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O'FALLON - Much like the night before in East Alton, the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association celebrated its season with the league's Class 2A All-Star Game, a game that saw the six teams in the division split into two teams – the Reds and the Blues – to allow its players to show off their skills to an appreciative crowd at McKendree University's new Metro Rec-Plex facility that has two NHL-sized rinks.

The game was played at the Bearcats' home rink, Poettker Arena, with the Red team being made up of all-stars from Collinsville, Columbia and O'Fallon, and the Blue team being made up of players from Granite City, Freeburg/Waterloo and Belleville.

The Red team scored early and often throughout the game as the Reds defeated the Blues 16-4; the Warriors had four representatives on the Blues in the game, Mason Roehr, Pavol Hutchins, Domiic Metheny and Alec Marshall, while GCHS coach Dany Greene was an assistant coach on the Blue staff.

“It was fun,” Greene said of the evening. “The kids had a blast; the other team was pretty skilled – our team was skilled too. They had a lot of firepower, but it was fun – the kids had fun, we had fun, so it was a good time.

“We have a lot of talent in the league right now, and it showed out there and it was fun to watch all of them.”

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The Warriors' season has, in Greene's words, “gone really well.” GCHS finished in fourth in Class 2A following the league's split into Class 1A and 2A in early January with a 13-8-0 (26 points) record and will meet Collinsville in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs beginning Thursday. “We didn't know what to expect with having so many young kids; we've got 13 freshmen and we didn't know how to handle it, so we didn't know what to expect.

“The kids have really responded well and are playing well; we got the fourth spot, which is huge for us. Collinsville's a very good team; you're going to see a lot of the same kids out there, so it was good to get our kids prepared for that.”

O'Fallon's Graham Sudduth opened the scoring just 16 seconds into the game for the Reds, a goal that was countered quickly by a goal from Freeburg/Waterloo's Jacob Pitt; from that point on, it was all Reds, with other first-period goals coming from Noah Scrum (Collinsville), Sean Hoffstetter (Columbia) and back-to-back goals from Jack Wallace (O'Fallon) to make it 5-1 through the opening period; Scrum and Hofstetter's goals were both shorthanded goals.

The Reds kept the goals coming in the second period, scores coming from Scrum, Sean Hofstetter, Jacob Matthews (Columbia), Sudduth and Hunter Longhi (Collinsville); the Blues' only goal in the second came from Justin Araiza of Belleville, who also had the Blues' two goals in the third period. The Reds got goals from Sudduth, Longhi, Wallace, Hudson Miller (Columbia), Longhi again and Sudduth again to close out the scoring for the night.

The Reds had 53 shots on goal on the night, while the Blues had 29. Grant Goodson (Collinsville), Londyn Little (Columbia) and Kristin Smith (O'Fallon) all saw a period between the pipes for the Reds, while the Blues' goaltenders on the night were Trevor Smith (Freeburg/Waterloo), Evan Johnson (Belleville) and Kylah Krause (Belleville).

The MVCHA playoffs in both Class 1A and 2A get under way Thursday night with best-of-three opening-round series. The Class 2A opening-rounds have Freeburg/Waterloo meeting Belleville and Granite City taking on traditional rival Collinsville; Columbia and O'Fallon have the first-round byes. In Class 1A, Triad will take on East Alton-Wood River and Bethalto meets Alton in the first-round, with Highland and Edwardsville having the byes. Games will be played at McKendree's Rec-Plex, East Alton Ice Arena and Granite City's Wilson Park Ice Rink.

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