The Austin Packers boys hockey team entertained the Windom Area Eagles for their 2022-2023 home opener at Riverside Arena Thursday evening, and although a furious third period rally by the Packers knotted the game at 4-4, a goal from Windom’s Brady Espenson, his third of the game late in overtime lifted the Eagles to a 5-4 win.
After a scoreless first period, Espenson tallied a goal at 3:18 of the second period, and he added a power-play goal at 5:42 of the period for a 2-0 Windom Area lead. After a goal from Nicholas Espenson at 9:49 of the second period and another from Karson Lacanne at 2:57 of the third period put the Eagles out in front, 4-0, Austin’s rally began with an unassisted goal from Gavin Brekke at 5:14 of the period to cut the Windom lead to 4-1. Forty seconds later, Gahvin Schaefer cut the deficit to 4-2 with an assist to Grady Carney, and :56 seconds later, Schaefer assisted on an even-strength tally from Isaac Stromlund to narrow the deficit to 4-3. The Packers came all the way back :31 seconds later when Sam Eyre scored short-handed at 7:21 with an assist to Gavin Brekke to give the Packers a stunning four goals in a span of only 2:07 to tie the game at 4, but that was all the scoring for regulation, and Brady Espenson’s third goal of the game for a hat trick at 6:29 of overtime lifted the Eagles to the 5-4 win.
Austin netminder Ethan Knox faced a 64-shot barrage in the game, and he made 59 saves, while Windom goaltender Grant Dronen turned away 29 of the 33 shots he faced to earn the win in goal. Austin was 0 for 5 on the power play for the game, while Windom was 1 for 3.
The Packers are now 0-2 on the young season, and Austin returns to action next Tuesday in Mankato versus the East/Loyola Cougars in the Big 9 Conference opener for both teams, with face-off scheduled for 5:15 p.m.