Tomah/Sparta boys’ hockey falls to West Salem

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The Tomah/Sparta boys’ hockey co-op showed plenty of fight, but ultimately fell short on the road against the West Salem Panthers.

The Panthers (2-1) defended home ice with a 4-2 victory over Tomah/Sparta (1-3) Thursday, December 2 at the Panther Den in West Salem.

The game started with a highly eventful first period that featured four total goals between the two sides.

Easton Armstrong got the scoring started for Tomah/Sparta with an unassisted goal just three minutes into the game.

Not even a minute later, West Salem responded with the equalizer courtesy of Connor Brown.

The Panthers would strike again midway through the first period thanks to a Lincoln Rahzen goal that was assisted by Noah LaFleur.

LaFleur would add a goal of his own several minutes later to extend the West Salem lead to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.

Tomah/Sparta would slice that two-goal deficit in half five minutes into the second stanza when Owen Walker lit the lamp on a goal assisted by Brennan Otten.

That 3-2 West Salem advantage would carry over into the third period.

As Tomah/Sparta searched for the equalizer, LaFleur found the back of the net for a second time for an important insurance goal that was assisted by Rahzen.

As it turned out, that final goal would be plenty as Tomah/Sparta was unable to score again.

The Tomah/Sparta co-op took a defeat despite holding a 38-24 edge in shots on goal.

West Salem goaltender Weston Gerke turned aside 36 of the 38 shots he faced while Tomah/Sparta netminder Jake Berry made 20 saves on the 24 shots on goal.

Tomah/Sparta will look to avoid a third consecutive loss when they face Waupun at home later this week.

The puck is set to be dropped when the two clash Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m. at the Tomah Ice Center.

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