EAST ALTON — East Alton-Wood River-Roxana took claim to the No. 1 position in the MVCHA 1A West Varsity division standings after a 6-3 victory over rival Marquette Explorers on Monday at the East Alton Ice Arena.
The Explorers recognized their three seniors before the two teams took to the ice.
“Our goalie, Alex Harder, had been with the team all four years,” Marquette head coach John Dumoulin said. “He had to wait his turn, but the last two years this has been his team and has really come on and has been solid. Tyler Jackson has been my all-around; he plays a point on the penalty kill, he’s a forward with a great shot. I can use him in a lot of different situations. Collin Arcynski, our captain, has just been solid. He doesn’t always play as big as he actually is, he doesn’t throw his size around, but when he does, you know he’s out there. He’s a good leader and sets the example by not taking unnecessary penalties.”
The Oilers and Explorers got off to a slow start in the first quarter, but the scoreboard didn’t have time to cool off in the frigid temperatures once EA-WR forward Alex Revelle found the back of the net on a long slap shot, assisted by Chris Hamby, with 3:07 left in the first period. The Oilers didn’t waste any time to let the Explorers know the floodgates had opened when 12 seconds later EA-WR senior Brett Gaines took a pass from Seth Chester to squeeze a shot through the pads of Harder in the Explorers’ goal at 2:55, making it a quick 2-0 for the Oilers.
“I think the first half of the game almost sums up the first half of our season,” EA-WR head coach John Helmkamp said. “The good thing is that everyone is contributing. We’ve had a little more time together as a team now and we’re playing like it. Everyone is doing their part. We have two to three guys working the puck down; we don’t have one guy carrying it all the way.”
More than 2 minutes burned from the clock before the scoreboard would light again, this time by Marquette’s Ian Sovar, who accepted a pass from Joseph Boevingloh to cut the Oilers’ lead at 6:37. The Oilers would be the first in the game to visit the penalty box on a roughing call against Oiler sophomore Jacob Vassos, but the Explorers would not capitalize on the power play.
“We have to change our ways; you can’t win when your team has a lot of minutes in the penalty box,” EA-WR junior Blake Weishaupt said. “I know I’m always the penalty minute leader; I’m trying to change that. You can’t play good if you’re always in the box.”
The Oilers would claim the third period and seal the game with four goals in the final minutes. Weishaupt would start it with a shot from the blue line off Chester’s faceoff at 12:50. Cole Ford would knock in a solo shot at 11:35, followed by a second goal with a blast off a pass of Vassos at 10:57 to give the Oilers a 5-1 lead. The Explorers would try to balance the budget with the Oilers in the third period by collecting two goals, the first by senior Collin Arcynski at 7:21 and the second by Zach Hunter at 3:44. All three Explorer goals were assisted by Joseph Boevingloh. The Explorers closed the gap to 5-3 but left EA-WR senior Chester to find the open net with just 29 seconds remaining in the game off an assist by Bryce Bazzell to bring it to a 6-3 final.
“Seth Chester has some amazing speed on the ice and is terrific at passing,” Helmkamp said. “Weishaupt is becoming a regular adding points to the scoreboard. We have two defensive players in the top five for scoring. Our power play is getting set the way it is because we have such a strong defense. Cole Ford received our Snickers for the game. It was a tough decision tonight; everyone contributed. Blake Stone has done well for us in goal. When he’s on, we’re on.”
The Oilers will face off with Highland at 8:45 p.m. Jan. 8 at the East Alton Ice arena while Marquette will wait to face Highland at 8:45 p.m. Jan. 12.
East Alton-Wood River: 5-5-4
Shots on goal: 12-11-14 37
Four total penalty minutes
shots on goal: 8-4-6 18
Four total penalty minutes