Goals in the third period and overtime rallied the Rice Lake Warriors past Amery, 2-1, in the opening night of high school hockey Tuesday in Rice Lake.
Though the Warriors have 16 players returning from last season’s five-win team, it was freshman Jace Fitzgerald getting the game-winning goal with 3 minutes remaining in overtime.
After sophomore Cole Fenske was stopped by Amery netminder Ethan Mork, Fitzgerald got his stick on loose puck and lifted a high shot into the net.
Besides Fenske, senior center Tyson Tomesh also assisted on the game-winner goal
Rice Lake trailed 1-0 entering the third period but tied the game on junior Zach Holmstrom’s goal at the tail end of a power play, with assists to junior Bryce Brettingen and sophomore Teagan Scheurer.
Warrior sophomore goalie Ian Krance had 27 saves in his first varsity start. Returning junior goalie Griffin Van Gilder was slowed in early season practices while recovering from an injury.
Senior goalie Mork had 35 saves for Amery, which had won its first two games against Ashland and St. Paul Highland Park.
Rice Lake begins its Big Rivers schedule Thursday with a 7 p.m. game vs. Eau Claire Memorial at Hobbs Ice Center.
On Tuesday, the Warriors are back home to host the Barron-based Northwest Icemen.
The Warriors return their top three scorers from last season in senior forward Riley Strohm (11 goals and 10 assists), forward Cole Fenske (6-8) and senior defenseman Ben Kemp (4-6).
Kemp was an all-conference honorable mention pick last season.
Also returning to the front line from last season’s 5-17 team (2-8 in the Big Rivers) are senior Tyson Tomesh, juniors Brent Roux, Bryce Brettingen, Mason Ewert, Mason Roux, Tristan Scheurer and Zach Holmstrom, and sophomore Caleb Johnson.
Besides Kemp, defenseman returning are senior Caleb Randall and sophomore Jake Engebritson.
All three goalies returning are senior Aiden Ferguson, junior Griffin Van Gilder and sophomore Ian Krance.
Van Gilder saw the bulk of the duty last season, playing more than 600 minutes while posting a 4.60 goals-against average. Ferguson played 234 minutes with a 4.79 GAA.
Freshman new to the varsity are forward Jace Fitzgerald and defensemen Nathan Carroll and Carson Tomesh.