The Columbia Ice Eagles Hockey Club is looking to build on a good 2013-14 season that saw them finish 9-7-1 but fall in the first round of the playoffs. This could prove to be a daunting task for the Ice Eagles, as they lost some key members from last year’s squad — five to graduation and six total.The 2014-15 Columbia Ice Eagles hockey team is, from left, front row, Sean Hofstetter, Blake
Bulger, Jarrett Allscheid and Hudson Miller; back row: Trey Walton, Cole Graves, Jadie Mercille, JD Allscheid, Jacob Baskett, Kyle Eagan, Jacob Matthews and Chris Wagner; and in front: Josh Stuart. (Greg Stanek photo)
Of the 77 goals scored by Columbia last year, 41 of those came from players no longer on the team. Also gone is All-Star goalie Josh Fleming. But head coach Kevin Feager remains optimistic about his team’s chances in 2014-15.
Columbia competes in the MVCHA 1A East Varsity division, which also includes local rival Freeburg-Waterloo.
Junior goalie Josh Stuart takes over between the pipes for Columbia in only his second year of playing the position.
“We had six freshman join varsity this year. Our numbers are similar, but we lost a lot of experience.” Feager said.
Due to the loss of two top defensemen to graduation, forwards Chris Wagner and Kyle Eagan — who were in the top four in scoring for the Eagles last season — have moved back to playing defense to help the team out.
Freshmen Trey Walton and Jacob Matthews join the Ice Eagles this year and are playing “very well,” according to Feager.
“Our freshmen have really been stepping up for our offense so far this season.” Feager said of his youngsters.
After seven games, 16 of the Eagles’ 24 goals have come from freshmen with Sean Hofstetter (six), Matthews (five) and Hudson Miller (three) leading the way.
Columbia is currently 3-3-1 on the season.
“Chris Wagner, Blake Bulger, and Cole Graves were our only swing players last year, so this year’s team has a lot of kids that are not used to playing together,” Feager said.
Other key members of the 2014-15 Columbia hockey team include Joseph and Jarrett Allscheid, Garrett Poole, Adam Pozniak, Jadie Mercille and Jack Sigman.
“We knew this team would need some time to take shape.
Also, we knew some of our freshmen would have some growing pains getting used to playing at the varsity level,” Feager said. “We know we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re going to keep building, with hopes of making a deeper run in the playoffs this year.”