Alex Rubin, left, and Tyler St. Peters
It’s not easy to pick any one player from the 2013-14 Alton Redbirds hockey team who stood above the rest.
Aptly nicknamed “the band of brothers,” the Redbirds had an undefeated regular season and went 16-1-2 overall, eventually losing out to Edwardsville in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association playoffs at the East Alton Ice Rink.
And the team had a plethora of key contributors that gave them their edge.
Among those key contributors were only three seniors, Austin Rauscher, Jason Steiner and Tommy Byrd. However, the team’s top two scorers, Alex Rubin and Kain Henson, will return next year to a loaded team that’s sure to have a bull’s-eye on their back from every team in the MVCHA.
It was Rubin who led his team in scoring and assists this year, scoring nearly 40 points, with 18 assists in all this season, according to MVCHA player statistics.
An undefeated regular season and an earned trip to nationals in Nebraska this March wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Alton’s star goalie, junior Tyler St. Peters.
St. Peters had more than 150 saves this season, stopping 84 percent of the shots that came his way, MVCHA goalie statistics said.
“St. Peters’ efforts this season meant everything for our offense,” said Alton coach Larry Thatcher, who retired this season after 26 years in MVCHA. “With him between the posts our offense felt free to run the ice and look for shots.”
With Rubin and St. Peters set to return next season for the Redbirds, Alton has a chance to take back the division crown they narrowly lost to Edwardsville this year. But when the Redbirds ended their season after the Tigers took them out of the 2A playoff championship game, Alton had already beaten them twice in the regular season.
So for St. Peters and Rubin, when they look back at this season’s accomplishments, games against conference rival and MVCHA powerhouse Edwardsville certainly stand out.
“Beating Edwardsville twice,” Rubin said when asked about his most memorable moment. “And then nationals also, that was quite an experience that I’ll never forget.”
St. Peters also has some fond memories about this season, and the Tigers played a part in it as well.
“We shut out Edwardsville in a game this season,” he said. “They’re usually always the team to beat too, so any time we play well against them it’s special.”
It’s no secret the Alton Redbirds will be looking to exact revenge on the Tigers this year. And with all the talent they have returning to next year’s team, that goal may be attainable.
“After we beat them (Edwardsville) in the shootout in game one of the championship playoffs, we came in a little cocky into the second game,” St. Peters said.
It took the Tigers three games to knock off Alton in the championship series of the playoffs in East Alton, with the Redbirds winning the first and losing the next two.
“After winning that first game in the shootout, and with Tyler (St. Peters) stoping that last puck to win the game, I think we came in thinking we would win the second one, and they showed us up,” Rubin said. “We played well in the third game and only lost by one goal, but we’re going to learn from the mistakes we made this year and try our best not to repeat them next year.”
So with Rubin and St. Peters set to hit the ice again next season, it’s safe to say that Edwardsville may be the ones with the bull’s-eye on their backs next season; a target Alton’s sharpshooters hope to hit in the regular and post-season.