Raging Bulldogs, Ice Eagles set for playoff showdown

Columbia’s Jacob Matthews scores to tie the game 1-1 against Edwardsville on Monday night. For more photos of recent hockey action, visit www.republictimes.net/photo-store. (Greg Stanek photo)

Columbia played Bethalto earlier in the week on a special senior night honoring Kyle Eagan, Jadie Mercille and Joseph Allscheid, winning 2-1.

“All of our seniors have played a very big role on this hockey team this year. For some of them, this will be their last time playing hockey so of course we want to play well for them,” Ice Eagles coach Kevin Feager said.

The Ice Eagles faced division-leading Edwardsville on Monday night at Granite City in another close and exciting game.

The Tigers took the lead 2-1 late in the third, but the Ice Eagles rallied to tie it with two minutes to go and held on for a 2-2 tie.

Columbia will face Waterloo-Freeburg in the first round of the playoffs. The teams split a pair of regular season games.

“We know it will be tough. They are a good team. They are a very explosive team. They can score quick and they can score a whole lot,” Feager said.

Columbia has one game left in the regular season against Highland on Thursday night.

The Raging Bulldogs are hot heading into the playoffs, going 2-0-1 in their last three games.

They played to a 0-0 tie against Edwardsville, then shut out Jerseyville for a 3-0 win.

Last Tuesday, they honored seniors Blake Maue and Clayton McDonald before beating Marquette, 3-1.

The ‘Dogs have known for a few weeks they would most likely face rival Columbia in the first round of the playoffs.

“As exciting as the idea of a three-game series is with our biggest rival, it’s important that we don’t get too caught up in the riffraff and play our game,” coach Nick Dreyer said. “They have some really skilled players on their team that we have a lot of respect for.”

The playoffs begin Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Granite City with game time set for 6:50 p.m. Game two will be Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. in Granite City and game three (if needed ) will be Feb. 16 at 10 p.m. in Granite City.

All-stars chosen

The MVCHA 1A East-West All-Star Game is Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. in East Alton, and both the Eagles and ‘Dogs will be well represented. Columbia is sending seven players to the game: Trey Walton, Garrett Poole, Jacob Mathews, Chris Wagner, Blake Bulger, Sean Hofstetter and Josh Stuart.

Waterloo-Freeburg is sending players: Scott Nanney, Peyton Hamilton, Jack Lugge, Austin Patton, Adam Phelps and Clayton McDonald.

JV success

The Raging Bulldogs JV team finished the regular season undefeated with a record of 16-0-1, good for first in the MVCHA JV South Division.

Columbia came in third in the division with a record of 7-6-4. Waterloo-Freeburg, Edwardsville North, Bethalto, O’Fallon, Columbia and Triad will play a round-robin format where each team will play one game against each opponent, with the two teams with the best records facing off in a best-out-of-three-game series for the JV championship.

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