Boys hockey: Packers score first playoff win in 11 years

Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Packers turned a few tough situations into an advantage as they won their first Section 1A boys hockey tournament game in 11 years with a 7-1 win over No. 10 Winona in Riverside Arena Tuesday.

The No. 7 seeded Packers (8-17-1 overall) scored four shorthanded goals in the win as Tyler Hoban had a pair of breakaway goals in just over a minute to make it 2-0 Austin in the first period.

“We got the puck deep and we kept working hard,” Hoban said. “We turned it over and put it in the back of the net. The energy just got to us and we worked as a team.”

Austin’s Sterling Schulz cuts the puck back in toward the inside during the first period in a Section 1A playoff game against Winona Tuesday night. Eric Johnson/

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Dylan Svoboda added another shorthanded goal a minute after Hoban’s second goal to make it 3-0 Austin after one period. Svoboda, a senior, finished the night with a hat trick and an assist. He left the ice knowing he had given his all.

“It was unreal. Emotions were through the roof,” Svoboda said. “I was the last person of the ice because I’ll never get to play in this jersey again for this team on this ice ever in my life. It was a great way to go out with a hat trick.”

Ryan Flanders stopped 23 shots for Austin and the Winhawks (2-23 overall) didn’t score until late in the game when Austin had a 7-0 lead.

Austin’sJacob Halsey battles in the corner with Winona’s Eric Paulson during the first period of a Section 1A playoff game Tuesday night in Riverside Arena. Eric Johnson/

Austin head coach Jason Merritt liked what he saw out his team in the win. Austin will now play at top-seeded Mankato East Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Cougars (13-10-2 overall) edged out Austin 6-3 Jan. 30.

“It’s nice to have four shorthanded goals [tonight] and I don’t know if we’ve had that many before,” Merritt said. “It was good for the seniors in their last game in this building. It was a good [against East], competitive game the first time. We know we’ve got to come out and work hard, forecheck hard, back check hard and make it count when we get the opportunities.”

Svoboda said the Packers will be ready to take on the Cougars on one day of rest.

Austin’s Dylan Svoboda with the puck against Winona in the first period of a Section 1A playoff game Tuesday night at Riverside Arena. Eric Johnson/

“We just need to play our game, get pucks deep and play them the best we can,” Svoboda said. “We’ve got a pretty solid goaltender behind us right now playing well. The whole team is kind of feeling as one right now.”

The last time The Austin boys hockey team won a postseason contest was when the Packers topped Sleepy Eye 7-1 in 2007.


Winona 0 0  1    1

Austin 3 2  2    7

First period

(A) Tyler Hoban (Dylan Svoboda) 13:24

(A Hoban (short handed) 14:55

(A) Svoboda (short handed) 15:41

Second period

(A) Bryar Flanders (short handed) (Jacob Halsey, Sterling Schultz) 3:26

(A) Svoboda (Nate Murphy) 13:32

Third period

(A) Dawson Mills (short handed) (Schultz) 3:26

(A) Svoboda (Ben Stark) 12:55

(W) Tyler Fegre 13:58

Shots: Austin — 29; Winona — 24

Power plays: Austin — 0-for-1; Winona — 0-for-4

Austin’s Dawson Mills gets hung up in a crowd against the boards in the first period of a Section 1A playoff game against Winona Tuesday night. Eric Johnson/