By Mark Jurgena
In two games, the Collinsville ice hockey team solved a riddle so many MVCHA teams struggled with all season: How to score goals on Columbia goalie Tim Barbee.
The Kahoks opened up the series with a 7-1 win on Feb. 7 at the Granite City Ice Rink. They followed that the next night with a 3-1 win at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex to move on to round two of the MVCHA playoffs.
Collinsville 7 Columbia 1
Collinsville got to Barbee early with four goals in the opening period and cruised to a huge 7-1 win on February 7th in game one of their best-of-three series against the Eagles.
To that point in the season, Barbee had only given up 35 goals in 415 shots. On this night he gave up seven in 29 shots.
“Our whole team was fired up,” said Collinsville coach Ryan Shea. “We came out and had a good pregame talk. I said, ‘hey if you buy in things will go our way, if you don’t they won’t,’ and boy did they ever. We came out flying, got the early goal, got another one and it just seemed to shock Columbia, it shocked us, it shocked everybody! We just built momentum from there.”
Three Kahoks scored two goals on the evening, while Eric Denny recorded six points on the evening.
Denny had one goal and five assists, while Tanner Bettis had five points including two goals.
Nathan Austin and David Bennett had two goals apiece.
Lincoln Duffy and David Ledbetter each added an assist.
Jacob Zagorski was in goal for Collinsville making nine of ten saves.
“I was outrageously proud of our kids and the way they played,” said Shea. “It was pretty impressive.”
Collinsville 3 Columbia 1
The Kahoks continued to play great hockey as they closed out their opening-round series with a goal in every period to secure a 3-1 win.
Again Barbee was in goal for the Eagles and again the Kahoks forced him to give up more goals than his 2.09 goals against average.
“We came out a little bit slower,” said Shea. “It wasn’t that easy. We had to grind. We got the first goal, it was more of a grinding type of game, a lot tighter. We weren’t as free and flowing as we were on Monday night and it was more of a struggle.”
Austin had the first goal of the game for Collinsville and after the Eagles tied it, Kody Watts got one past Barbee.
“We got a lucky bounce and it bounced to Kody Watts in between the hash marks on their end and he buried it,” said Shea. “That made it 2-1. That was huge! That was a backbreaker for them.”
Late in the game with the Eagles going with an empty net, Ledbetter ended the series with an empty net goal.
“The puck fumbled out and Ledbetter grabbed it. He showed GREAT patience,” said Shea. “He could’ve easily iced that puck, but he got the red line and he made the empty net goal. It still wouldn’t have been icing. Great, great play by Ledbetter to end that game.
Zagorski was again in goal. He turned away 12-of-13 shots.
The Kahoks square off with Freeburg/Waterloo in a best-of-3 this week. They began series play Tuesday with game two scheduled for tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the McKendree Metro Rec Plex in O’Fallon.
If a third game is necessary it will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Granite City Ice Rink.