The Columbia Eagles and Waterloo-Freeburg Raging Bulldogs hope to build on strong finishes to the regular season in the MVCHA playoffs, which started last week.
Columbia (9-7-1) started the playoffs Thursday against Collinsville (8-5-4) in a best-of-three series. It was one of those games where the puck would literally bounce Collinsville’s way, as the Kahoks scored two of their four goals on strange puck bounces.
Collinsville’s first goal would fall in the strange category. A Kahoks player’s shot deflected off a stick in front of Columbia goalie Josh Fleming and went straight into the air, landing on Fleming’s shoulder and rolling down his back into the net.
Down 2-0, Columbia scored on a beautiful shot from Christopher Wagner in the second period to make it a game.
But the Kahoks would get another one of those lucky breaks a few minutes later when the puck bounced over a Columbia player’s stick, giving Collinsville a breakaway goal to go up 3-1.
Garrett Poole scored for Columbia in the third period, but Collinsville notched an empty net goal at the end to win 4-2.
Columbia and Collinsville were set to go again Tuesday night, with Collinsville sweeping the first round and knocking Columbia out of the playoffs with a score of 5-1.
“We’ll have to get a strong, disciplined game from everybody,” coach Kevin Feager said. “We have five seniors, and they’re not ready for their high school hockey to be over.”
Waterloo-Freeburg (7-8-1) faced off Monday in their series against Edwardsville (14-2-1) and gave the Tigers all they could handle.
Adam Gauch got the ‘Dogs on the board first with a goal in the first period on an assist from Austin Patton.
Gauch scored again in the period, assisted by Scott Nanney. After an Edwardsville goal made the score 2-1 heading into the third, the Tigers forced a shootout by tying the score in regulation.
Edwardsville won the shootout, taking game one, 3-2.
“We outplayed them. Out-shot them 18-17. We hit a post with one minute to go in the third,” coach Scott Parker said. “Everyone played their hearts out. Nothing was left on the table.”
But it isn’t over for the Raging Bulldogs, who forced a third game by shutting out Edwardsville Thursday night, 2-0, in Granite City.
The two teams will face off in a do-or-die match-up Tuesday at at 6:50 p.m. in Granite City.