The Lakeland boys hockey team visited D.C. Everest on Jan. 4 and fell 4-1 to the Evergreens.

The Thunderbirds took a first period lead when Bryce Gilbertson  scored right before the first intermission, assisted by River Nicklaus and Kyle Schaub.

D.C. Everest’s Alexander Griffin countered 5:42 into the second on a goal off assists from Quentin Schiro and Eddie Zynda, and the game was tied 1-1 at the second intermission.

Then Lakeland fell behind for the first time in the night when Grant Oertel took assists from Peloquin and Justin Jakubek and scored 2:09 into the third.  

From there the flood gates opened and D.C. Everest skated away with the game.

Ty Tretter scored unassisted two minutes after Oertel and just like that the Evergreens were up two with the score 3-1.

Peloquin added one more goal for D.C. Everest 8:45 into the third off assist from Schiro and Kyle Jaglinski.

Though Lakeland had their most shots, eight, during the third period, it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit and they lost 4-1.

The T-Birds were handedly outshot 40-18, forcing goalie Collin Guelcher to stay busy and make 36 saves.  

“Collin Guelcher had a great night in net,” Lakeland head coach Jake Suter said.

The game was a physical, chippy affair with 11 total penalties, five on Everest and six on Lakeland.  

Though each team was only able to take advantage of one power play.

“We lost as a group,” Suter said. “We are looking forward to learning from this and continuing to grow.”

They applied those lessons right away on Tuesday when they won a thriller in Rhinelander, 3-2, in overtime to get their first win in the Great Northern Conference.

In that game, Rhinelander took a first period lead when Jake Losch scored an even strength goal 10:25 into the first and at the intermission it was 1-0 Hodags.

But Lakeland would tie the game right away in the second when Joe Beda scored off a Bryce Gilbertson assist. Then, eight minutes later Max Toijala would score a Kyle Schaub assisted goal and the T-Birds took the lead 2-1, where the score stood at the second intermission.

Two minutes into the third Rhinelander’s Conor Pequet took assists from Abe Laggis and Harlan Wojtusik and tied the game 2-2.

Rhinelander, though, was unable to score on a third period power play when Lakeland’s Schaub got called for tripping.

Lakeland, however, was unable to score in the period as well and the game went into overtime at 2-2.

In OT, Bryce Gilbertson of Lakeland got called for an early interference penalty, but the Thunderbirds were able to kill the power play and came away unharmed.  

That cost the Hodags as five minutes later Lakeland’s Schaub took a Teag Wagner assist and shot in the winning the goal with 4.5 seconds remaining in overtime.

Lakeland was much more efficient with their shots, scoring three times on 22 shots.  Rhinelander only scored twice on 40 shots.

Neither team took advantage of their power plays as the T-Birds were 0-2 and the Hodags were 0-4.

In the net, Collin Guelcher made 38 saves for Lakeland while Seth Stafford made 19 saves for the Hodags.

With the win, the T-Birds improve to 3-11 and are currently 1-5 in the Great Northern Conference.

Lakeland faced Chequamegon at home on Thursday past deadline. Coverage will be in Tuesday’s paper. The T-Birds travel to Medford on Monday.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.