Packers’ late charge comes up short against Cougars

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Austin boys hockey team made a late flurry against one of the top teams in the conference, but it ran into a speed bump as it lost to Mankato East a score of 6-3 in Riverside Arena Tuesday.

The Packers (5-14-1 overall, 1-9-1 Big Nine) stormed back into he game when Tate Finley and Jake Halsey each scored in a one-minute stretch in the third period to make cut East’s lead to 5-3. Tyler Hoban nearly brought Austin within 5-4, but his goal was called off due to a tripping call .

Austin’s Bryar Flanders attempts a shot against Mankato East in Riverside Arena Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/

The Cougars (10-8-2 overall, 7-1-1 Big Nine) responded by scoring twice in the final seven minutes to put the game away.

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Austin head coach Jason Merritt liked the fight he saw from his team in the third period.

“It was good. Yesterday’s practice all we talked about was compete level,” Merritt said. “I think they’re the best team in the conference and compared to what we did on Saturday to now was night and day. We competed on every shift and that’s all we ask. Hopefully we’ll continue to build off it.”

Austin scored the first goal of the game when Halsey found the net early on, but the Cougars scored two goals in a two-minute stretch to lead 2-1 after one period. East added two more goals in a three-minute stretch in the second to go up 4-1.

Austin’s Ryan Flanders stopped 39 of the 44 shots he saw in net.

Austin’s Ryan Flanders makes a save on Mankato East’s Sam Schulz in Riverside Arena Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/

“We don’t worry so much about shots on goal as much as we worry about where they come from,” Merritt said. “If we push everything outside the dots, we should be able to make those saves. Ryan played well, he hung tough and he controlled rebounds.”

Austin has now lost in five games in a row.


East 2  2  2    6

Austin 1  0  2    3

First period

(A) Jake Halsey (Bryar Flanders) 5:47

(M) Jacob Schreiber (Hayden Guillemette, Jake Anderson) 10:02

(M) Garrett Rabenhorst (Layten Liffrig) 11:57

Second period

(M) Liffrig (Sam Schulz, Brett Borchardt) 14:05

(M) Rabenhorst (Guillemette, Adam Megard) 16:50

Third period

(A) Tate Finley (Halsey) 8:58

(A) Halsey (Flanders) 9:59

(M) Schulz 10:14

(M) Borchardt (empty net) (short handed) 16:05

Shots: Austin — 19; East — 45

Power plays: Austin — 0-for-2; East — 0-for-4

Austin’s Jake Halsey celebrates a goal with Bryar Flanders in Riverside Arena Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/