EDWARDSVILLE — In terms of wins and losses, the 2018-19 season for the Edwardsville ice hockey team wasn’t what the Tigers wanted.
But despite an early exit from the postseason, EHS made plenty of progress along the way.
The season ended for EHS on Saturday at Queeny Recreational Complex with a 6-3 loss to De Smet in the third game of the St. Blues Challenge Cup round-robin playoffs, which determined the eight-team field for bracket play.
The 10th-seeded Tigers opened the playoffs with a 3-3 tie against No. 11 Ladue on Jan. 31 at the East Alton Ice Arena and lost 3-2 to No. 6 Marquette on Feb. 2 at the Brentwood Ice Rink.
EHS needed at least a tie against No. 3 De Smet to advance to bracket play.
Edwardsville finished the season 6-14-3 overall, including a 6-12-2 mark during the regular season.
The Tigers play in the Municipal Conference, which is probably the toughest of the four divisions in the Mid-States Club Hockey Association.
“In league play, we didn’t get as far as we wanted, but for the most part I thought it was a good season,” said EHS coach Jason Walker, whose team completed its third season in Mid-States. “We had a lot of new guys into the lineup this year and they performed very well.
“These guys work incredibly hard 11 months a year to play at this level and we’re disappointed in the way it ended, but we’re proud of the effort that we gave.”
Kyle Meehan, with 12 goals and one assist, was the leading goal scorer for Edwardsville.
Junior Sam Gibbons (11 goals, five assists) led the Tigers with 16 points.
Junior Justin Harper had seven goals and eight assists.
Other offensive leaders included sophomore Mark Tucker (six goals, five assists); junior Will Schuster (four goals, seven assists); sophomore Cameron Gillen (four goals, six assists); junior Logan Corzine (four goals, six assists); senior Mitchell Oberlag (three goals, six assists) and senior Conner Hinterser (five goals, three assists).
“Offensively, we certainly got better as the season went on,” Walker said. “It was tough to find goals at the beginning of the year.
“In years past we’ve had three or four guys who were carrying things offensively, but this year it was more up and down the lineup. You never know where you’re going to get it from, but some nights that’s a good thing.”
Defensemen for the Tigers included seniors Tyler Berry (three goals two assists), Andrew LaRose (one goal, five assists) and Eric Leggitt (two assists, junior Ethan Bogner (two assists) and sophomore Parker Terch (one goal, four assists).
“We leaned on several guys, but Tyler Berry missed a lot of the season with mono and that hurt us,” Walker said. “Andrew LaRose was a key guy for us and I don’t think anybody played more minutes in our conference. He was always playing against the other team’s best players.
“Ethan, Eric and Parker all had big minutes as well as part of the defensive corps. Going up against the offenses that we have to face, they did a very nice job.”
Senior goalie Mason Young, a former backup to three-year starter Matt Griffin, finally got a chance to start and posted a 4.02 goals-against average with a .874 save percentage. He played all but one game for EHS.
“Mason was everything that we could ask for,” Walker said. “He gave us a chance to win every game and he was outstanding as well.”
Senior Matt Kocarnik (one goal, five assists); junior Collin Salter (three goals, four assists); senior Jack Sumner (three goals, four assists) and junior Nate Frey (two assists) were among the other key players for Edwardsville.
Edwardsville will lose 10 players to graduation, so the varsity lineup for next season will have plenty of new faces.
“That’s about half of our team, but we’ve got a lot of good young players in our program,” Walker said. “We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to be a really strong team next year and it’s going to be really exciting to see the young guys step up into new roles.”