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Jay Kirschbaum

Beaver Dam's Jay Kirschbaum (left) and Sam Vanderhoeven (right) celebrate Kirschbaum's third-period goal that gave the Golden Beavers a 4-1 lead Thursday in a game they won over Baraboo/Portage by that same score.

BROCK FRITZ/Capital Newspapers

BARABOO — A few moments made the difference in Thursday’s Badger North Conference opener between Baraboo/Portage and Beaver Dam.

And it was Beaver Dam that made the most of those moments in the third period, as the Golden Beavers scored times in the period to pull out a 4-1 win over the Thunderbirds at Pierce Park Hockey Rink.

“It was a battle; it was a dog fight out there; it was two evenly matched teams I thought,” Beaver Dam head coach Chris Huebel said. “I thought all of our lines played well and we were able to stay out of the box.”

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 period.

“I think our guys did a good job of staying the course and just kept battling,” Huebel said of coming back from the 1-0 deficit. “We were struggling with the power play coming in, and to be able to get a couple I think was obviously the difference in the game.”

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.

“Defensively we played well,” Huebel said. “They have some talented players that can shoot well, and they did a good job of blocking shots on us tonight, that caused us some problems. But our goalie played well, he had some big saves there, especially late in the third.”

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’s a new conference for us, so we’re excited to get the first win in our first opportunity,” Huebel said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how we stack up. All year long, we try to take it one game at a time. This was an opportunity and I thought we responded well.”

The Golden Beavers will have a week off before visiting DeForest a week from today for another Badger North game.

BEAVER DAM 4, BARABOO/PORTAGE 1

Beaver Dam 0 1 3 — 4

Baraboo/Portage 0 1 0 — 1

Second period: BP — Macdonald, 7:18 (sh). BD — R. Vanderhoeven (S. Vanderhoeven, Firari), 15:41 (pp).

Third period: BD — Kirschbaum (Cremers, S. Vanderhoeven), 0:43 (pp). S. Vanderhoeven, 12:18 (sh). Kirschbaum (S. Vanderhoeven), 16:11 (pp).

Saves: BD (Marshall) 28, BP (D’Asto) 20.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Reporter