunderbirds a bit, thanks to a standout effort in goal by senior Andrew Schaetzl who kicked out 33 of 37 in a game that saw the Thunderbirds outshot by a 37-8 margin.
The other game was also close, the Homestead Highlanders earning a 4-3 edge against the Red Raiders. With that result, the Thunderbirds moved on to play Sheboygan while the Highlanders moved on to face the Warhawks the following day.
Thunderbirds managed to keep the shots a little closer, but the Red Raiders held a 32-18 edge overall. But the result was not clinched until the Red Raiders nailed its second of the game with 1:46 to play. The game winner was scored two seconds from the end of the second period.
The Championship game saw the host Arrowhead squad taking a 3-1 win against Homestead.
The loss against Sheboygan was the fourth in a row for the Thunder who fell to 2-9 on the regular season.
Thunderbirds head into the New Year with a quick flurry, playing a Badger West Conference match at Sauk Prairie Monday (Jan. 3) and a home game against Black River Falls Tigers the following night.