For whatever reason the Pacelli co-op boys hockey team just can’t seem to stand prosperity this season.
Pacelli usually leaves the ice after one period with a lead only to see it evaporate, and ultimately result in a frustrating loss.
Different day, same story for the Cardinals on Saturday, except this time the outcome turned into an 8-1 blowout loss at the hands of the Baraboo-Portage co-op in a matinee at Ice Hawks Arena.
It’s a scenario that’s been played out more than Pacelli co-op boys hockey coach Rusty Mitch would like to remember, or like to see happen again this season.
“After the first period, I was like, ‘Okay, we’ve been here before so many times.’ We have to learn how to finish games,” said Mitch after watching the Thunderbirds score eight unanswered goals over the final 34 minutes.
“It’s not acceptable to just play hockey, we want to win games,” Mitch added. “We have to change this around real quick. We’re going to have a meeting about not being willing to accept what people give us, but working hard to create opportunities.”
The complexion of the game certainly changed in a hurry Saturday.
All the momentum was on the side of the Cardinals after Donny Sell struck for a power-play goal off a perfect centering pass from Luke Yenter with 19 seconds left in the opening period to put them up 1-0.
Pacelli managed to protect the one-goal advantage until an unforced turnover in front of its own net enabled the Thunderbirds’ Joe Beale to tie the game at 1-1 just 4:03 into the second period.
“There was a little momentum swing (in the second period) with some goals that shouldn’t happen, and then I thought we played scared and didn’t hustle,” Mitch said.
That was the beginning of the end for the Cardinals, who managed only 15 shots on goal.
Baraboo would score three times in a span of 4 minutes late in the second period — Griffin Nicksic, Adam Stanton and Tyler Laux handled the scoring honors — to grab complete control at 4-1.
The final goal of the period pretty much summed up the Cardinals’ frustration as Laux’s centering pass deflected off the stick of Charles Beyer and past a defenseless goalie Joe Fuller (25 saves).
The Thunder birds found the back of the net four more times in the final period as the frustration spilled over to a parade to the penalty box for Pacelli, which was whistled for six minors.
“Why this is happening, I don’t know. I’m confused,” said Mitch of not being to protect or expand upon early leads. “I look at our team and I see two things. We need to pick up the intensity level and we need to shoot the puck more. We need to put the work in to turn this around.”
Baraboo 8, Pacelli 1
First period: 1. P, Donny Sell (Luke Yenter), 16:41 (pp).
Second period: 2. B, Joe Beale, 4:043; 3. B, Griffin Nicksin (Beale, Tyler Laux), 11:29; 4. B, Adam Stanton (Wyatt Zalewski), 13:42; 5. B, Laux (Brett McCutchin, Stanton), 15:31.
Third period: 6. B, Stanton (Laux, Logan Jacobs), 6:29; 7. B, Eric Zarilli (McCutchin), 7:46 (pp); 8. B, Douglas MacDonald (Steven Mordini), 11:35; 9. B, McCutchin (Zarilli), 14:40.
Saves: Baraboo (Sean McCutchin) 14, Pacelli (Joe Fuller) 25.
Records: Pacelli 5-8; Baraboo 7-3-1.