Highland: Sports

Granite City overwhelms young Highland hockey Bulldogs

Four players return to the Highland Bulldogs hockey team that last season won the MVCHA championship.
Four players return to the Highland Bulldogs hockey team that last season won the MVCHA championship.

On Tuesday night (Nov. 21) at East Alton Ice Arena, the Granite City Warriors out-skated and out-played the Highland Bulldogs.

A loaded Granite City club came out firing in the first two periods and erupted for five goals in each stanza, parlaying those surges into a 12-1 Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association victory.

Granite City, which lost 5-3 on Monday to Freeburg/Waterloo, improved to 4-2 with the win.

Highland, sporting a roster with just three seniors and host of sophomore and juniors had a tough time matching up with the Warriors speed and playmakers and size.

“We had a lot of inexperienced players that we had to play in key parts and it was good to get players into some game situations and and a lot of times the scoreboard completely show what the game was,” Highland coach John Criswell said. “Granite City is a good and fast team and we kind of got outmanned tonight.”

The Warriors, who beat Highland 9-1 at Granite City Rink two weeks ago, got their power play working early Drake Bettorf scored at 1:12 of the first period to put them on top. Just 17 seconds later, Mason Roehr scored an unassisted goal off Bulldogs goalie Cody Blackburn for a 2-0 lead.

Late in the opening period, a three-goal barrage in the final five minutes put the Bulldogs on their heels as Simon Maxfield scored a power play goal with 5:32 left in the period.

Sam Wielgers scored a power play goal, and Bettorf added his second goal of the night to complete the barrage and the Warriors had a 5-0 lead after the first period.

In the second period, the Warriors continued to score off the power play with five more goals; Highland’s Lucas Korte, Travis Woodall and other struggled with penalties due to getting worn down by the Bulldogs short bench. Highland had just 10 players available while Granite City had 18 players dress out.

“When you get fatigued, a lot of times you stop moving your feet, you start holding on and try to trip them and things like that so penalties like are born because you’re frustrated and because you’re tired,:” Criswell said. “We got to work on that and we’ve got to work on getting the puck out of our zone with a purpose rather than letting them take shot after shot after shot.”

Oliva Fowler scored with 8:43 left to help the Bulldogs to avoid the shutout.

Granite City added two goals in the final five minutes to wrap up the scoring.

Struggling Highland is still looking for its first win after falling to 0-4-1.

“I know we’re going to struggle a little bit this year because we’ve got a young team with the players that graduated last year but we’re going get stronger (over the season),” Criswell said.

The Bulldogs will take a break for Thanksgiving weekend and return to action next Monday (Nov. 26) with an MVCHA matchup against East Alton Wood River at 7:30 p.m. at East Alton Ice Arena.