BETHALTO GETS BY MARQUETTE 4-2 TO OPEN SERIES — The MVCHA 1A West Division playoffs got underway Monday at East Alton Ice Arena with the Bethalto Eagles edging the Marquette Explorers 4-2.
The second game is at 7:15 p.m. tonight at EAIA with Marquette's season on the line and the Eagles in the driver's seat of the best-of-three series.
Bethalto got an early goal from Konnor Loewen on an assist from Jayden Kahl to put the Eagles up 1-0 after one period. Kahl made it 2-0 with his first of two goals in the second period.
The Explorers cut it the score half when Bryce Simon netted his first of two goals, assisted by Ian Sovar, but Bethalo answered when Aaron Scott punched in a goal on passes from Kahl and Loewen to kick off the scoring in the third period to make it 3-1 in favor of the Eagles.
Simon scored again off assists from Jacob Nickle and Mark Vitale in the third to get Marquette back within 3-2, but a late empty net goal by Kahl on a pass from Loewen sealed the deal for Bethalo.
The Eagles' goalie Alec Hilliard stood his ground in the net as the Explorers outshot Bethalto 25-24 in the game.
The Eagles can wrap up the series tonight, but if Marquette evens it up, the final game is set for 8:45 p.m. Thursday at EAIA.
East Alton-Wood River begins the postseason tonight, too. The Oilers got an early bye after winning the 1A West. They face Jerseyville, which ousted Granite City from the playoffs last Thursday. EA-WR plays at 8:45 p.m. tonight with the second game scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Thursday and the third game of the series at 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 16.