The Viroqua cooperative boys hockey team opened the 2017-18 season with a 2-2 tie versus Sparta Tuesday, Nov. 21, in a game played at the Viroqua Community Arena, and then dropped a 10-1 decision to the La Crosse Aquinas Avalanche on the road later in the week.

Viroqua vs Sparta

The Blackhawks opened the game with a flurry, outshooting the Spartans 17 to 8 in the first period. Freshman Jake Krause gave Viroqua an early 1-0 lead scoring his first varsity goal; the unassisted score came with 8:53 left on the first period clock.

Sparta’s Jack Steinhoff knotted the score at 1-1 at 13:21 of the period, but the Blackhawks answered less than a minute later when Sophomore forward Nick Paduano, made it 2-1 Viroqua, finding the back of the Spartan net at 14:02 into the period. Paduano’s goal was a double-assist score off passes from Garrison Korn and Paul Hughes.

Steinhoff tied the game at the 5:16 mark of the second period, converting one of Sparta’s 10 shots on goal in the frame. The Blackhawks failed to find the back of the net despite taking 9 shots on goal in the middle period.

The two teams skated to a scoreless duel in the third period and overtime session, with Sparta outshooting the Blackhawks 14 to 13 in the 25-minute span.

Viroqua goaltender Carter Bergdahl recorded 30 saves in the contest, many of the spectacular variety, while Sparta’s Nathan Thompson stopped 37 of 39 Viroqua shots. Viroqua was whistled for four minor penalties in the contest, Sparta for only two.

Viroqua vs Aquinas Avalanche

Nathan Turnipseed provided the only offense for the Blackhawks in the lopsided defeat to the La Crosse Aquinas Avalanche, scoring a second period goal with an assist from Jason Mischler Friday, Nov. 24.

The Avalanche converted on four of five power-play opportunities in the game. Hunter Schultz, (three goals and an assist), Ryan Wink (three goals and an assist) and Connor Duncan (two goals and two assists) led the Avalanche.

Bregdahl stopped 41 of 51 shots for the Blackhawks, while Aquinas’s Ben King recorded 10 saves in the game.

The co-op teams hosted West Salem Nov. 28, and will be on the road for three consecutive games before returning to host La Crescent at the Viroqua Community Arena Dec. 12.

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