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NA3HL Hockey: WarHawks lose early lead in La Crosse

The Willmar WarHawks scored early in Sunday's matinee matchup against the La Crosse Freeze but it didn't last as the Freeze completed a comeback with a goal early in overtime to take a 4-3 win.

Sunday's final score gave the WarHawks, now 3-2-1 for second place in the West Division, the lone point of the three game weekend.

Laudon Poellinger notched his third goal of the season for La Crosse just 35 seconds into the overtime period to earn the victory.

"We just lacked some discipline in some key moments," Willmar head coach Chris Blaisuis said, noting the team's five penalties.

It was a power play goal that tied the game in third period following a Cameron Pries tripping penalty. Keation Caplis converted on the power play for the Freeze to tie the game at three 5:01 into the third period.

The WarHawks' penalty kill negated four of five penalties but it was Caplis' goal, the fourth of five penalties, that forced overtime.

Braden Shea put the WarHawks ahead just 1:33 into the game with assists from linemates Peyton Bolstad and Max Oelkers. Pries followed that effort up with a power play goal just three minutes later and assisted on the team's third goal of the game. The WarHawks went 1-for-1 on the power play.

In net, Brady Anderson received the overtime loss, allowing the one goal he faced in the extra period despite making 26 stops throughout the day. Jacob Silverstein stopped 33 shots for the Freeze.

The WarHawks will take on reigning NA3HL Silver Cup champions Granite City in a home-and-home series starting Friday in Sauk Rapids. The home opener against the Lumberjacks is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Willmar Civic Center.

La Crosse 4, Willmar 3 OT

Willmar 2 0 1 0 — 3

La Crosse 0 2 1 1 — 4

FIRST PERIOD — Willmar: Braden Shea (Peyton Bolstad, Max Oelkers) 1:33 ... Willmar: Cameron Pries (James Boisvert, Jacob Takashima) PP 4:45

SECOND PERIOD — La Crosse: Brock Zukowski (Nathan marquardt, Alex Seeger) 11:37 ... La Crosse: Brandon Ratzloff (Jacob Garman) 18:23

THIRD PERIOD — Willmar: Keegan Bauman (Pries, Zach Martin) 1:14 ... La Crosse: Keation Caplis (Seeger, Zukowski) 5:01 PP

OVERTIME — La Crosse: Laudon Poellinger (Jacob Silverstein) 0:35

GOALIE SAVES — Willmar: Brady Anderson (L) 26 ... La Crosse: Silverstein (W) 30

Saturday's Score

La Crosse 5, Willmar 2

La Crosse's Clayton Lackey netted a hat trick as the Freeze defeated the WarHawks 5-2.

It was a tough debut for Willmar goaltender Logan Larock who allowed four goals on 12 shots in 26 minutes of play. Brady Anderson replaced Larock in the second period and stopped 22 of 23 shots faced.

The WarHawks scored a pair of goals on the power play on five attempts.

Willmar 1 0 1 — 2

La Crosse 2 2 1 — 5

FIRST PERIOD — La Crosse: Brandon Ratzloff (Jacob Garman) 7:46 ... Willmar: Keegan Bauman (Zach Martin, Jacob Takashima) PP 17:39 ... La Crosse: Clayton Lackey 18:51

SECOND PERIOD — La Crosse: Garman 2:29 ... La Crosse: Lackey (Alex Seeger) PP 6:01

THIRD PERIOD — Willmar: Wyatt Toll (Max Oelkers, Jordan Cooper) PP 6:28 ... La Crosse: Lackey 15:53

GOALIE SAVES — Willmar: Logan Larock (L) 8, Brady Anderson 22 ... La Crosse: William Graves 30

Jake Schultz

Jake Schultz is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune, working his first job out of college. He graduated from St. John's University (CSB/SJU) in 2016 and is a baseball fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter @StJake29. 

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