By Jim den Hollander
Freshman forward Landon Froese fired his second of the game with 5:13 to play in overtime, lifting the Sauk Prairie Eagles to a 5-4 road win at the Onalaska Omni Center Thursday (Dec. 1) night.
The win came in the first game without senior Luke Mast in the lineup and it was an impressive victory against the always strong Onalaska/La Crosse Hilltoppers.
Sidelined with a wrist injury, Mast, who finished among the state leaders in scoring last season had 136 career varsity points.
Hilltoppers hit the board first for the Hilltoppers 8:59 into the contest but Froese fired his first of the contest 25 seconds later from sophomore Gunnar Nachreiner.
Junior Thor Peterson continued that trend later in the period, responding to the second Hilltoppers’ goal again 25 seconds later with his unassisted goal.
Junior Colin Harrington gave the visitors their first lead with a shorthanded goal, unassisted with just over five minutes to play in the opening period.
After a scoreless second period, the Hilltopers pulled even 6:29 into the third and this time it was 31 seconds before Harrington’s second put the Eagles in front again with a set up from junior Garret Mittelsteadt.
For the Hilltoppers, junior Noah Gillette scored twice and senior Carter Hayes notched the other before Gavin Shuster evened it up again with 7:26 to play.
That set the stage for Froese with another unassisted marker in the extra period.
Senior goaltender Kaden Stracke played a big part in this one, stopping 39 shots for his third win of the season in the Eagles’ crease and sophomore Josh Pogreba had 24 saves for the Hilltoppers.
Ironically, with the win, the Eagles have one more win at the Omni Center (2) than at Sauk Prairie Area Recreation Center (SPARC). The other win came in the season opener against the Avalanche.
This win came in the first of four-straight road games for the Eagles. The next three for the 3-1 (1-0) will be Badger West Conference match ups at Pierce Park Pavilion against the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Saturday (Dec. 3), Tuesday at Reedsburg Area Community Arena against the RWD Cheavers and Thursday at LeBahn Arena against the Madison Edgewood Crusaders.
Next home game for the Eagles will also be a conference game as the Monroe Cheesemakers pay a visit Dec. 13.