EAST ALTON — The East Alton-Wood River Oilers self destructed against the Edwardsville Tigers in Game 1 of the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association 1A finals on Tuesday at the East Alton Ice Arena. The Oilers suffered their first loss of the 2014-2015 MVCHA postseason by the score of 5-0.
The Oilers came off an 11-game win streak to give up three power play goals to the Tigers and log 28 minutes of penalties in a 39-minute regulation game.
The Tigers and Oilers will battle for the championship in Game 2 at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at EAIA.
"We were just undisciplined," EA-WR head coach John Helmcamp said. "We let them get under our skin and they were able to capitalize on the opportunities. We spent the entire second period in the box and that was the game. We were even throughout the first period and out shot them 15-4 in the third. But with six penalties in the second period, that's it. You can't win that way."
EA-WR and Edwardsville gave a defensive display during the first period of playoff action. The Tigers had only six shots on goal and held the Oilers to just four shots. Both the Oilers and the Tigers were kept off the scoreboard and out of the penalty box.
Having only faced each other one time in the regular season, the Oilers looked primed to play after taking a 3-1 loss to the Tigers in their previous meeting.
The Tigers pounced quick in the second period when Christian Blandina found Reilly Patton in front of the net to put Edwardsville on the board 1-0 with just 28-seconds burned off the clock.
The Oilers implosion began when senior Alec Revelle logged the first penalty whistle for cross-checking at 11:02, followed by Cole Ford at 9:08 for roughing.
The Tigers doubled up the score at 5:57 with a shot from Trevor Henson, assisted by Lucas Tucker and Blandina to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
The Oilers went a man down when junior Blake Weishaupt received a two-minute minor for interference at 5:02. The Tigers were able to capitalize on the power play with a one-man advantage when Blandina nailed a long shot past Oiler goaltender Blake Stone at 4:29 to make it 3-0. The goal was assisted by Henson and Tucker.
With less than a minute on the clock, EA-WR senior Brett Gaines was sent to the penalty box for head contact and given a 2-minute minor and a 10-minute misconduct. Weishaupt joined Gaines in the box with just 18.8 seconds remaining in the second period to give the Tigers a 5-on-3 advantage.
The penalties for Gaines and Weishaupt carried over to the third period, allowing the Tigers to lay the pressure on the Oilers. With 14 seconds off the clock, Edwardsville used the two-man advantage to make the score 4-0 on their second power play goal of the game. Blandina buried his second goal of the game, assisted by Tucker and Henson at 12:46.
"I think we played really good everywhere tonight," Edwardsville head coach Jason Walker said. "Everywhere from goaltending to forwards to defense and power plays, all-in-all we had a good night. We focused a lot on power plays in practice. With their (EA-WR) history of penalties, we wanted to make sure we won the special teams game. This 1A team, we've never had a better group of kids on the power play."
The Oilers racked up 22 of their 28 penalty minutes in the second period, but continued on the destructive path into the third. Senior Seth Chester was sent to the box to join Gaines at 4:55 for high sticking behind the Tigers goal when he collided with Edwardsville sophomore Connor Stewart.
Blandina evened it up to 4-on-4 with a 2-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. It would become a "standing room only" situation for the Oilers when they gave the Tigers their second 5-on-3 advantage when Weishaupt joined Chester and Gaines in the box for tripping at 3:23.
As Chester exited the penalty box, he collided with an Edwardsville forward and sent him to the ice. The official sent Chester right back to the penalty box just four seconds after he exited at 2:51 for elbowing.
Gaines was allowed to return to the ice with just two minutes remaining in the game after his 10-minute misconduct penalty in the second period.
Chester's penalty was cut short when the Tigers scored their third power play goal of the game with 1:34 remaining in the game. Stewart was able to bury the puck for Edwardsville to seal the game at 5-0 off assists by Jacob Foley and Tucker.
"The second period was the game and we gave it to them," Helmcamp said. "We were even in the first. The score was 0-0 with no penalties. We were right there with them (Edwardsville) until the second period. They got 10 shots to our one. It was like we went backward 15 games. We haven't played this way in a long time. Edwardsville got all the momentum. We have to refocus and have a short term memory. That's important in playoffs, a short term memory."
It's a do-or-die situation for the Oilers on Thursday as they play for their season at 7:15 p.m. at the EAIA.
MVCHA 1A FINALS
EDWARDSVILLE 5, EA-WR 0
EDWARDSVILLE: SOG: 6 10 4 — 20
18-minutes of penalties, 5/5 on the penalty kill
EA-WR: SOG: 4 1 15 — 20
28-minutes of penalties, 3/10 on the penalty kill
E — Reilly Patton 12:32 (Christian Blandina)
E — Trevor Henson 5:57 (Lucas Tucker, Blandina)
E — Blandina 4:29 (Trevor Henson, Tucker)
E — Blandina 12:46 (Tucker, Henson)
E — Connor Stewart 1:34 (Jacob Foley, Tucker)