A hockey rivalry that has gained steam over the past couple of seasons should reach a fever pitch over the next week with the Columbia Ice Eagles and Freeburg-Waterloo Raging Bulldogs set to meet again in the first round of the MVCHA 2A Varsity Division playoffs.
At 15-5-1, Columbia earned the third seed in this year’s playoffs. At 9-11-1, Freeburg-Waterloo earned the sixth and final seed, setting up the rivalry showdown in a best-of-three-game format.
Edwardsville and O’Fallon earned the top two seeds and each have byes in the first round.
Columbia and Freeburg-Waterloo also faced each other in the first round last season, with the Ice Eagles emerging victorious. So far this season, Columbia has defeated its rival every time the two have met.
The playoff series begins 9:25 p.m. Thursday at the Granite City ice rink. The second game will be played 7:15 p.m. Monday in East Alton. The deciding third game will be played Feb. 9 in East Alton, if necessary.
The Ice Eagles are led by Garrett Poole (33 goals, 16 assists). The Raging Bulldogs are led by Adam Phelps (21 goals, 10 assists).