The Baraboo/Portage boys hockey team didn’t quite bring it on Thursday night.
The Thunderbirds weathered the storm early, but it eventually bit them, as Beaver Dam scored three third-period goals to hand Baraboo/Portage a 4-1 home loss in the Badger North Conference opener for both teams.
“Obviously not the best version of ourselves, 51 minutes of very poorly played hockey,” Baraboo/Portage coach Andy Waldvogel said. “We just weren’t the best versions of ourselves. That pretty much summarizes the evening.”
Both teams had their chances in a scoreless first period. Baraboo/Portage (1-4, 0-1 Badger North) killed off a pair of power plays and nearly converted a late shorthanded goal but Beaver Dam goalie Marshall Goodrich came up with a save and the teams went to the second period tied at 0-0.
Goodrich and Baraboo/Portage goalie Giovanni D’Asto each came up with big saves in the opening 30 seconds of the second period. The game settled down until Beaver Dam (3-2, 1-0) went on a power play with 11 minutes, 37 seconds to play in the period. Beaver Dam’s one-man advantage was almost over when the Golden Beavers turned the puck over in their own zone. Baraboo/Portage senior captain Jack Macdonald took advantage, beating Marshall to give his team a 1-0 lead with 9:42 remaining in the second.
Baraboo/Portage went on a power play with 5:55 left in the second, but on the ensuing faceoff Josh Beale was called for a five-minute major to even the sides. There was a little over a minute remaining on the penalty when Baraboo/Portage’s Joe Zemanovic had a clear path to the goal and crashed into Marshall to earn a five-minute major of his own. Beaver Dam also received a penalty and the Golden Beavers entered the final 2:02 of the period with a 4-on-3 advantage.
It paid off, as Sam Vanderhoeven and Blaiz Firari assisted Riley Vanderhoeven for a goal to tie the game at 1-1 with 1:19 to play in the second period.
Beaver Dam took its first lead of the night when Jay Kirschbaum scored a power-play goal just 43 seconds into the third period. The Golden Beavers added insurance when Sam Vanderhoeven scored with 4:42 to play, then put the game on ice when Kirschbaum scored with 49 seconds to go.
D’Asto finished with 20 saves for Baraboo/Portage, while Marshall made 28 saves for Beaver Dam.
Thursday was the first Badger North win for the Golden Beavers, who are in their first year in the conference. It was the first meeting between the teams since Baraboo/Portage opened the 2012-13 season with a 3-1 win over Beaver Dam.
It was the third straight loss for the Thunderbirds, who just played their fourth game of a six-game home stretch.
“Effort, mental toughness and self discipline,” Waldvogel said of what needs to improve going forward. “We’ve got to bear down and be better.”
Baraboo/Portage will return to Pierce Park to host McFarland in a Badger Conference crossover game on Tuesday before closing out the homestand against Waunakee on Thursday. The Golden Beavers will have a week off before visiting DeForest on Friday, Dec. 15 for a Badger North game.