Falcons’ forward Devin Sauvola (No. 14) works up the ice during the second period of Saturday’s game.
Falcons’ forward Devin Sauvola (No. 14) works up the ice during the second period of Saturday’s game.
The Eagle River Falcons ended up on the short end of a pair of competitive contests inside the Great Lakes Hockey League this past weekend. First falling on the road 4-2 in Marquette on Saturday, then following it with a tough loss inside the Dome Saturday to West Bend where they fell in a shootout, 5-4.

Saturday, in front of one of the larger crowds of the season inside the Eagle River Sports Arena, the Falcons fell behind to league-leading West Bend early, surrendering a score just four-minutes in as Erik Haver threw a shot from the left point over the shoulders of Falcons’ goalie Michael Madosh to make it 1-0.

Minutes later as the Falcons were preparing to break out of their defensive zone, a turnover gave West Bend a two-on-one which they cashed in to make it 2-0 with 11:43 to go in the first.

Eagle River then got back to even on strength of their forecheck, getting two goals in the final three minutes of the first to tie it up at 2-2. The first came off the stick of Mike Otto who standing in the right spot at the right time; cleaned up on a Devin Sauvola shot to notch the teams first goal of the night.

The second Falcons’ score came with just 47 seconds left when Derek Tijan collected a loose shot near the right offensive corner and threw it on goal only to have it deflect off the back of West Bend goalie Bill Sias to make it 2-2 heading into the second.

A penalty-free game continued through the second period until the Falcons gave West Bend the man advantage not once, but twice.

Neither proved beneficial to the road team, though they did grab a brief lead with 9:13 to play in the period when Steve Klug slid one past Madosh to make it 3-2.

With 1:32 left in the second the Falcons again pulled even, this time on a score from Anthony Caroselli who took assists from Tijan and Dylan Weber to make it 3-3.

In the third Tijan notched his second goal of the night with 15:21 to play which gave the Falcons their first lead of the evening at 4-3. That lead would hold until the 9:45 mark when Russell Johnson tied the score at four on a wrister that slipped through the crease.

At 8:39 the home team would get the powerplay in their favor, but were unable to cash in as neither team could get the game-winner in regulation. Nor would either team get the deciding goal across the five-minute extra frame which sent the contest to a shootout.

West Bend took the first shot and with it got the 1-0 advantage. After Jake Robinson missed the tying attempt Alex Hauswirth cashed in to knot the score at 1-1 in the shootout.

The Bombers then took a 3-1 lead after their next two skaters put pucks in which is how the shootout ended as Eagle River fell

With the 5-4 win the Bombers stayed atop the league standings at 4-2 with eight points.

Tied with them are the Fox Cities Ice Dogs who are 4-3 so far on the year. Eagle River remain steady in third with seven points at 3-2.

Player/manager Otto said skating at home with only two offensive lines was unfamiliar territory, but after a couple of injuries kept them shorthanded this weekend, the impact of the upcoming schedule shouldn’t bear too much of a load as the team looks to be coming back to full-strength.

“This year it’s helped being able to travel well, which we haven’t done in the past few years,” said Otto. “One of our biggest pickups this year has been Madosh in goal. Jayson Dalquist also has been a big help along with Blake Miller on defense.

“Overall the outlook for the rest of the season is positive. The front end of the schedule this year was a little light so we were able to ease into it a little bit.”

The team will play this Saturday at home against Portage Lakes. Game time is set for 8 p.m.

The following weekend begins the Wisconsin River Cup series with the Mosinee Papermakers as the Falcons will hit the road Friday, returning Saturday for their annual Derby game against Mosinee. Game time next Saturday is set for 8 p.m. at the Eagle River Sports Arena.