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Photo by Theo Tate
Granite City coach Frank Parker talks to his team before the third period against Highland on Dec. 10 at East Alton Ice Arena.
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Photo by Theo Tate
Sophomore goaltender Grant Jackson picks up his second victory in goal as the Warriors beat Highland 7-4 on Dec. 10 at East Alton Ice Arena.
The Granite City Warriors have a shot of finishing their regular season with a .500 record.
All they have to do is win their final six games.
“Our mindset is we have to work as a team,” Granite City senior Jake Freivogel said. “The team works everything. Teamwork, teamwork and teamwork. We can’t be individual players. We have to pass and move around the ice and work with others and communication on the ice is a big key for us. We have to talk out there.”
After beating Highland 7-4 on Dec. 10 at East Alton Ice Arena, the Warriors are 2-8 with Alton, Triad, Collinsville, Belleville, O’Fallon and East Alton-Wood River left on their regular season schedule. Granite City has not played Triad, Collinsville, Belleville and O’Fallon this season.
Freivogel said finishing the regular season at .500 is important to the senior class. Freivogel, Troy Glendening, Brandon Merz, Darian Glenn and Austin Loyd are the team’s seniors.
“We have to play our last games like they’re no other, have a lot of fire in our hearts and play all out,” Freivogel said.
The Warriors play Alton at 8:45 p.m. tonight (Dec. 17) at East Alton Ice Arena. Granite City lost to the Redbirds 7-2 in its season opener on Nov. 2 at East Alton.
The Warriors end their regular season on Jan. 5 against East Alton-Wood River at East Alton. Granite City beat the Oilers 8-6 on Nov. 9 for its first win of the season.
On Dec. 10, the Warriors got a four-goal performance from junior Brenden Colvin to beat the Bulldogs for their second win of the season. With his four goals, Colvin is the team’s second-leading scorer with 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists).
“He’s a great player and a good teammate,” Freivogel said. “Once he got three goals, he started passing it and tried to get some other people in there to get some goals. He’s a really good teammate for that.”
With the game tied at 2-2, Colvin broke the tie with his second goal with 2:41 left in the first period. He scored his third goal with six seconds remaining in the second period and his fourth with 1:10 left in the third.
“He was a great teammate,” Granite City coach Frank Parker said. “He sat on the bench when he got the third goal, but he was going to help the rest of his teammates try to score and he really put in a good performance in tonight.”
Freivogel, junior Riley Brown and Brylie Hassard also scored goals for the Warriors.
With the win, Granite City avenged the 3-2 loss to Highland on Nov. 3 at Wilson Park Ice Rink.
“We had a lot of shots on goal and crashing the net,” Freivogel said. “We didn’t do that in the first game, but we did in this game.”
Brown is the Warriors’ leading scorer with 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists). Hassard has three goals and three assists and Pavol Hutchins has four goals in seven games.
The Warriors also snapped a six-game losing streak with the win over Highland.
“It’s great,” Freivogel said. “We struggled in the beginning of the season. We’re midway through now. I think we’re putting everything together. Practice has been paying off. We’re finding some new things. Our offense and defense are working together and that’s what won this game for us tonight.”
Granite City lost twice to Edwardsville during its losing streak, including a 13-1 loss on Dec. 8 at Wilson Park Ice Rink.
“We were able to squeak a goal against Edwardsville the other night,” Parker said. “We probably played our best game of the season against a top team. We’re getting there.”
Parker said his team is showing signs of improvement.
“I think our team is starting to really peak and the kids are getting better every game,” the Granite City coach said. “I think by the time some of the kids become sophomores and juniors, we’re really going to have a strong team. They’re really starting to like each other.”
Parker said he thinks his team is going to shine during the postseason next month.
“I still think that we’re going to be the Cinderella team of the playoffs and upset some teams and give them a hard time,” he said.