EAST ALTON — The East Alton-Wood River Oilers took Game 1 over Bethalto in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association (MVCHA) 1A West Division finals on Tuesday with a 5-1 conquest.
EA-WR senior Alec Revelle scored two goals in the first period and offered an assist for the Oilers in the second period to become a thorn in the Eagles' side.
The Eagles tried to set the pace in the first period, but could never take flight. It remained scoreless until Revelle took out the garbage for the Oilers off a rebound shot by teammate Nolan Royse with 2:47 left on the clock.
Bethalto sophomore Colton Hamlett was whistled for a slashing call at 2:01 to give EA-WR a power play, but it was cut short when Revelle scored an unassisted power-play goal at 1:55 to make it 2-0.
The Oilers took the wind out from under the Eagles' wings and nabbed a 3-0 lead when Tyler McHatton accepted a pass from Chris Hamby to find the back of the net with just 40 seconds remaining in the first period.
"Up by a game, that is where we wanted to be after tonight," EA-WR head coach John Helmcamp said. "We know that wasn't the normal Bethalto team tonight. We expect a much tougher game coming in Game 2, I'm sure. We had 33 shots on goal tonight and haven't had less than 30 in the last 8 to 9 games in a row. We had to learn to just keep pressing the goal and putting shots on the net. We've worked hard on that and we've seen drastic improvement, that's why our offense is going up."
The Eagles came out physical in the second period, but found themselves a man short early when Braydon Emerick was sent to the penalty box at 10:51. The Oilers capitalized on the opportunity when Revelle took the puck north and connected with captain Cole Ford at 9:51 for EA-WR's second power-play goal of the night.
Junior defensemen Blake Weishaupt wasted no time to give the Oilers a 5-0 lead when he took a slap shot from the blue line after a faceoff in the Eagles' territory. Ford earned the assist at 8:58.
"We played a good tonight," McHatton said. "We didn't play our system like we wanted to, but we drove to the net and were able to bury some pucks tonight. We came in knowing we'd have to play our game and capitalized on the power play and our penalty kill was on point tonight. We didn't give up any goals on the power play which is key. Bethalto is a good team and we need to keep out of the box and not give them any advantages."
The Eagles were able to close out the Oilers offense in the third period, not allowing another goal to widen the gap.
Senior captain Aaron Scott rallied the Eagles when he drove the puck the length of the ice to put it past Oiler goaltender Blake Stone unassisted with 3:42 left in the game to avoid the shutout.
"We were way too complacent all night long," Bethalto head coach Corey Newgent said. "Generally we're the ones who try to dictate the pace of the game, but in all honesty, we did too much spectating tonight. We had too many guys just standing back watching and we were reacting throughout the game, not setting the pace. We were down a couple guys tonight, but short-benched or not, that's no excuse to come out the way we did. We got a little bit going late in the third, but it was too little, too late for this game."
The Eagles and Oilers will battle it out on the ice on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at the East Alton Ice Arena in an anticipated Game 2. The Oilers are inching closer to back-to-back MVCHA 1A West Division championships. The Eagles are facing elimination and the end of their season unless they are able to win two games in a row.
EA-WR 5, BETHALTO 1
EA-WR Shots 12 11 10 — 33
Penalties: 8 minutes, 2/5 on power play
Bethalto Shots 5 8 6 — 19
Penalties: 10 minutes, 0/4 on power play
EA-WR 2:47 Alec Revelle (Nolan Royse assist)
EA-WR 1:55 Revelle Power play (unassisted)
EA-WR 40.4 Tyler McHatton (Chris Hamby assist)
EA-WR 9:51 Cole Ford (Revelle assist) Power play
EA-WR 8:58 Blake Weishaupt (Ford assist)
B 3:42 Aaron Scott (unassisted)