The amazing season for the Freeburg-Waterloo Raging Bulldogs ended in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association Varsity 2A finals with losses Monday and Tuesday night to Granite City at the East Alton Ice Arena.
The MVCHA’s top seed, Granite City won 20 straight games to close out the season. Granite City went 21-1-2 during the regular season and swept Belleville in the semifinals. Freeburg-Waterloo went 21-3 in the regular season and split its two games against Granite City.
The first game of the MVCHA Varsity 2A finals went to Granite City on Monday night, 5-4, despite the Raging Bulldogs being up 3-0 midway through the game.
Freeburg-Waterloo opened the scoring just 21 seconds in with an unassisted breakaway goal by Jacob Dinkelman.
“The first half of the game went great. We were dominating the play,” Roberts said of the finals opener. “We then got into some penalty trouble and that sucked the life out of us.”
Raging Bulldogs freshman goalie Zoey Malacarne was peppered with shots in the third period, the coach said, facing 21 shots alone.
“She stood on her head and kept us tied,” he said.
Granite City put its final goal past her with just 1:18 remaining in the contest.
Nick Mumford led the Raging Bulldogs in scoring with two goals and an assist in Game 1.
Game 2, a must-win for Freeburg-Waterloo, took place Tuesday night in East Alton. The Raging Bulldogs scored first, but unfortunately Granite City proved too tough in a title-clinching win.
“Heartbreaking! We had leads in both games but Granite’s firepower was just too much. We couldn’t finish them off,” Roberts said.
Freeburg-Waterloo jumped out to a 1-0 lead Tuesday night and held that lead until midway through the game. Granite City rallied for three straight goals before the Raging Bulldogs answered to make it 3-2.
“We ran out of gas,” Roberts said.
Granite City pumped in three goals over the final two minutes to win 6-2.
Joey and Anna Lugge scored the goals for Freeburg-Waterloo, both assisted by Knuckles.
“The final score of last night’s game does not reflect how it went,” Roberts assessed. “A bounce here or there and it’s a different outcome. The post was their goalie’s best friend last night.”
Roberts tipped his hat to Granite City on winning the title.
“Granite is a very good team and they bring back all but two kids,” he said. “They will be tough to beat again next season.”
Roberts said his team has nothing to hang its heads about.
“Our boys and girls gave it everything they could but we fell short of our goal,” he said. “All in all, it was a very good season for us.”
Logan Ganz, a junior, scored 29 goals and had 17 assists in the regular season for the Raging Bulldogs and had five goals and six assists in the playoffs. Ganz was selected earlier this month by the Connecticut Junior Rangers in the U.S. Premier Hockey League 2020 National Collegiate Development Conference Futures Draft. This is a tuition-free higher level junior league focused on player development and advancement to college hockey.
In addition to team leaders Mumford and Joey Lugge, seniors playing their final games for the Raging Bulldogs were Nathan Metz, Brenden Kirk, Braden Fiscus, Blake Reisner, Chase Mowen, Paul Malacarne and Cole Davis.