Rocky third period spells defeat for Shawano/Bonduel

Dustin Riese

It’s not always about how you start a game but how you finish it.

For the Shawano/Bonduel boys hockey team, Dec. 19 was one of those nights where you not only start poorly, but finish poorly, too, leading to a less than appealing result.

After falling behind by a pair of goals in the first period, the Hawks did a great job bouncing back in the second to tally two goals of their own, but after allowing three more, continued to trail 5-2. Then came the third period, which could go down as a period to forget as the Hawks allowed four more goals to fall to the Stars 9-2 in Badgerland Conference action.

“Once again, we started slow and fell behind by multiple goals,” head coach Adam Gafner said. “While the energy and focus were there, discipline was an issue. We have to stop taking penalties as three of their first four goals came on the power play. That puts your defense in a tough spot and one you don’t want to be in too often.”

It didn’t take long for the Stars to open up the scoring as they were pressuring Dylan Prochaska right from the start. After coming away with a big kick save early in the opening period, the puck bounced right to Mason Weyers, who put it home to put the Stars in front for good 1-0. They managed to hold that lead until the later stages of the first period, when a costly penalty resulted in a power play opportunity and a Will Cote goal to give the Stars a 2-0 lead after one period of play.

Things continued to get worse for the Hawks in the second period as their inability to get much of anything going against Elliot Reichenbacher in goal – mixed with a defense that was facing constant pressure throughout the night – led to another rough period. Spencer Winnekens made things 3-0 just over four minutes into the second period.

Winnekens was just getting started as he connected for a power play goal a few minutes later, with Blayke Adamovich following suit less than three minutes later as the Stars connected for three power play goals in the first two periods and opened up a 5-0 lead.

Needing offense in a hurry, the Hawks finally started to move the puck inside the Fox Cities blue line and began to put pressure on Reichenbacher, who faced just nine shots in the first 30 minutes. In a span of one minute, the Hawks picked up not one, but two even strength goals to pull closer as Maxwell Huntington and Cameron Schroeder lit the lamp to bring the Hawks within 5-2 after two.

Gafner was proud of how his team continued to fight despite facing such a large deficit early on.

“I thought we did a great job battling through the end of the second period to pick up those goals,” he said. “We had multiple chances to add on and make things 5-3 but couldn’t find the back of the net. From there, they took over and put us away.”

Hoping to use that late period momentum to their advantage, Kaiden Thornborrow remained between the pipes after taking over for Prochaska midway through the first period, and the results were not much better as he came away with 24 saves in just over a period of action. Eighteen of those saves came in the final 17 minutes. While the 18 saves is what stands out, when you face 21 shots, things aren’t going to be pretty as Adamovich, Aiden Eckes and Weyers all lit the lamp for even strength goals to stretch the lead out to 8-2.

That sparked another goalie change with Tyson Lyons coming in to close things out and picking up nine saves on 10 shots in five minutes. The lone shot he failed to save resulted in the ninth and final goal of the game for the Stars with Braeden Process finishing things off for the Stars.