In a hard-fought rivalry match that featured heavy hits throughout and even a skirmish at the end, the Freeburg-Waterloo Raging Bulldogs defeated the Columbia Ice Eagles, 5-2, Thursday night at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex in O’Fallon.
The Raging Bulldogs improved to 12-1 with the win, good for first place in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association. Columbia dropped to 8-3 with the loss.
“Our boys came out from the start ready to play. This was a big game for us, as I feel we needed to prove to the league that our record isn’t a fluke,” Freeburg-Waterloo head coach Scott Roberts said. “We did just that.”
Jacob Dinkelman put Freeburg-Waterloo on the board first, scoring at 12:49 of the first period. Columbia battled back to tie it on a goal by Cam Nowak with 18 seconds left in the period.
The Ice Eagles were unable to capitalize on two power plays early in the second period, and the Raging Bulldogs jumped back on top on a goal from Donovan Knuckles at 6:18.
Ryan Hofstetter, Columbia’s scoring leader, evened the game at 2-2 on a nifty breakaway goal. Nathan Metz quickly put the Raging ‘Dogs back on top, however, with a goal at 2:38.
Dinkelman’s second goal of the night put Freeburg-Waterloo up 4-2 in the final minute of the second period.
The rivals traded unsuccessful power plays at the start of the third period before Knuckles scored on a power play at 6:02 to put Freeburg-Waterloo up 5-2.
Some testy exchanges in the game’s final minutes led to a brief fight that was quickly broken up by the refs with just a few seconds left on the clock. For a short video of the fight, click here.
“I have no comment,” Roberts said of the fight. “They know why it happened and what they did to cause our players to react that way.”
The Raging Bulldogs outshot the Ice Eagles on the night, 32-20.
For photos from the game, click here.