For the second straight year, the McKendree D2 hockey team opened their season up with an exhibition game on Friday with the St. Louis Blues Alumni. Despite a strong showing against former professional athletes, the Bearcats were defeated by the score of 11-5.
The Blues Alumni team brought several fan favorites including Cam Janssen, Barrett Jackman, Reed Low, Jamie Rivers and new St. Louis Blues analyst, Joe Vitale. Senior captain Ty Watt (Barrie, Ontario, Canada/Rama Aces GMHL) led the Bearcats offensively scoring two goals. Senior Tyler Wilson (Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada) and sophomore Connor Brennan (Castle Rock, CO/Regis Jesuit High School) each had two points.
McKendree jumped out to a 1-0 lead five minutes into the first period after a goal from Wilson with an assist by Brennan. Senior Andrew Best (Midland, Ontario, Canada/Cambridge Bears Junior A team) and freshman Wes Werner (LaSalle, Ontario, Canada/Sandwich Secondary School) were a wall in the crease by shutting out the Blues Alumni.
Senior Blair Davies (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada/Christ the King) and Cam Janssen dropped the gloves at the start of the second period for the second consecutive year. After a few missed punches were thrown from each side, the referee stepped in and separated them.
With a goal from junior Dominic Naas (Neurensdorf, Zurich, Switzerland/Casper Coyotes WSHL) with assists by Brennan and Wilson, the Bearcats held a 2-0 lead. The Blues Alumni stormed back with three goals scored by Janssen, Lubos Bartecko, and Chris Saracino to take a 3-2 lead in the second period. Junior Travis Bobb (New York, NY/Vancouver Rangers WSHL) tied the game up with an assist from junior Michael Weedman (O’Fallon, MO/Fort Zumwalt North High School) and sophomore Tyler Estermyer (Plano, TX/East Lake High School). The Blues Alumni posted two more goals in the period. Watt would put his first goal in the back of the net.
The Bearcats were only able to scratch across one goal in the third period. Watt scored an unassisted goal on a breakaway as he was being tripped from behind. The Blues Alumni put six more goals in the back of the net to win the game 11-5.
The McKendree University D2 hockey team returns to the rink next Friday when they travel to St. Louis to take on Saint Louis University.