PRAIRIE DU SAC — The Beaver Dam boys hockey team struggled to find a comfort zone on Friday.
The Golden Beavers scored the first goal of the night before giving up five consecutive goals in a 5-3 Badger North Conference loss at Sauk Prairie.
“We just weren’t contesting a lot of their shots tonight, especially early in the game,” Beaver Dam coach Chris Huebel said. “They were getting easy looks and we just struggled to find the back of the net.”
Clay Scheffler opened the scoring 5 minutes, 39 seconds into the first period, taking an assist from Riley Vanderhoeven to give Beaver Dam (4-5, 2-2 Badger North) a 1-0 lead.
Sauk Prairie (8-1-1, 2-1-1) got going when Dayne Leonard scored an unassisted goal 8:04 into the first. The Golden Beavers killed off a power play, but Sauk Prairie eventually took a 2-1 lead with 3:55 remaining, digging in front of the net until Camden Desroches scored on assists from Riley Jelinek and Leonard.
The Eagles took a 2-1 lead into intermission after a fairly even first period that saw Sauk Prairie goalie Dakota Pickhard and Beaver Dam goalie Marshall Goodrich each make seven saves.
“I thought we came out all right; we just didn’t finish the period,” Huebel said. “Didn’t keep that energy throughout the first period and we found ourselves behind.”
The scoring slowed in the second period, as neither team found the back of the net in the first 13 minutes. Desroches scored his second goal of the night at the 13:57 mark on assists from Jelinek and Jay Liedtke, giving Sauk Prairie a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.
The Eagles took a commanding lead early in the third period, as Liedtke scored at the 4:57 mark and Desroches capped his hat trick with a short-handed goal at the 6:49 mark to give Sauk Prairie a 5-1 lead.
“They were very opportunistic and they took advantage of the opportunities they had and were able to capitalize,” Huebel said.
The Beavers didn’t led the Eagles waltz to the finish line, scoring a pair of goals in the final two minutes to make it respectable. Brock Brendemihl got the first with 1:24 remaining, while Sam Vanderhoeven scored with 1:13 to play.
Goodrich made 15 saves for Beaver Dam, while Kyle Henning finished out the game and tallied four saves. Pickhard collected 23 saves for Sauk Prairie.
“They did a nice job in their defensive zone. They really challenged our guys and didn’t give us a whole lot of good looks,” Huebel said. “They did a good job of clogging up the middle, and we knew that’s what they were going to do.”
Sauk Prairie got back in the win column for the first time since Dec. 9. The Eagles started the season with seven consecutive wins before suffering a 5-2 loss at Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston on Dec. 12 and playing Waunakee to a 1-1 tie on Dec. 19.
Beaver Dam was just the second team to score more than two goals on Sauk Prairie this season, joining Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston. The teams will meet again when the Beavers host the Eagles on Thursday, Jan. 4.
Beaver Dam, which has lost three in a row, will get back on the ice when it heads to a holiday tournament in Waupun on Dec. 28-29.
“We’ve just got to get better and improve,” Huebel said. “We’re in a little slump right now. We’ve just got to bust out of it.”
SAUK PRAIRIE 5, BEAVER DAM 3
Beaver Dam 1 0 2 — 3
Sauk Prairie 2 1 2 — 5
First period: BD — Scheffler (R. Vanderhoeven), 5:39. SP — Leonard, 8:04. Desroches (Jelinek, Leonard), 13:10.
Second period: SP — Desroches (Jelinek, Liedtke), 13:57.
Third period: SP — Leonard (Liedtke, Desroches), 4:57. Leonard (Desroches, Jelinek), 6:49 (sh). BD — Brendemihl (Stuebe), 15:36. S. Vanderhoeven (Cremers, S. Vanderhoeven), 15:47.
Saves: SP (Pickhard) 23, BD (Goodrich 15, Henning 4) 19.