The Baraboo/Portage boys hockey team had a promising start, but a penalty-filled second period ultimately spoiled any chance for success on Thursday when the Thunderbirds hosted Aquinas-Holmen-Luther and fell 5-2.

Baraboo was forced to play with a man short on four occasions in a physical and chippy second period, which led to four goals for the opposing team. After leading 1-0 for most of the first frame, the T-Birds went into the first break with a disadvantage after a controversial goal scored by the Avalanche at the buzzer. Head coach Andy Waldvogel received a minor bench penalty after arguing with an official about the play.

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around the end of the first period,” Waldvogel said. “When you are competing with a team that is strong, it’s tough to be shorthanded. And I put our guys in a disadvantage going into the second period, and it kind of snowballed from there. We took too many penalties.”

Baraboo/Portage started out strong, with Joe Zemanovic finding Gabe Larson in the slot who nearly rebounded one in, while Jack Rath had a close wraparound attempt soon after. The Thunderbirds had the clear puck possession early in the frame, and the offensive opportunities eventually paid off when Baraboo was given a power play opportunity after a tripping penalty. Gabe D’Asto sniped one in from afar just 10 seconds into the power play, banking it in off the right pipe to make it 1-0. Mike Wech and Larson were credited with the assists.

Baraboo was awarded another power play soon after on an interference call, but two minutes later the T-Birds were called for too many men on the ice and sophomore goalie Dane Hinz was tested in front of the net. Hinz was solid, saving two and deflecting another to keep Aquinas scoreless, but the Avalanche scored at the buzzer after a scramble in front of the net and after some discussion, the goal was called good.

Aquinas’ Charlie LaPlount took advantage of the early power play to start the second, rebounding one in after another physical scramble in the slot to make it 2-1. Frustration set in from there from the T-Birds, as Baraboo was without a player on three more occasions, with penalties called for roughing, hooking, and head contact. Baraboo was able to kill off two of those three power plays, but allowed an even strength goal at 5:21 before the T-Birds allowed a power play goal at 8:02 to make it 4-1. The Avalanche scored another at the 16:11 mark to go up by four.

Baraboo slowed things down in the third period, showing more patience on both sides of the ice. Wech was able to find some light at the end of the tunnel, stealing a puck in Aquinas’ own zone, and converting the shot to make it 5-2 which held for the remainder of the game.

Hinz saved eight shots on the night while Giovanni D’Asto saved seven in the final frame.

Follow Chris on Twitter @chris_CNsports

Regional Sports Reporter