For Eric Borre and his West Salem/Bangor co-op boys hockey team, the holidays likely had a double meaning this year.
In addition to some time with family, friends and, of course, opening presents, the Panthers played some hockey. Not their best hockey, mind you, but against some of the best competition they had seen all season.
West Salem/Bangor took it on the chin during a three-game stretch in the last week of December, falling to Superior, Eau Claire Memorial and Madison Edgewood.
That rough patch, it seems, made the Panthers tougher, hungrier and better. Since then, West Salem/Bangor (16-6) has won eight of nine games, and is riding a five-game winning streak heading into this weekend’s tournament in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
“Honestly, I think it was our losses at that holiday tournament (that led to turnaround). Not because we lost and decided to do anything different, but it was a learning opportunity to go see some of the best teams in the state and see how we compare against them,” Borre said.