The Baraboo/Portage boys hockey team has been looking for a spark to jumpstart the 2017-18 season.

It might have come on Tuesday night, as the Thunderbirds rallied late to notch a 2-1 overtime non-conference win over visiting McFarland at Pierce Park Hockey Rink.

“We knew that we were going to have to bring a solid effort in order to be competitive,” Baraboo/Portage head coach Andy Waldvogel said, noting that the T-Birds had a shorthanded bench on Tuesday. “It was one of those things where we had to go out and be competitive. At times it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.

“Definitely plenty of room for improvement, but it sure feels nice to be on the other side of an overtime game like this. They deserve to enjoy it.”

Baraboo/Portage (2-4) was staring at its fourth straight loss head on, trailing 1-0 and playing with a one-man disadvantage in the closing minutes of the third period. But the T-Birds kept battling and it paid off, as Mike Wech assisted Joe Zemanovic for a shorthanded goal with 1 minute, 24 seconds remaining to tie the game at 1-1.

That momentum carried into an overtime period that took just 20 seconds. Baraboo/Portage defenseman George Fitzwilliams unleashed a deep shot and forward Jack Macdonald and Campbell Koseor each got their stick on it before it hit the back of the net. Koseor was the last to touch it, scoring the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win.

“We just had to keep hammering and shooting and crashing for rebounds,” Waldvogel said. “The guys just kind of stayed the course and stuck to the script. We were fortunate enough to create some good scoring chances purely by shooting the puck.”

Baraboo/Portage needed the comeback after McFarland (1-5) struck first when Grant Newcomer assisted Conor Wilson to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead 8:28 into the first period.

The T-Birds nearly drew even in the closing minutes of the first, closing the period on a two-minute power play but failing to take advantage and going into the second period with a 1-0 deficit.

Baraboo/Portage goalie Dane Hinz did all he could to keep it a one-goal deficit. The sophomore came up with three big saves during a five-minute Baraboo/Portage power play that nearly saw McFarland put in a shorthanded goal.

McFarland took the 1-0 lead into the final period and played the majority of the period with a one-man advantage thanks to three Baraboo/Portage penalties. But the T-Birds had enough in the tank to earn their first win since they recorded a 7-4 home win over Mosinee on Nov. 28.

Hinz made 24 saves for the T-Birds, who entered the night allowing 4.8 goals per game. Tucker Jarrett tallied 37 saves for the Spartans.

The T-Birds will cap off their six-game home stretch when they host Waunakee (3-3, 1-0 Badger North) in a Badger North Conference game on Thursday. Baraboo/Portage was swept by Waunakee last season, suffering a 4-2 road loss and a 3-2 home loss.

“Hopefully we can pick up and move forward with some momentum,” Waldvogel said.

Boys Swimming

The Baraboo boys swimming team traveled to McFarland on Tuesday where they narrowly fell 89-81.

The Spartans pulled ahead down the stretch, taking first in the 400 meter freestyle relay with a time of 4:00.57 while Ethan Klingenmeyer, Jacob Laux, Josh Hackbarth, and Aidan Lohr came in at second with a 4:02.05. Before then, McFarland took the first (1:13.93) and third (1:18.27) spots in the 100 breaststroke, while Laux took second (1:15.4) and Jasper Swallen took fourth (1:24.92).

Baraboo kicked off the meet with success, taking the title in the 200 medley relay with Lohr, Swallen, Laux, and Hackbarth combining for a 2:02.72. Hackbarth followed with a second place finish in the 200 free (2:12.59). Lohr and Laux took first and second in the 200 IM with times of 2:20.78 and 2:29.82, respectively, while Klingenmeyer took second in the 50 free (27.35).

Luke Stelling had no trouble touching the wall first in the 100 butterfly, recording a time of 1:10.75, with Mitchell Hoppe taking third (1:17.01). Other top finishes include second from Hackbarth in the 100 free (58.62), third from Swallen in the 400 free (4:49.43), second from Klingenmeyer, Stelling, Hamm, and Swallen in the 200 free relay (1:53.57), and first from Lohr in the 100 backstroke (1:03.4).

Boys Basketball

The Baraboo boys basketball team traveled to DeForest on Tuesday where it fell 70-41 in a Badger North Conference game.

The T-Birds fought right alongside the Norskies (4-1 overall, 2-1 Badger North) early in the first half, but a string of mistakes led to a 35-22 deficit at halftime.

“At halftime we were down by 13, and I thought at that point it really should have been just a couple of possessions game, but we had some bad mental errors that cost us in the first half which made it a double-digit game,” coach Darrin Berger said. “To start the second half, they were aggressive and hit some shots, and the score sort of spread out pretty quickly and from there it was out of our hands.”

Justus Neuman led Baraboo with 12 points, followed by Connor Grogan (10) and Ryan Gehin (8). DeForest was led by Trey Schroeder who recorded 15 on the night.

Baraboo (0-5 overall, 0-3 Badger North) will host Salam on Dec. 16 before hosting Waunakee next Tuesday.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Reporter