By Jim den Hollander
Three goals in the opening six minutes of the final period helped the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team turn a close 3-2 match into a comfortable 6-2 margin in their opening WIAA Division 1 playoff encounter against the DeForest Norskies at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC) on Tuesday (Feb. 15).
While the score was close, the shot clock showed a dominating effort by the Eagles who ultimately carried a 51-17 margin on the shot clock.
DeForest senior Alex Kaminski did his job and more, helping the visitors stay within a goal despite a 34-12 edge through the first two periods.
Junior Luke Mast fired the goal that stood up as the game winner 8:53 into the second period, just 45 seconds after Gabriel Larson, a junior from Lodi pulled his team even at 2-2 with what would be the final Norskie goal of the season.
The younger Mast brother added four assists in the contest while senior Nick Mast fired two goals and set up a pair as well. Rounding out the top line was senior Erik Peterson who also contributed two goals and two helpers.
The other Eagles’ goal came from defender Hakon Peterson who also collected an assist in the contest. Another senior, Porter Kreul picked up an assist for the Eagles.
Scoring the other DeForest goal in the opening period was senior Preston Nichols.
Eagles’ juniors Kaden Stracke and Brooks McInerney shared the work in goal, McInerney coming on for the final 9:13, facing three shots after Stracke stopped a dozen shots playing into the final period.
With the win, the now 18-4 Eagles advance to one of four Section 4 Regional finals, Thursday (Feb. 17) at 7 p.m. at RACA in Reedsburg against the 19-6 RWD Cheavers. Winner of that game will advance to Sectional semis next week against either Madison Edgewood Crusaders or the Sun Prairie Cardinals.
The season wraps up for the Norskies who finish the season with a 7-13-1 overall record.