Eagles, ‘Dogs renew ice hockey rivalry

Pictured, Columbia’s Blake Bulger attempts to skate with the puck past Waterloo-Freeburg’s Colin Kruse on Thursday night. (Greg Stanek photo)

Hockey is back in Waterloo for the first time since 2010 thanks to a merger with Freeburg that resulted in the Raging Bulldogs.

The team is made up of kids from seven different schools in the area, with the majority coming from Freeburg and Waterloo.

Thursday night marked the first meeting between the Raging Bulldogs and rival Columbia, as the teams faced off at a foggy outdoor Granite City Ice Rink. There were times the fog was so thick the audience could barely see the players.

The Ice Eagles emerged from the fog victorious on this night, winning 4-0.

The ‘Dogs were playing with a short bench, missing three key players for the game. They only have 12 skaters when everyone is there, so this made the challenge against Columbia even more daunting.

Both teams had good scoring chances early, but the Eagles got on the board first at the 6:43 mark of the first period with a goal from sophomore Blake Bulger.

Columbia built on the momentum from their first goal, keeping the pressure on Waterloo. Cody Early notched his first goal of the season two minutes later, and the Eagles opened up a 2-0 lead.

The Raging Bulldogs came out with some good pressure of their own in the second period, getting several good scoring chances, but were unable to get anything past Columbia goalie Josh Fleming.

Their best chance came late in the second period on a two-on-one breakaway, but the shot rang off the right goal post.

The Eagles added a goal in the second period by Mitchell Cookson and another in the third from Kyle Eagan to take the win, 4-0.

“Freshman goalie Peyton Hamilton played great and kept us in the game and Scott Nanney and Parker McDonald were doing everything they could to get the puck in the net, but we just came up short,” Waterloo-Freeburg coach Scott Roberts said after the game. “Playing short and battling the fog, I was still proud of the boys even if we didn’t get the win.”

Columbia improved to 1-2 on the season with the win, while the Raging Bulldogs dropped to 0-3.

Freeburg-Waterloo and Columbia’s junior varsity squads played Saturday night in East Alton to a 5-5 tie. The ‘Dogs had goals from Nanney, Gauch and McDonald, who notched a hat trick.

The Freeburg-Waterloo JV squad is 2-1-3 on the young hockey season.

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