EAST ALTON — The Alton Redbirds' season came to an end Tuesday with a 5-1 loss to the Collinsville Kahoks at the East Alton Ice Arena in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association Class 1A playoffs.
The Kahoks won the series 2-0, as Collinsville defeated Alton 9-6 on Monday night. The Kahoks will play Bethalto in the championship round of the Class 1A division beginning on Monday. The Eagles completed a two-game sweep of the East Alton-Wood River Oilers on Tuesday, beating them 6-1 after besting them 5-1 on Monday.
Alton went up 1-0 with Zack Hunter’s goal at the 9:18 mark of the first period. Hunter fired off a shot just a few feet south of the goal that landed in the north side of the net. But the lead wouldn’t last, as Collinsville’s Noah Scrum scored with 18 ticks left on the clock to tie the contest at 1-1.
The Kahoks then netted three goals within three minutes to shift the momentum squarely in their corner. Cole Metzger scored early in the second period with 11:37 left to play and Scrum, turning in a hat trick, scored at the 10:32 and 9:03 marks.
“Last night was a very similar game,” Redbirds head coach Abram Henson said. “Last night’s game was tied at six goals with 1 minute and 25 seconds left to play and they had three goals back to back. Sometimes the kids just let down, it happens.”
Collinsville coach Doug Levy said his team “was evenly matched” with Alton.
“It’s all about getting up on them a little bit,” Levy said. “Once you get the momentum going in your favor, a lot of times it gets in the goalie’s head and you just go with it.”
Alton showed some life in the last two minutes of the second period, challenging Collinsville by putting three consecutive shots on goal between the 2:00 mark and the 1:09 mark. At the 1:09 mark, Collinsville had 21 shots on goal while Alton had 19. However, the Kahoks put five more shots on goal in the last minute of play in the second.
Henson agreed that his team experienced defensive breakdowns.
“Some of the kids, they knew it would be their last game, and I think they were a little panicky,” he said. “It just happens, it’s one of those things.”
Scrum scored his fourth goal at the 6:25 mark to make the score 5-1. Collinsville finished with 37 shots on goal while Alton had 30.
The Redbirds finished the season with a 10-13 mark. This season Marquette Catholic's club hockey team entered into a co-op arrangement with Alton High’s for the first time.
“In a first year combination team like this, I thought we were pretty successful,” Henson said. “We were plagued with injuries and sometimes we only had nine guys on the bench. In losing our captain (Jake Bohn) six games before the end, that just killed us. I think it was a good building season and we just have to come back and see what happens next year.”