It took less than a minute for Sparta to spoil a good Tomah comeback.
Sparta’s Quaden Baird scored a goal 45 seconds into the overtime period to lift his team to a 5-4 victory over Tomah in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys hockey match at Sparta Youth Hockey Rink.
Tomah’s overall record fell to 1-5-1, while the Spartans improved to 2-3-1.
Tomah coach Todd Kirschbaum said described Sparta’s winning goal as “an odd-man rush after we turned the puck over in the offensive end and did not transition to defense.” He said that was a theme throughout the game.
“We made a few defensive errors, (were) too aggressive in the offensive end and let them get breakaways,” he said.
Tomah faced a 4-2 deficit with less than eight minutes remaining, but a goal by Dylan Alden cut the gap to 4-3, and Wade Miller scored an unassisted shorthanded goal to tie the match with less than four minutes remaining to force overtime.
Back-to-back goals by Noah Nick gave Tomah a 2-1 lead in the first period, when the Timberwolves outshot Sparta 22-4. The Spartans then scored three straight goals over the next 1½ periods.
Sparta goaltender Nathan Thompson kept the Spartans in the contest by making 48 saves.
Tomah has scored 15 goals in their last three games but only just a 1-1-1 record during that span to show for it.
“We have been able to find ways to score however, the team needs to buy into the fact that we need to play team defense,” Kirschbaum said. “We are giving up too many close-in shots to be successful.
The Timberwolves return home Saturday to face Spooner in a nonconference contest starting at 12:30 p.m. at Tomah Ice Center.
SPARTA 5 TOMAH 4 (OT)
Tomah 2 0 2 0−4
Sparta 1 2 1 1−5
First period: S—Steinhoff 1:12. T—Nick 1:38. T—Nick (Pierce, Prielipp) 9:15.
Second period: S—Page (Sprackling, Luns) 12:04. S—Steinhoff 13:28.
Third period: S—Luns (Steinhoff) :30 (sh). T—Alden (Ollendick) 9:53. T—Miller 13:01 (sh).
Overtime: S—Baird (Steinhoff) :45.
Saves: T—Vender 20. S—Thompson 48.
Penalties: T 2-4. S 3-6.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE BOYS HOCKEY
Results of Dec. 12
Sparta 5 Tomah 4 (OT)
Onalaska 7 Central/Logan 3