The Baraboo/Portage prep boys hockey team's energy didn't last Thursday night.
The Thunderbirds had plenty of it early, taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission before suffering a 7-3 non-conference loss to McFarland at Pierce Park in Baraboo.
"It was a much better energy and focus to start out the game, so it was clear they took Sauk — where they came out flat — as a learning opportunity," Baraboo/Portage coach David Clark said, referring to Tuesday's 8-4 loss to the Sauk Prairie co-op. "McFarland is another good team. ... They have some talent where the smallest breakdowns can get exploited.
"We just had a few too many breakdowns to come out on the right side. The team is starting to recognize the big picture. We'll hone in on those and right the ship."
McFarland (14-3-0) struck first, taking a 1-0 lead when Jack Bartzen and Grant Newcomer assisted Simeon Pommerening for a goal 5 minutes, 48 seconds into the game.
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Baraboo/Portage (9-9-0) drew even on Gabe Fitzwilliams' unassisted goal at the 7:14 mark. Fitzwilliams found Will Gunnell six minutes later for a power-play goal that gave the T-Birds a 2-1 advantage.
McFarland took control with a three-goal second period. Newcomer was part of all three, scoring a pair of goals while also assisting Ashton Wendt.
The Spartans kept coming in the third period, as Bartzen, Robert DeChambeau and Newcomer all found the back of the net to open up a 7-2 advantage.
Baraboo/Portage ended the 6-0 run when Josh Beale scored an unassisted goal at the 9:34 mark.
Baraboo senior Dane Hinz made 27 saves in the loss, while August Hoel tallied 24 saves for the Spartans.
The T-Birds will carry a 2-4 Badger North Conference record into Tuesday's home game against Beaver Dam (10-5, 4-2).
Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz.