It counts the same as any other loss in the record book, but the Waunakee boys’ hockey team’s loss on Saturday to the Hilltoppers of Onalaska was a particularly tough one to swallow.
Leading 5-3 heading into the third period, the Warriors were in good position. In an evenly-matched contest, Waunakee took advantage often on power plays, going three for four when they had a one-man advantage throughout the first two periods. Alex Dull scored a power play goal in the first, followed by two from Isaac Nett and Drew Christianson in the second.
In addition to their three power play goals, the Warriors scored a pair of goals when the teams were at even strength; in the first, Erik Mikkelson found the back of the net, and Drew Christianson scored another goal in the second.
It all added up to the 5-3 advantage heading into the third, and that score remained for the majority of the period.
After a Warrior player was sent to the penalty box at 12:15, the Hilltoppers made their comeback. Onalaska scored 35 seconds later, cutting Waunakee’s advantage to just one goal.
Two minutes later, the Hilltoppers evened the score at 5-5, and Waunakee’s once-significant advantage was erased.
When the Warriors were forced once again to send a player to the penalty box with 1:12 remaining in the third, by that point, Waunakee was on their heels. Needing to hold Onalaska off the scoreboard for 72 seconds to force overtime, the Warriors fell just seconds short.
The Hilltoppers netted the game-winner with eight seconds left, completing their frenzied comeback.
Christianson, Steven Pasinato and Dull each accounted for a pair of assists, while Danny Reis and Spencer Stokes tallied one apiece.
In goal, Ben Luebke made a total of 29 saves throughout the contest.
The loss snapped Waunakee’s four-game win streak, giving them a record of 10-4-0 (6-0-0 Badger North) heading into Tuesday’s contest against Janesville, the results of which were not available for this week’s edition. The Warriors will return to action on Friday, when they travel to Hartmeyer Ice Arena to take on the Silver Eagles of Monona Grove. The puck is scheduled to drop against Monona Grove at 7:30 p.m.