GRANITE CITY — The East Alton-Wood River Oilers advanced past the first round of the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association Class 1A playoffs on Monday with a lopsided 7-1 win over the Granite City Warriors at Granite City.
The Oilers defeated the Warriors 4-0 on Feb. 4 in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
On Monday, the contest was played on both sides of the rink throughout most of the night and EA-WR put four shots on goal in the first seven minutes of the contest. However, the Warriors went up 1-0 with 6:18 left to play in the first period after Riley Brown’s goal.
Each team put three shots on goal after the first score in the first period, but Granite City still owned a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first period.
“I was proud of the guys, most importantly because Granite came to play in the first,” said Oilers coach John Helmkamp. “And we weren’t playing as well as we could but we didn’t panic. That’s the sign of a good team that has good character and will just keep playing and go through.”
The momentum changed swiftly in the second period — a period where the Oilers netted four goals. Nolan Royse scored early in the second period with 12:13 left to play to tie the contest up at 1-1. Royse fired off a shot approximately 20 yards south of the goal that found the back of the net.
Cole Ford then scored with 9:56 left to play, Blake Weishaupt scored with 5:20 to play and Tyler McHatton scored with 29 ticks left on the clock.
“We turned things around in the second and made a nice effort,” Helmkamp said on the second period. “We were constantly pressuring them in their own zone.”
East-Alton Wood River’s offense would continue produce in the third period when Weishaupt and McHatton scored their second goals. Weishaupt scored a little under a minute into the period and McHatton with 4:33 left to play.
Ethan Fillop tacked on the Oilers’ sixth goal with 12:24 left to play in the third period.
Senior goalkeeper Blake Stone earned his fourth win of the season. He corralled 16 saves in the contest. Stone suffered a football injury in the fall and wasn’t able to return to hockey until just a few weeks ago.
“Our goalie is as hot as can be,” Helmkamp said. “He’s only given up five goals in four games.”
Helmkamp also said the team “was thrilled” to have Stone back.
“The whole team just got tons of shots tonight,” Stone said. “But we also had great defense. It was the same thing with the last game, good defense and tons of shots.”
The Oilers improved to 8-14 overall and will now take on the top-seeded Bethalto Eagles in the second round of the playoffs beginning at 7:15 p.m. on Monday at the East Alton Ice Arena. Granite City finished the season with a 3-19 mark.
“It was a tough night,” Warriors coach Frank Parker said. “They tired us out. When they tired us out we were done. I told the kids in the locker room that there wasn’t anything that I would have changed and I think they all played hard.”