BARABOO — A flurry of goals in the first period, along with solid defensive effort throughout, lifted the Baraboo/Portage boys hockey team to a 4-2 Badger North Conference victory over Waunakee on Thursday at Pierce Park.
It was the program’s first victory over Waunakee since January of 2015, which made the win that much more exciting for junior Mike Wech, who finished the night with two goals and one assist.
“It’s huge. It’s our second win in six years so it’s really big for us,” Wech said. “We’re 1-1 in conference now; we’re back at it.”
Baraboo/Portage surprised Waunakee with three goals in the first period, two of which came from Wech. The junior wasted no time scoring his first of the night, as he took a pass from Campbell Koseor after Koseor poked out a loose puck along the left boards. Wech found an opening and backhanded one in with 14:40 left to give Baraboo/Portage a crucial 1-0 lead.
Baraboo/Portage kept the pressure on Waunakee’s half of the ice for the next few minutes, and junior Joe Zemanovic used some quick puck handling to race around a couple of defenders and nearly put in a wraparound attempt. The shot bounced off Waunakee goalie Hunter Beck, and Wech kicked out the loose puck to middle ice where it slid into the stick of Koseor, who sniped one in to make it 2-0 with 10:14 left in the period.
Baraboo/Portage kept things going a few minutes later when senior Jack Macdonald kicked a puck in front of him and had a good look at the goal. Macdonald’s shot was stopped, but Wech picked up the rebound and hammered it home to make it 3-0. Macdonald and freshman Campbell Koseor were credited with the assists.
Back on the other end of the ice, freshman goalie Dane Hinz used his quickness to stretch out for a couple of saves later in the period, and was tested after the T-Birds were called for a slashing penalty.
Baraboo/Portage kept the Warriors scoreless with solid defensive efforts, including a diving swat from Koseor to send the puck to Waunakee’s end and Baraboo/Portage had the 3-0 cushion entering the first intermission.
The Warriors scored early in the second period, as Dane Luebke took a pass from Grant Carlson and put the puck past Hinz just 33 seconds into the period to make it 3-1.
The T-Birds went back up by three a couple minutes later when Wech controlled the puck behind Waunakee’s net and kicked it out to Macdonald in the slot who buried it home to make it 4-1.
The Warriors started to become frustrated in the final period, as a five-minute major boarding penalty was given while Waunakee committed a kneeing penalty a minute later and Baraboo/Portage had a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. The T-Birds had some good looks but were unable to find the back of the goal.
Waunakee’s Drew Christianson scored during a Warrior power play to make it 4-2. The Warriors pulled their goalie with 1:30 left, but another Waunakee penalty sealed the deal for the Thunderbirds.