The Sauk Prairie boys hockey co-op’s flying start to the season hit its first snag on Dec. 12.
The Eagles ran into a tough Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston team, suffering their first loss of the season with a 5-2 Badger North Conference loss in Reedsburg.
The short-staffed Eagles led after the first period, but the home side began to mount more and more pressure. The game wasn’t clinched until Dylan Brown scored two goals in 52 seconds, the second into an empty Sauk Prairie net with 29 seconds left on the clock.
Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston head coach Neil Mattson was happy with the way his team stepped it up each period.
“Yeah, it was a difficult start in the first period,” he said. “In the second period we outshot them 13-7 and third period, it was 18-7. I was able to roll three lines consistently, so we ran them down out of gas, so that was a big benefit to us.
“You know, it’s tough, (Sauk Prairie coach David Lohrei) runs very good systems, he runs a trap and it’s hard to beat, especially on a small sheet of ice like this. I look forward to playing them at Sauk, where I think it’s a bigger sheet of ice, gives us more room to work.”
David Lohrei is happy with how his Eagles have played through eight games this season.
“We were actually fortunate enough to beat three teams in those seven games that we did not beat last year,” Lohrei said of Sauk Prairie’s 7-0 start. “So, we’re showing improvement, we’re moving forward, our team culture is pretty good right now. We need bodies. We have a few guys out right now and we don’t have a lot to start with, so we lose one or two guys, it affects us.”
The Eagles got on the board first when sophomore Camden Desroches notched his 12th goal of the season just 24 seconds into the game. The Cheavers responded with 5:30 to play in the first period, with senior Ben Horzewski scoring on assists from Derek Pawlak and Tarren Gruber.
Desroches’ scored his second goal of the game with 1:41 to go in the opening period, giving the Eagles a 2-1 cushion at the break. But Sauk Prairie was held scoreless the rest of the way.
Jacob Ely scored a pair of second-period goals for Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Muaston, tying the game on a feed from Pawlak near the seven-minute mark and giving the home side its first lead with just over a minute remaining in the second.
With the game on the line, senior Dylan Brown came up with two big goals — the first unassisted while the empty-netter was set up by Ely.
“After the first period, you try not to panic, you know, we have two periods left, that’s how our team works,” Brown said. “We play our best in the third period and we try not to panic.
“They (Sauk) have some good young guys with a lot of heart. They play with a lot of grit. You could see them die down. We ran three lines at them and they only have two, but they ran a solid trap, they are well-coached and you could tell they’ve been conditioned a lot in practice already.”
The Eagles have a pair of key home Badger North Conference games this week, hosting Waunakee on Tuesday and Beaver Dam on Friday before taking a break for the holidays.
REEDSBURG CO-OP 5, SAUK PRAIRIE CO-OP 2
Sauk Prairie 2 0 0 — 2
Reedsburg 1 2 2 — 5
First period: SP — Desroches, 0:24. Desroches (Jelinek), 15:19. R — Horzewski (Pawlak, Gruber), 11:30.
Second period: R — Ely (Pawlak), 6:58. Ely (Horzewski), 15:56.
Third period: R — Brown, 15:39. Brown (Ely), (EN), 16:31.
Saves: SP (Pickhard) 29, R (Breunig) 16