EAGLES SOAR PAST OILERS IN SERIES OPENER — The Bethalto Eagles took an early command of their best-of-three MVCHA 1A playoff series with the East Alton-Wood River Oilers, beating them 5-1.
Bethalto is the top seed in the 1A field and enjoyed a first-round bye. Fortunately the Eagles didn't look too rusty after a two-week layoff. The Oilers were coming off an impressive 2-0 series win in their best-of-three with Granite City in the opening round, but had trouble containing Bethalto Monday at the East Alton Ice Arena.
The game was scoreless after one period, but Jacoby Robinson put the Eagles ahead 1-0 with an unassisted power play goal in the second period.
EA-WR defenseman Cole Ford knotted it at 1-1 with a goal on an assist from Kaleb Harrop, but it turned out to be all the offense the Oilers could muster. Bethalto went on to score four unanswered goals to secure the Game 1 victory.
Jayden Kahl netted a pair of goals, while Konnar Loewen and Joe Watson tacked on single scores in the win. Anthony Russo, Loewen, Gage Wendell and goalie Alec Hilliard were all credited with assists in the victory. Hilliard corralled 21 saves.
On the other side, EA-WR goaltender Blake Stone had 22 saves.
Game 2 is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. tonight at the Granite City Ice Rink inside Wilson Park in Granite City. The Oilers need to win to force a Game 3 on the docket at 7:15 p.m. Thursday if necessary in East Alton.
Bethalto can close out the series and advance to the 1A finals with a win tonight.
ALTON FALLS TO COLLINSVILLE 9-6 TO OPEN SERIES — The Alton Redbirds put themselves in a hole on Monday, falling to Collinsville 9-6 in Game 1 of their best-of-three MVCHA 1A playoff series at the East Alton Ice Arena.
Brandon Lang gave Alton a 1-0 lead at the 11:50 mark of the first period on assists from Connor Jones and Bryce Simon, which started a seesaw battle at the onset of the game.
The Kahoks knotted it at 1-1 on a goal by Noah Scrum, assisted by Cory Sperry with 3:27 left in the opening period, but Zack Hunter notched a goal with 1:53 left on a dish from Logan Rushing to give the Redbirds a 2-1 edge at period's end.
Sperry scored his first of five goals to tie it at 2-2 at the 12:53 mark of the second period. AHS responded with another score from Hunter off a pass by Mark Vitali with 10:21 to play in the period, pushing the Birds back on top 3-2.
Collinsville scored two unanswered goals late in the second period to nab a 4-3 advantage entering the third.
Simon tied it at 4-4 with a goal at 10:54 of the third period on dishes from Joe Boevingloh and Vitali, but the Kahoks responded just four seconds later to go back in front 5-4.
Alton knotted it again at 5-5 with 10:13 to play on a score by Jones with assists credited to Simon and Boevingloh. Sperry's third goal of the game with 7:01 to go made it 6-5 Collinsville, but the Redbirds were able to tie it once more at 6-6 on a power play goal by Simon with 3:37 to go on assists from Lang and Boevingloh.
The Kahoks erupted though, scoring three goals in the final 1:25 of the game to pull out a 9-6 victory.
Game 2 is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. tonight in East Alton. The Redbirds have their backs against the wall, needing a win to force Game 3, which will be at 8:45 p.m. Thursday in East Alton if necessary.
CM DRAWS EFFINGHAM TONIGHT IN SALEM — Monday night decided who No. 4 seeded Civic Memorial's opponent would be in tonight's 7:30 p.m. Class 3A Salem Regional semifinals and it will be Effingham.
The No. 5 seeded Flaming Hearts defeated Olney (Richland County) 51-43 on Monday, led by 17 points from Aly Armstrong and 14 from Miranda Fox. Shelby Meyers chipped in with 9 rebounds, too.
No. 1 Salem meets No. 8 Mount Vernon at 6 p.m. in the first game tonight.
Tonight's winners advance to the Salem Regional finals set for 7 p.m. on Thursday.