EAST ALTONCollinsville's Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association team had a nice celebration at East Alton Ice Arena Wednesday night.

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The Kahoks honored their three senior players on their Senior Night game against Alton in a pre-game ceremony, then went out and defeated the Redbirds 4-3 thanks to a hat trick by Cory Sperry.

“It was definitely a hard loss, but they came out and they wanted it,” said Redbird coach Abram Henson. “It was their Senior Night and all, and they came out and played well. The bounces went their way; we had the power plays and everything. It just didn't go our way tonight.

“It really seemed like they wanted it a lot more than we did. It was really strange tonight too; two of their goals were off of our defensemen and that generally doesn't happen with us.”

One break the Kahoks got came early; the Redbirds had a 5-on-3 power play when Collinsville's Noah Scrum (for checking from behind) and Jacob Scrum (for tripping) were both off and the Kahoks managed to kill off both penalties. Not long after Jacob Scrum's penalty was over, Sperry took a pass from Cole Metzger and beat Redbird netminder Caleb Currie to give Collinsville a 1-0 lead.

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The Redbirds responded with a Scott Waldrup goal, with assists going to Connor James and Jacob Eppel, with 2:01 left in the first. Alton then took their only lead of the game when Zach Hunter beat Kahok goalie Zach Stenger at the 3:07 mark of the second period, but Sperry's second goal (from assists from Noah Scrum and Jared Drake) just 1:22 after Hunter's goal tied the game again.

It stayed that way until the third period, when Kalib Carlyle scored just 10 seconds into the frame, helped by a feed from Luke Harris, to give the Kahoks the lead back. About three minutes after that, Waldrup scored his second goal when he beat Stenger to the right side after a feed from Tanner St. Peters to draw the Redbirds level again at 3-3.

It didn't last long, though; 28 seconds after Waldrup scored, Sperry got a pass from Noah Scrum, skated in and scored past Currie to finish the hat trick with what turned out to be the winning goal; Metzger was also given an assist on the play. The Redbirds battled to try to get the tying goal, even pulling Currie in the final minute for a sixth attacker, but the Kahoks were equal to the challenge and came out winners.

Collinsville wound up with 25 shots on goal, with Currie turning back 21; the Redbirds had 21 shots on goal, with Stenger recording 18 saves.

The Redbirds are off until their traditional New Year's Day game at East Alton, taking on Triad in a 2:30 p.m. faceoff.

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