EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville players had banner days, as Fred Bramstedt had two goals and three assists, while Konnor Goclan had a goal and two assists in the Red team’s 9-2 win over the Blue team in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association’s Class 2A All-Star Game, played Thursday night at RP Lumber Center in Edwardsville.

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The Red team, consisting of players from Edwardsville, Collinsville, O’Fallon and Columbia, met the Blue team, with players from Granite City, Belleville, and St. John Vianney Catholic of Kirkwood, Mo., in the annual contest, which serves as a springboard for the league’s playoffs, which begin next week.

The Edwardsville players – Goclan, Bramstedt, goalie Kai Vetter, Caleb Brune, and Joey Viox – all had good games, but the important thing about the game was for the players to all have fun before the playoff grind gets underway.

“Yeah, it’s always fun,” said Tiger head coach Jason Walker. “It’s a good group of guys that we had, and to get to see that side of everybody, guys that usually you compete against, and see everybody come together and have fun in a game like this is a blast.”

The game was a great way for all the players on all the teams loosen up, relax, and have fun just before the start of the playoffs, and needless to say, Walker is looking forward to the start of the postseason run.

“Yeah, looking forward to the start of the playoffs,” Walker said. “It’s been a good year, and now, the fun starts.”

To say the Tigers had a good year in their return to the MVCHA after playing in the St. Louis-based Mid-States Club Hockey Association would be an understatement. The Tigers went on to a 23-1-0 record, only losing a late-season game to O’Fallon that ended the team’s MVCHA winning streak that dated back to 2014. Edwardsville will be the team to beat, and Walker is looking forward to the challenge.

“We feel good,” Walker said. “We know there are areas to improve, and luckily, we have almost two weeks to get ready, just keep getting better. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Tigers will have an opening round bye, as being the division’s top seed, and Walker will be taking a time-honored approach to the postseason.

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“It’s cliché, but just take it one game at a time,’ Walker said, “and we know what our path is to finishing this thing off. We want to make sure we’re playing good each and every game. We’re focusing in on that, right now, I mean, there’s really nothing else, other than put everything into the next game.”

The Tigers have a bye in the first round, and will await their opponent in the second-round series, which are always best-of-three. The bye gives Walker and the Tigers the luxury of preparing for their opponent two weeks down the line.

“We get a first-round bye,” Walker said, “so we get those couple of weeks to get ready, which is nice. We’ll see how we get in the second round, but having the time off is nice.”

As far as the game went, there was virtually no checking, which allowed the players to show their tremendous skills, and gave the officials little to worry about, as there wasn’t a penalty called throughout the game.

That’s not to say there was plenty of action, The Reds got the opening goal at 7;57 of the first period, where O’Fallon teammates Jack Vahle and Abram Turner combined for the goal, Vahle scoring, and Turner assisting. It was the only goal of the first period, and it didn’t take long for the Blues to score, as Belleville’s Barrett Lampe scored from his teammate Sean Keck at 23 seconds to tie the game at 1-1.

The Reds then blitzed the Blues for four unanswered goals, starting with Bramstedt scoring his first goal of the game, assisted by Columbia’s Rece Sanderson at 3:27, giving the Reds the lead for good at 2-1. Jack Reuss of Columbia made it 3-1 at 6:16, assisted by Brune, with the third goal of the period was an all-Tiger production, as Goclan scored from Bramstedt and Vetter at 8:31, making the score 5-1.

Seventeen seconds later, at 8:48, the Panthers’ Mason Wright scored, assisted by Bramstedt, to give the Reds a 5-1 lead. Lampe scored at 13:17, assisted by the Warriors’ Reid Parker, to make the score 5-2 after two periods.

The Reds scored all four goals in the third period to put the game away, starting with Collinsville’s Glen Bennett scoring, assisted by Goclan and Wright, at 3:29 to make it 6-2, then O’Fallon’s Zeth Jordan scored from his teammate, Kyle Settles, at 4:12 to give the Reds a 7-2 lead. Jordan scored again, this time unassisted, at 11:25, and Bramstedt scored the final goal of the game, assisted by Wright, at 14:44, to give the Reds their 9-2 win.

The Reds outshot the Blues 61-30 in the game.

The MVCHA playoffs begin next week, with the first-round pairings and schedules to be announced.

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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