Panthers hockey team ends regular season on a high note

BY ALEX GRUBERMAN
WEEKLY REPORTER

It is always a bittersweet moment when you know your season is coming to an end. It seems like yesterday you were trying out and making the team.

For the O’Fallon Panthers hockey team, these moments were hit even harder Thursday night when the Panthers took on Waterloo/Freeburg in the last match of the season. The last time the Panthers faced off against Waterloo/Freeburg they lost to them 7-0. The Panthers came to the game looking to get some retribution.

In the first period, there were quite a few opportunities to score for both teams, but after one period the teams remained scoreless.

In the second period, things continued to heat up for the Panthers and Bulldogs. At the 10:57 mark, the Panthers finally were able to put the puck in the back of the net. Logan Drolet, assisted by Chris Duncan, made it 1-0 Panthers in the second period. As in the first period, the Panthers committed some penalties, fortunately they weren’t costly. The Bulldogs however did get a goal in before the end of the second period so just like the first period we were tied 1-1 after two. The referees had to break up some more pushing and shoving as the horn sounded after the period.

With one period left to go, could the Panthers pull out the victory and end the season on a high note?

Time was going by quickly in the third period, but the Panthers were putting the pressure on the Bulldogs goalie. The Panthers finally were able to get the go ahead score thanks to Captain Hayden Ourada who was assisted by a kick by Ryan Boeck and the pass by Aaron Turner. Panthers lead 2-1, but still time left for the Bulldogs to make a comeback.

With about two minutes remaining in the game, the Bulldogs weren’t giving up just yet. They went down into the Panthers zone and rattled off shot after shot after shot. Goalie Kristin “Smitty” Smith was able to block all those shots and help the Panthers hang on to the 2-1 victory.

The Panthers finish the season with a record of 14 wins and 7 losses in the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association 2A division.

The team now prepares to head into the playoffs, where they expect to take on Bethalto in the first round.