Edwardsville battled CBC closely in play at East Alton, but CBC prevailed 8-0 (Photos by Dan Brannan)EAST ALTON – A pair of unbeaten teams clashed on the ice Thursday night.

The teams: From the Illinois side, Edwardsville, unbeaten champions of the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association.

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From the Missouri side, CBC, unbeaten champions of the Mid-States Club Hockey Association.

The Tigers trailed only 2-0 at the end of two periods, but CBC's depth wore down the Tigers as they were defeated 8-0 by the Cadets at East Alton Ice Arena. The periods were 15 minutes each instead of the 13 minutes played by MVCHA, per USA Hockey rules.

The game was a qualifying game for the upcoming Toyota/USA Hockey High School National Championship tournament, which will be played at Hardee's IcePlex in Chesterfield, Mo., March 19-23.

The Cadets qualified for the tournament with the win, but the Tigers could still be invited to take part; Alton was one of 24 teams who took part in last year's tournament in Omaha, Neb.

While neither team played against each other during the season, both knew about the other.

“Edwardsville's a really good team,” said Cadet coach John Jost. “We had heard their goalie (Brady Griffin) was very good and we knew they were going to be a good team. We just used our depth.

“This was a very good test heading into nationals. We're excited to play in the tournament and excited it's going to be here. I think this will be a good way to show the nation there's some good hockey played here in St. Louis.”

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“Their depth is hard to match,” said Tiger coach Jason Walker. “Obviously, we're not happy about losing 8-0, but I don't think the score indicates what kind of a team we are. They play some really good competition over in Mid-States.”

The Tigers did have a couple of excellent chances early on, with Tyler Hinterser skating in alone on breakaways, but he was turned back both times by Cadet goalie Joe Bernardini. “If we could have put away one of those, it might had been a different game,” Walker said.

“We proved some folks wrong in the first two periods,” Walker said. “It was definitely a good experience for us to play a team like CBC; they're a really deep team.”

CBC's Spencer Sallenbach opened the scoring at 7:03 of the first period, with assists going to Noah Roofe and Brendan Huber, then extended the lead to 2-0 when Drew Coghan scored at 2:01 of the second, Sallenbach and Roofe assisting.

The floodgates opened at 3:11 of the third when Zach Fizer scored on assists from Clayton Cissell and Andy Willis, then Trevor Wilhelm scored a power-play goal at 6:17 with helpers from Coghan and Willis with Sam Brandstedt off for interference.

Cissell, Clayton Dawe, Coghan and Austin Davis all wrapped up the scoring for the Cadets.

CBC outshot Edwardsville 43-18, with Griffin recording 35 saves for the Tigers and Bernardini stopping all 18 shots for the Cadets. CBC was 1-for4 on the power play, while Edwardsville was 0-for-5.

Despite the loss, Walker wasn't discouraged. “We've had a great year,” he said. “We're really proud of all the kids have done and we're hoping to keep it going next season.”

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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