Austin Packers boys hockey team opens 2023-2024 season with 4-3 OT win at Windom

The Austin Packers boys hockey team opened the 2023-2024 campaign on the road in Windom Monday evening in a non-conference matchup, and a goal from sophomore defenseman Kyler Flanders on the power play in overtime lifted the Packers to an exciting 4-3 win in the extra session.

Junior forward Gahvin Schaefer’s first goal of the season at 5:05 of the first period, with an assist to fellow junior forward Grady Carney put Austin ahead, 1-0, and after a power play and an even-strength goal for Windom put the Eagles on top 2-1 at the end of one period, Carney tied the game at 2 apiece with a goal at 3:42 of the second period, with an assist to Schaefer.

Brad Gentry’s goal for Windom at 14:11 of the period put the Eagles back in front by a score of 3-2, but Schaefer’s second goal of the game for the Packers at 13:02 of the third period, the only goal of the period knotted the game at 3 apiece to send the contest into overtime.  In the extra session, with Windom’s Wriley Haugen in the penalty box for roughing, Flanders’ unassisted power-play goal at 3:57 gave Austin a thrilling 4-3 win.

The Packers outshot the Eagles 41-27 for the game, and junior netminder Daran Plunkett turned away 23 of the 26 shots he faced to earn the win in net for Austin, while Windom goaltender Adam Dahna made 37 saves in facing 41 shots to take the loss.  The Packers were whistled for five penalties for 10 minutes, while the Eagles were called for three penalties for six minutes.  Austin was 1 for 3 on the power play, while Windom was 1 for 5.

Austin opens the new season at 1-0 with the win, and the Packers return to action for their home opener Thursday night versus the Faribault Falcons in a Big 9 Conference game at Riverside Arena, with face-off at 7 p.m.