EAST ALTON — Joe Boevingloh was pumped when the Alton Redbirds’ hockey season began three weeks ago.
“It’s my last year, so I want to make sure it’s a good one,” the Alton senior said.
So far, Boevingloh is enjoying a good senior season, scoring at least one point in every game, including Tuesday’s contest with the East Alton-Wood River Oilers at the East Alton Ice Arena.
Boevingloh finished with two assists to help Alton beat EA-WR 4-2. The 6-foot-3, 150-pound Boevingloh has four goals and five assists after seven games.
“Coming into the year we didn’t know what to think of him,” Alton coach Abram Henson said. “He’s a senior and he’s a big kid and he’s so lanky and he wears a size 14 skate, which is huge. Realistically, he’s one of the most complete players on the team. He’s not flashy, but he gets in there and he gets the job done and he does it well. It’s a massive effort from him on the team. It’s great.”
The Redbirds improved to 4-3 and snapped a two-game losing streak. They avenged the 6-3 loss to the Oilers on Nov. 19.
“The first game we didn’t play to our full advantage,” Boevingloh said. “We knew we had to come out and play hard and we did that.”
EA-WR dropped to 1-7-1 with Tuesday’s loss. The Oilers’ only victory was against Alton.
“Wood River is putting up huge efforts against us and they’re not a bad team by any means,” Henson said. “Today, we were more prepared to play and we played a more complete game than what we have all year. It’s just a good effort from the boys.”
Junior Zach Hunter scored a pair of goals for Alton, giving him five for the season. He scored an unassisted goal with 6 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first period to give the Redbirds a 2-0 lead. With the game tied at 2-2, Hunter scored his second goal with 7:33 left in the second.
“He’s a great player and a huge addition to the team coming from Marquette being a junior, so he’ll be here again next year,” Henson said. “It’s a big deal. He’s a good player. He’s starting to get his head up and he’s starting to make the right plays.”
Seniors Connor Jones and Scotty Waltrup each scored a goal for the Redbirds, whose next game will be on Dec. 1 against Edwardsville. Jones gave Alton a 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season with 9:59 left in the first. Waltrup scored his first goal of the season with 10:25 left in the third to extend the Redbirds’ lead to 4-2.
Boevingloh recorded an assist in Jones’ goal in the first period. He got another assist in Hunter’s second goal in the second. He said his goal for every game is helping his team win.
“I just try getting into the zone and I realize that the points are going, so I mostly try to keep that up,” Boevingloh said. “It’s kind of extra motivation to keep going. Just getting the goals for the team and the points for the team is all what really matters.”
EA-WR, which plays Triad on Dec. 3, got goals from Cole Ford and Jacob Vassos. Ford’s goal — his 10th of the season — with 5:01 left in the first cut Alton’s lead to 2-1 and Vassos tied it with a goal with 13:25 remaining in the second.
Boevingloh said he was pleased with the way his team bounced back from the 5-4 loss to Columbia the previous night.
“We had a pretty good game yesterday,” Boevingloh said. “We knew if we brought that to today’s game, we had a pretty good shot of winning today. So we made sure to keep the momentum going.”
Boevingloh, who attends Marquette Catholic High, is playing in his fifth season with the Alton hockey team. He scored goals against Granite City, Bethalto, Columbia and Edwardsville. He had two assists against Highland on Nov. 10 and one assist in the Redbirds’ last meeting with the Oilers on Nov. 19.
“I love it,” Boevingloh said. “I love the team. I feel like we’re really bonding.”