The Baraboo/Portage boys hockey team got a signature win on Friday night.
The host Thunderbirds avenged an early-season loss with a 3-2 overtime win over Badger North Conference rival Sauk Prairie co-op at Pierce Park Hockey Rink in Baraboo.
“I was really proud of the effort we got from everyone,” Baraboo/Portage coach Andy Waldvogel said after the win. “That’s exactly what we needed.
“We played three full periods and I’d actually say it was overdue. Not the effort; the effort has been there ... but the outcome. The boys deserved it.”
With the WIAA playoffs starting on Tuesday, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It’s good timing to get things going in the right direction here,” Waldvogel said. “Hopefully this will spark a fire.”
It was a team effort that got it done, as a scrum in front of the Sauk Prairie net led to a Cameron Logan goal 5 minutes, 3 seconds into overtime.
“The scoresheet says Cameron Logan, but I honestly couldn’t tell you,” Waldvogel said of what he saw on the game-winning goal. “It was a pileup in front and the puck ended up in the net.”
The T-Birds (6-16, 3-6 Badger North) never trailed on Friday, but they never established complete control either.
“It was one of those that didn’t feel like we should be tied,” Waldvogel said. “It was a really impressive team win. We got everybody’s best tonight and that’s why the outcome was what it was.”
The T-Birds started fast, with Logan scoring the first of his two goals 1:02 into the game.
Sauk Prairie (13-9-1, 4-5-1 Badger North), a four-school co-op including Mount Horeb, River Valley and Wisconsin Heights, answered with 1:22 remaining in the first period, as Cameron Desroches assisted Riley Jelinek to tie the game at 1.
Baraboo/Portage scored quickly again in the second, as Alex Brown assisted Mike Wech for a goal just 1:38 into the period.
Dane Hinz, who had 33 saves on the night, and the Baraboo/Portage defense pitched a shutout in the second period. But the Eagles had one more goal in them, as Jelinek and Desroches assisted Lance Bauernhuber 27 seconds into the third period to tie the game at 2.
Hinz and Sauk Prairie co-op goalie Levi Carr, who made 26 saves, kept their nets clean the rest of the period to set up Logan’s game-winner in overtime.
“I’m very happy for the boys,” Waldvogel said. “Some of the inconsistency and some of the penalty trouble we’ve had wasn’t there tonight.
Baraboo/Portage ended a five-game losing streak, while the Eagles have lost three straight and four of their last six.
Sauk Prairie was looking to sweep the season series with Baraboo/Portage for the first time since the 2011-12 season, but the T-Birds won Friday to make up for a 5-3 loss at Sauk Prairie on Dec. 21.
The teams have a chance to meet again this season, as they are in the same sectional of the WIAA playoffs and could potentially meet in the sectional finals if they both go on a run.
Sauk Prairie is seeded fourth and will receive a bye before hosting the La Crosse Aquinas co-op in Thursday’s regional final. Baraboo/Portage is seeded seventh and will host 10th-seeded Viroqua on Tuesday in a regional semifinal at Pierce Park Hockey Rink in Baraboo.
“I think they should feel good about their chances regardless of who they line up across, as long as they string three periods together,” Waldvogel said of his team.
Both teams will have one more playoff tune-up, as they are set to close out the regular season on Saturday. Sauk Prairie will host Stevens Point Pacelli, while Baraboo/Portage will play DeForest at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena in Lake Delton.
“I’m proud of how they battled and am excited to see what they bring tomorrow,” Waldvogel said.
Sauk Prairie co-op 1 0 1 0 — 2
Baraboo/Portage 1 1 0 1 — 3
First period: BP — Logan (G. Larson, Koseor), 1:02. SP — Jelinek (Desroches), 15:38.
Second period: BP — Wech (Brown), 1:38.
Third period: SP — Bauernhuber (Jelinek, Desroches), 0:27.
Overtime: BP — Logan (G. Larson, Koseor), 5:03.
Saves: SP (Carr) 26, BP (Hinz) 33.
Saves: SP 0-0, BP 3-6.