Raging Bulldogs, Ice Eagles poised for playoffs - Republic-Times | News

Raging Bulldogs, Ice Eagles poised for playoffs

By on January 13, 2016 at 11:43 am
Eagles goalie Josh Stuart stops a shot from Freeburg-Waterloo player Frankie Libera in a game earlier this season. (Greg Stanek photo)

Eagles goalie Josh Stuart stops a shot from Freeburg-Waterloo player Frankie Libera in a game earlier this season.
(Greg Stanek photo)

With 16 games in the books this season, the MVCHA has split the 12-team hockey league into two groups. The 2A group includes the top six teams with 1A being the bottom six.

The Freeburg-Waterloo Raging Bulldogs and Columbia Ice Eagles are both in the 2A group, where they will play a round robin of games before the playoffs officially start in February.

The Raging Bulldogs head into the 2A round robin on a bit of a roll, having won two of their last three games while outscoring opponents 19-3.

Freeburg-Waterloo topped Highland on Dec. 28, 10-0, behind two goals each from Dylan Gauch, Parker McDonald and Adam Phelps.

On Jan. 1, the ‘Dogs beat East Alton-Wood River, 8-0, as Peyton Hamilton earned his second shutout in as many games. McDonald and Austin Patton each scored two goals in the win.

Freeburg-Waterloo closed out the first part of the regular season with a hard-fought 3-1 loss to O’Fallon on Jan. 4. Phelps scored the lone goal for the ‘Dogs in a losing effort.

“Peyton Hamilton has been on a roll and we have been scoring a lot of goals in our last four games,” coach Scott Parker said. “We are going to have to keep playing this way and carry that momentum over into the playoffs.”

The Raging Bulldogs are currently 9-7-1 after falling to O’Fallon in the first of five 2A round robin games on Monday, 5-4. Phelps scored two goals in defeat, and now has 20 goals on the season.

Freeburg-Waterloo will next play Columbia on Jan. 18 and Belleville on Jan. 19, both in East Alton, followed by a showdown with Edwardsville on Jan. 25 in East Alton and a Jan. 28 game against Triad in Granite City.

Columbia has lost two of its last three games heading into the round robin portion of the season, but did end the first part of the regular season on a high note.

The Eagles lost a tough game to Bethalto, 3-2, on Dec. 28. Blake Bulger scored both Columbia goals.

On Dec. 29, Columbia lost to league-leading Edwardsville, 11-0, but they bounced back to top Highland on Jan. 4, 12-1, to end the first part of the season at 12-3-1, which is good for second place in the league.

“We had a couple of tough games last week against Bethalto and Edwardsville, but we were able to bounce back against Highland. It was an important win leading up to the 2A seeding round. We know the last five games of the regular season will all be challenges,” coach Kevin Feager said. “Our next game is against O’Fallon, who we went 1-0-1 against so far this season. They always have a deep bench and come at you hard the entire game. We have a few kids returning from injuries, so it will be a good test for us.”

Columbia faced O’Fallon on Tuesday in Granite City in the first of its five-game 2A round robin schedule. After playing Freeburg-Waterloo on Jan. 18, the Eagles will face Triad on Jan. 19 in Granite City, Belleville on Jan. 25 in East Alton and Edwardsville on Jan. 26 in East Alton.

Garrett Poole leads Columbia in scoring with 29 goals and 12 assists in 16 games. Bulger is next with 13 goals and 11 assists this season.

Greg Stanek

Greg is a photojournalist and nurse. He shoots and does stories for the R-T. He grew up in Troy and has lived in Waterloo for 10 years with his wife Teena, a life-long Waterloo resident. Greg is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler fan and loves the outdoors and fly fishing.