The Sauk Prairie co-op boys hockey team's postseason run started with a thriller.
The fourth-seeded Eagles received a first-round bye before hosting the fifth-seeded La Crosse Aquinas/Holmen co-op in a Feb. 14 WIAA regional final. The Eagles played from behind much of the night, digging a 3-0 deficit before rallying for a 6-5 overtime win capped off by a Riley Jelinek goal.
The La Crosse co-op took control during a seven-minute stretch late in the first period and early in the second period. Connor Hefti and Charlie Koscianski each scored in the first period, while Cody Dirks scored 11 seconds into the second to give the Avalanche a 3-0 lead.
A power-play goal jumpstarted Sauk Prairie, as Camden Desroches assisted Dylan Andrews 5:32 into the second period. Desroches added a goal of his own less than two minutes later, receiving assists from Nick Mast and August Begalske to trim the deficit to 3-2 heading into the final intermission.
Desroches evened the score 52 seconds into the third period, taking an assist from Jelinek to tie the game at 3.
The Avalanche regained the lead when Ryan Wink scored at the 8:38 mark, but the Eagles took their first lead of the night when Mast and Desroches scored goals at 9:00 and 10:06, respectively.
The back and forth game was sent to overtime when La Crosse's Lenny Boberg scored with 4:17 remaining in the third.
But Sauk Prairie scored last, as Desroches and Willy Hanson assisted Jelinek — the state's regular-season leading scorer — 3:02 into overtime to give the Eagles the 6-5 win.
The Eagles outshot the Avalanche, 53-22. Sauk Prairie co-op goalie Levi Carr made 17 saves, while Jack Coleman made 47 saves for the Avalanche.
Sauk Prairie (14-10-1) advanced to take on the top-seeded Onalaska co-op (22-3) in Tuesday night's sectional semifinal. The Hilltoppers are coming off a 10-0 regional-final win over the DeForest co-op. The winner will advance to face second-seeded Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells/Mauston or third-seeded Tomah/Sparta.