East Alton-Wood River goal tender Blake Stone prepares to stop a puck in Thursday night's hockey playoff game. He stopped all 22 Bethalto shots in the matchup. (Photo by Dan Brannan)EAST ALTON – In the final analysis, Game 2 of the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association Class 1A West Division Final came down to one person - Blake Stone.

The East Alton-Wood River goaltender stopped all 22 Bethalto shots he faced and a pair of power-play goals by Seth Chester sent the Oilers into the Class 1A Final as EAWR eliminated the Eagles 2-0 at East Alton Ice Arena Thursday night.

The Oilers will take on the Edwardsville 1A team, which swept out Columbia in the East Division Final, in Game 1 of the championship series Tuesday night at East Alton. Game 2 is set for Thursday night, with a deciding game, if needed, to take place March 2.

Oiler coach John Helmkamp knew Stone's presence was huge. “Blake was our MVP tonight,” Helmkamp said. “He was awesome.”

“He just stood on his head,” said Eagle coach Cory Newgent on Stone's game. “No doubt, he won it for them; he stood tall and didn't give up extra chances, controlled the rebounds well.”

After the Oilers had run riot on his side in Game 1 (a 5-1 EAWR win), Newgent was hoping for better from his charges – and he got it. “That was the team we expected in Game 1,” Newgent said. “It was a much different game; they didn't hold anything back, and that's all you can ask. We just came up a bit short.”

“They left it on the ice,” Helmkamp said of the Eagles. “They can hold their heads up. We knew they would bring it, and they did. It was a very entertaining game.”

The Oilers got the only goal they would need when, with Colton Hamlett off on a double-minor for tripping, Chester strode in after getting passes from Alec Revelle and Chris Hamby and fired a shot that beat Bethalto goalie Alec Hilliard at 6:10 to put EAWR up 1-0.

Stone kept coming up big on several great chances by the Eagles as the game went on. The Oilers put the game away when, on a two-man advantage with Anthony Russo and Konnar Loewen both in the penalty box for tripping, Chester knocked a shot past Hilliard, with Blake Weishaupt and Cole Ford assisting.Wood River had 17 shots on goal, with Hilliard getting 15 saves.

Stone kept coming up big on several great chances by the Eagles as the game went on. The Oilers put the game away when, on a two-man advantage with Anthony Russo and Konnar Loewen both in the penalty box for tripping, Chester knocked a shot past Hilliard, with Blake Weishaupt and Cole Ford assisting.

Wood River had 17 shots on goal, with Hilliard getting 15 saves. The Oilers were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Eagles failed to score on two chances.

East Alton-Wood River and Bethalto players collide at the goal chasing a puck on Thursday night. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

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Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban
Journals.

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