There was no time to ease into the season for the Lakeland boys’ hockey team as they found themselves right away in a close battle at Marshfield. 

In the end the Tigers pulled away at home to take a 6-3 non-conference victory against the visiting Thunderbirds.

“I was very impressed with the kids’ effort and attitudes in our game,” first year head coach Jake Suter said. “We still have many things to work on but this was a step in the right direction for our program and for our kids.”

Marshfield struck first as Isaiah Bairel scored in the second minute of the game to give the home team an early 1-0 advantage. 

Lakeland, though, would stop the Tigers for the rest of the period and go into the first intermission down only a goal.

Lakeland’s Evan Theissen took care of that and tied the game in the second minute of the second period off assists from Max Toijala and Cody Olson.

Teag Wagner followed that a minute later with another goal, assisted by Victor Masayesva and captain Kyle Schaub, and the Thunderbirds took over the lead 2-1.

Lakeland would be unable to hold the lead, however, as Marshfield fired back with two more second period goals by Adam Maki and Isaac Wellens and the T-Birds would go into the second break down 3-2. 

When they came back out the two teams battled for the next seven minutes with no one able to score until Lakeland’s Joe Beda was called for interference and Marshfield went on a power play.

Then Marshfield’s Nick Urban put one past T-Bird goalie Collin Guelcher to increase the lead to 4-2.

A minute later Wagner cut that lead to one with his second goal of the game off Schaub’s second assist.

The Tigers, however, put a slew of third period shots on Lakeland goalie Collin Guelcher and, in addition to Urban, Marshfield’s Max Heller and Evan Weister got past him to make the final score 6-3.

Penalties were minimal for both teams as each only had two, but Marshfield had twice as many shots on goal as Lakeland, firing off 32 compared to the T-Bird’s 15.

When the dust cleared Guelcher made 26 saves on the night in comparison to Marshfield’s AJ Trierweiler who stopped 12.

Lakeland had its home and Great Northern Conference opener against Tomahawk on Thursday. The T-Birds are back in action tomorrow night at Waupaca. 

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