Panther Hockey remains unbeaten after taking on Columbia and East Alton-Wood River

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

hockeyThe OTHS Panther Ice Hockey Team continued its early season march in white knuckle action Thursday night against Columbia at the East Alton Ice Arena, winning 5-4.

The Panthers moved to 4-0 on the season following the win, but this latest one doesn’t happen without the heroic efforts of junior Logan Drolet.

Drolet scored or assisted on ever Panther goal on the evening, netting his first hat trick of the season to go along with a pair of assists.

The junior’s performance helped OTHS erase an early 1-0 deficit, as Drolet helped the Panthers open up a three goal lead with four unanswered tallies.

Columbia did its job to stop the rally, however, when the Eagles found the back of the net to open the third period. Drolet would complete the hat-trick minutes later, however, and his final lighting of the lamp provided the pivotal advantage to O’Fallon.

Sophomore Ethan Ourada (one goal, two assists) and junior Jack Wallace (one goal, two assists) would provide the rest of the Panther scoring attack, as they combined with Drolet to provide every scoring marker on the evening.

The Eagles would take advantage of a power play opportunity later in the period to cut the lead to two goals before pulling within one of the Blue and Gold with 3:19 left in the third, squeezing every bit of drama out of the 60 minute contest.

“Credit Columbia for competing the right way,” Head Coach Patrick Roy said after the game. “There is no quit in that dog, and they have a lot to be proud of for the way they played. But there’s a lot for us to be happy about, too. We held on to win a really tough game, and that’s going to help us in the long run.”

O’Fallon returned to competition in Granite City late Monday evening when the Panthers took the ice against East Alton-Wood River.

This contest would not turn out to be the nail-biter that Thursday was.

The Panthers used a balanced and lethal offensive attack to overwhelm EAWR, scoring early in often en route to a dominating 12-0 rout.

Junior defenseman Graham Sudduth notched what would be the eventual game-winner in the first period. Sudduth would also add an assist on a night where his savvy defense helped goaltender Kristen Smith earn the shutout.

“The defense played as big a part in our win tonight as our offense did, and that’s saying a lot,” Roy said of the performance. “It started with the play of our d-men and our goalie, and the forwards follow suit. We’re going to be tough to beat if we play like this.”

Junior Ryan Boeck netted a hat trick on the evening, adding a pair of assists to give him a five point game. Senior Hayden Ourada would also contribute five markers, scoring two goals and adding three assists.

OTHS will head back to the East Alton Ice Arena the following night when they take on Edwardsville.

The Tigers went into the contest boasting a +32 goal differential (40 goals scored, eight goals allowed) and the second most standings points in the league, one behind first place O’Fallon.