Raging ‘Dogs in MVCHA finals

Freeburg-Waterloo players celebrate a goal late in Monday’s MVCHA semifinal victory over Collinsville. See more photos by clicking here.

The Freeburg-Waterloo Raging Bulldogs are two wins away from a Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association championship.

The Raging Bulldogs advanced to the finals after sweeping Collinsville in two semifinal games. 

Last Tuesday, Freeburg-Waterloo opened the semifinals with a 9-3 win over Collinsville. Logan Ganz, who led the MVCHA in scoring this season, recorded six goals and two assists to pace Freeburg-Waterloo’s scoring onslaught. Donovan Knuckles added two goals and an assist. Mathew Bushee made 23 saves in net for the Raging ‘Dogs.

On Monday night, Collinsville skated out to a 6-2 lead at the Granite City rink before the Raging Bulldogs clawed back. In the end, Freeburg-Waterloo won 9-7. Conner Miller replaced Bushee early in the game to make 15 saves in net, and Ganz finished with five goals on the night. Knuckles scored twice, with Conner Blair and Mike Gildehaus adding the other goals. 

Freeburg-Waterloo, which won the MVCHA Varsity East division with a regular season record of 21-2-1, now takes on Varsity West division champ Granite City (21-1-2) in the best-of-three finals.

While the Raging Bulldogs scored the most total goals this season (209), Granite City allowed the least (36). 

Freeburg-Waterloo’s scoring tandem of Ganz and Knuckles will face a test from Granite City goalie Michael Atkins, who had a goals against average of 1.89 during the regular season. 

Game one of the finals took place Tuesday night in East Alton, with Granite City pulling out a thrilling 3-2 victory in an overtime shootout. Bushee made 39 saves for the Raging Bulldogs.

Game two is set for 9 p.m. Thursday at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex in O’Fallon, with Freeburg-Waterloo fighting to stay alive.

Game three, if needed, is 7:30 p.m. Monday in O’Fallon. 

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