BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Hockey Team finally returned to the ice after over a week-long hiatus, and the Panthers shook off early signs of rust en-route to a convincing 8-3 road win over the Triad Knights on Thursday night at the East Alton Ice Arena.
The Blue and Gold sputtered early, allowing a trio of Triad goals after senior Zach Winkler buried the opening tally to give OTHS a quick 1-0 advantage.
Ethan Ourada and Jack Wallace would each find the offense to tie the game before Ourada gave O’Fallon the lead for good with his tally with an assist from his brother Hayden.
Junior Graham Sudduth would bury the first OTHS insurance goal off a slick feed from classmate Travis Manthe, but the Panthers would ultimately find the goal unnecessary as an improved defensive and goaltending effort provided the necessary punch.
Ryan Boeck’s nifty tally would make the game 6-3 before Sudduth and Wallace added their second goals of the evening for the last markers.
The result moved the Panthers into a tie with Bethalto for third place with 18 standings points, behind Edwardsville (20) and Freeburg-Waterloo (19). The Panthers’ 74 goals scored is also the third highest total in the league.
O’Fallon has now won two straight contests following a tough loss to Freeburg-Waterloo at the beginning of the month.
OTHS returned to the ice on Tuesday when they took on Belleville in a contest that went final after this issue went to print. Belleville is currently in eighth place with eight standings points.
The Panthers’ next contest will be a road test at the East Alton Ice Arena when O’Fallon takes on the tenth place Alton Redbirds on Thursday evening. OTHS will then take to the rink on Tuesday when they face sixth place Collinsville in Granite City.