EAST ALTON — Alton hockey head coach Abram Henson said the matchup with rival Edwardsville was the game they've been looking forward to all year.
Unfortunately, the Redbirds crash landed 5-0 in a penalty-driven game at the East Alton Ice Arena on Thursday in a MVCHA 2A North Division showdown.
"The scoreboard doesn't always reflect the game, this was a hard-fought battle by both teams," said Henson. "You give them (Edwardsville) any room at all and they'll get you. They have tremendous talent. We were able to put a lot of shots on goal, that's a plus. This was probably our best effort all year, but Edwardsville is the best team we've played so far. We've been talking about this game for probably a month or so. The first time we play Edwardsville in a season, it's always a huge game."
The Tigers took a bite out of Alton early with a goal scored by Tyler Schaeffer at 12:26 in the first period off a pass from Tyler Hinterser. Alton was able to kill off a power play late in the period to keep the score at 1-0 going into the break.
The second period sparked the penalties as the Tigers were sent to their cage for eight minutes and the Redbirds were grounded for 10 minutes.
Being shorthanded didn't stop Edwardsville’s Cody Farmer as he scored the first of two shorthanded Tiger goals in the game with a long shot on Alton goaltender Tyler St. Peters to bring the score to 2-0.
Edwardsville was able to benefit on a power play when Hinterser found the back of the net at 9:22 after a connect from Shaun Raftery and Schaeffer to make it 3-0 at the end of the second period.
"Pulling off a short-handed goal is a big momentum swing," said Edwardsville head coach Jason Walker. "That is something that we work really hard on in practice, so for us to get those results tonight, it's really nice. You can't count on getting those, so when your able to land a few, they're nice to get."
Hinterser owned the third period for the Tigers as he delivered Edwardsville's second shorthanded goal off an assist from Raftery at 10:51 to make it 4-0. Hinterser backed it up with the hat trick at 4:09 when he shot the puck off passes from Schaeffer and Raftery to make it the final 5-0 for the Tigers.
"This was the best game we played so far this season," Walker said. "The only negative would be that we spent a little too much time in the penalty box tonight, but we'll work on it. Our goaltender did a great job tonight. As much as we were on the penalty kill, we needed him to stay strong, even with as good as we've been on the penalty kill. He kept everything in front of him and made it look easy. This is the second year that Hinterser and Schaeffer have played together, they get better every game. They're skilled, smart and love to play together on the team. We count on them to do big things and they deliver."
More than 50 penalty minutes were compiled between the Tigers and the Redbirds during regulation play in their first face-off of the season. The next clash between the Redbirds and Tigers will take place on New Year’s Day at the East Alton Ice Arena at 7 p.m.
Edwardsville improved to 9-0, while the Redbirds accepted their second loss of the season, falling to 7-2.
The Redbirds next game will be against Collinsville at 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the East Alton Ice Arena. Edwardsville’s next contest is also at the East Alton ice arena against O'Fallon on Monday at 7:15 p.m.
Shots on goal:
1st 2nd 3rd
Alton 3 13 15 31
Edwardsville 10 5 13 28