The Austin Packers boys hockey team opened the home portion of their 2019-2020 schedule Saturday against the LaCrescent Lancers, and it was the Lancers rallying with four third period goals to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 7-5 road victory.
Kaleb Ree got the Packers off to a lightning-quick start as he scored unassisted only eight seconds into the game to quickly make the score 1-0. Reid Haffner tied the game for LaCrescent with a power play marker at 9:34, but with Blaine Krueger in the penalty box for cross-checking, Garrett Schafer put the Packers back in front 2-1 with a short-handed goal at 15:14. Wyatt Farrell, who assisted on the first Lancer goal tallied another power play goal for LaCrescent at 16:37 to send the two teams into their respective dressing rooms tied at 2.
For the second period in a row, Austin started off quickly as Krueger scored at 1:05 of the second period with an assist to Caleb Ree to put the Packers in front 3-2. Jameson Johnson scored just :12 later with an assist to Gavin Johnson to run the score to 4-2, but Farrell tallied his second goal and third point of the game for LaCrescent with a power play marker at 9:16 to cut the Packer lead to 4-3. Austin answered back a short time later as Schafer netted his second goal of the game at 10:31 with an assist to Ree, his fourth point of the game to increase the Austin lead to 5-3 at the end of two.
They say the hardest lead to protect in hockey is a two goal lead, and LaCrescent proved that old adage true as the Lancers tallied four third-period goals, with the winning and insurance goals supplied by Owen Davison to make the final 7-5.
Austin outshot LaCrescent 48-42 for the game, but a big stat was penalites as the Lancers were called for only two penalties for four minutes, while the Packers were penalized eight times for 16 minutes. LaCrescent was 3-8 on the power play while the Packers were 0-2. Ryan Booth picked up the win between the pipes for the Lancers as he turned away 43 of the 48 shots he faced, while Packer netminder Brayden Klappernick made 35 saves in facing 42 shots.
The Packers are off until Saturday when they will play the second game in a three game homestand against Big 9 Conference rival Red Wing.
In girls hockey action from Saturday, the Austin Packers traveled to Prairie Island Arena in Red Wing to meet the Wingers, and a hat trick from Eliza DiNatale, including two goals in the third period lifted the Wingers past the Packers 3-2.
After a scoreless first period, DiNatale scored unassisted at 10:50 of the second to put Red Wing in front 1-0, but Samantha Krueger’s goal at 13:43 tied things up at one at the end of two. Jordyn McCormack’s even-strength tally at 7:44 of the third gave the Packers their first lead at 2-1, but DiNatale’s power play goal at 9:19 and an even-strength tally at 16:00 were enough to lift the Wingers to the win.
Hailey Ehlers turned away 12 of the 14 shots she faced to earn the win in the net for Red Wing, while Packers netminder Kyia Radford Garcia was much busier, making 27 saves in facing 30 shots.
Austin is back in action on home ice Tuesday evening in the Big 9 Conference against Faribault, with face-off at 7:15 p.m.