RV 1-1-3 = 5 Windom Area 2-3-3 = 8 A wild final period and a half Tuesday night saw the Windom Area boys hockey team cling to an 8-5 win over Redwood Valley in the Section 3A playoffs.
The Eagles raced to a 5-1 lead in the second period, only to see Redwood Valley close to within two goals on three different occasions in the third.
Devin Nielsen got the Eagles on the board at the 6:42 mark of the first period, intercepting a pass and scoring on a breakaway.
With four minutes left in the first, Nielsen passed from behind the net to Mitchell Macek, who scored on a one-timer for a 2-0 lead. But Redwood answered just 12 seconds later, making the score 2-1 after one period.
The Eagles scored three straight goals to start the second period. On the first, Zach Bartosh took a centering pass from Ryan Clark and scored on a one-timer for a 3-1 lead. Moments later, as the Eagles skated off a five-minute major penalty, Nielsen intercepted a pass at the blue line and scored a shorthanded goal for a 4-1 lead.
The Eagles pushed the lead to 5-1 when Ryley Espenson squeezed a tough-angled shot past the Redwood goalie.
But after that, the fireworks really began. Redwood scored to make the score 5-2 after two periods, then added another goal early in the third, cutting the Eagle lead to 5-3.
Espenson stole the puck as the Eagles skated off another penalty, scoring a shorthanded goal for a 6-3 lead. Two minutes later, Redwood scored to pull within two, but at the 9:03 mark, Ryan Evers scored to give the Eagles a 7-4 lead.
The Cardinals cut the deficit to 7-5, but with 2:48 left on the clock, Nielsen scored his third goal of the game, sealing the Eagle win.
Windom outshot Redwood 39-34 in the game. Goalie Nate Monson finished with 29 saves in the win.
The win puts the seventh-seeded Eagles into the quarterfinal round Thursday, where they will play at second-seeded Willmar.
Next games: Check for updates after each game. Windom Area: at Willmar, Feb. 20