Hockey teams keep skating

Pictured is Raging Bulldogs captain Layne Wilkens during a recent game. 

As the calendar year flips to 2024, the two local high school hockey squads are turning their focus to postseason positioning. 

In the Varsity 2A division of the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association, defending 1A champion Columbia sits at 9-3-4 on the season entering this week. That is behind Edwardsville (15-0), Granite City (11-3-3), O’Fallon (10-3-2) and Belleville (10-3-2), but ahead of Vianney (2-10-2) and Collinsville (1-11-1).

Following a 7-0 loss to unbeaten Edwardsville last Tuesday, the Eagles posted a 6-2 victory over Collinsville on Friday. 

Jack Reuss, who leads Columbia in scoring with 30 goals and 11 assists this season, contributed two goals and an assist. Cam Ax scored the first two goals of the game for the Eagles. 

Columbia faced Granite City on Tuesday at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex in O’Fallon, winning 5-1 behind a hat trick from Reuss and 27 saves in net by Dalton Fitzgerald.

Columbia takes on Alton this Thursday night in O’Fallon.

In the MVCHA’s Varsity 1A division, the Freeburg-Waterloo Raging Bulldogs sit atop the standings at 11-6. 

On Thursday, the Raging Bulldogs won 9-4 over Triad. Conner Blair netted two goals and team captain Layne Wilkens contributed a pair of goals and three assists. 

Blair leads Freeburg-Waterloo in scoring this season with 18 goals and 11 assists.

On Monday night, the Raging Bulldogs suffered a 4-2 loss to Alton despite 22 saves from freshman goalie Logan Sherman. 

On Tuesday night against Belleville, Freeburg-Waterloo lost 6-2.

Raging Bulldogs take on O’Fallon this coming Monday night in East Alton, then take on East Alton-Wood River next Tuesday at their place. 

Other teams in Varsity 1A with Freeburg-Waterloo are Triad (7-8-1), Alton (6-8-2), East Alton-Wood River (5-9), Highland (2-12) and Bethalto (1-14). 

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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