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New Trier Green Wins State Championship!

By Jackie Kadin, 03/24/19, 8:45PM CDT

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New Trier Green knocked off defending champion Loyola Gold to win the 2019 Illinois State Championship Friday night at the United Center in front of 11,000+ enthusiastic fans. Green warmed up in their “82” jerseys honoring Coach Alex Pegler, setting the tone for an emotional evening. Preston Watt made a great glove save in the first minute, firing up an already charged Green team. Tyler Baird had a great check in front of Watt, denying a Loyola chance. Dylan Kochman was called for elbowing, leaving Green shorthanded at 13:04 left in the first. Green continued their strong play on the penalty kill, including a huge hit by Gavin Randle, and didn’t allow a single Loyola shot on goal. Baird was tripped at 10:23 left in the first, putting Green on its first power play, but Green was unable to convert. Michael Brunso and Trent Kadin worked hard behind the Loyola net to keep the puck and Brunso found Brian Dolby at the point, but Dolby’s shot was saved. Baird caused a turnover at the blue line and got the puck to Henry Freedman who skated it into the Loyola zone, but his shot went wide. Watt made a great save on a Loyola 2-on-1 chance to keep the game scoreless. Freedman was called for slashing with 2:55 left in the first, putting Green back on the penalty kill. Patrick Chang was pulled down by the skate in front of the net as he was defending a Loyola chance and a tripping call led to 4-on-4 play for 1:07. Tommy Kempf skated the puck into the Loyola zone but his shot was saved. The Green power play was unable to convert, and the first period ended in a scoreless tie.

Bobby Soudan found Kempf in front of the net for an early second period chance, but his shot was saved. Magnus Sivertson delivered a huge hit to take away a Loyola chance. Brunso dropped a pass to Kadin, who was hooked (no call) and unable to get to the puck. Randle got off a great shot with Mark Ashmore screening in front of the net, but his shot was saved. Watt made a great save with his toe and another huge save during a scrum in front of the net. Randle delivered what commentator Patrick Sharp called a “good, clean open-ice” hip check to send a Loyola player airborne and take away a Loyola chance. At the other end of the ice, Danny Pugliese had a great keep at the point and shot on net, but his shot was saved, and Soudan’s rebound try hit the post. The puck came out and Kane had a great keep at the other side of the blue line and fired a rocket that was tipped into the net by Ashmore for a 1-0 Green lead. Ryan Gallagher won a battle in the corner, leading to a shot by Jack Norehad which was saved. Green kept up the pressure on both ends of the ice, with Soudan blocking a shot and Ashmore taking it to the net for a shot that was saved. Soudan was tripped at the blue line putting Green back on the power play. With 1:11 left on the power play, Randle was taken down by a “nasty” high cross-check to the head leading to a 5-on-3 power play. As Sharp noted, Loyola was “lucky” to get away with a 2-minute penalty. During 5-on-3 play, Dolby carried the puck into the zone and found Baird, who passed to Soudan at the circle. Soudan looked across the ice leading the Loyola goalie to expect a pass, and instead shot a nice wrister short side that found the back of the net to make it 2-0 with 3:28 left. On the remaining power play, a Baird slap shot from the blue line generated a great rebound chance for Dolby, but his shot was saved and the second power play expired. Kadin poked the puck away from a Loyola player to a charging Mac Zelazny who skated it into the zone for a shot that was saved. At the other end of the ice, Sivertson had a great back check and poked away the puck to take away a Loyola chance. Dolby intercepted the puck at center ice and skated it into the zone for a shot that was saved, and a Brunso rebound chance was also saved. The second period would end with Green leading 2-0. 

Zelazny had a faceoff win early in the third, getting the puck to Kadin, whose shot was saved. Kadin separated a Loyola player from the puck, leading to a Zelazny pass back to Kadin for another quick shot on goal that was also saved. Norehad skated the puck into the zone and passed to Ryan Gallagher who found a charging Kochman for a shot that was saved. Dolby and Gallagher had a great 2-on-1 chance and Gallagher got off a strong shot that was saved. With the clock ticking down in the third period, Green kept up pressure on both ends of the ice, with Kadin blocking a shot and Chang having a breakaway chance that was saved. Soudan, Ashmore, and Kempf had a 3-on-1 chance generated by a great Kane backcheck, but 1 too many passes led to Kempf’s shot being saved. Watt made a strong save punctuated by a hard hit by Sivertson behind the net as the whistle blew. Good backchecking by Brunso and Spencer Lifvendahl led to Freedman getting past 2 Loyola defenders for a wraparound attempt in a display of great individual effort. Zelazny and Chang had a 2-on-1 chance but Chang’s shot was saved. Dolby was taken down and Kochman got called for a cross-check in defending his teammate, putting Green back on the penalty kill with 2:36 left in the game. Loyola pulled its goalie for an extra attacker, leading to 6-on-4 hockey for 2 minutes. Green’s powerhouse penalty killing unit successfully killed the penalty, and Loyola also failed to score with an extra attacker in the final 36 seconds after their power play expired, giving Green a 2-0 win and the title of state champions. 

This was a hard-fought game and Green played with intensity and emotion on every shift, getting off 32 shots on goal to Loyola’s 18. Green showed off its depth, with every player on every line contributing to the win, and every player on the roster contributing to Green’s success all season long, capped by the state title. Jack Eggemeyer, Logan Izenstark, Owen Reger, and Jakob Travis joined the team for a boisterous on-ice celebration, where the team thanked coaches Melton, Bidwill, Brown, and Walsh; their fellow New Trier students; friends; family; and Superfan Steve for their support. Bringing the evening full circle, Green presented Coach Pegler’s mom with the commemorative Pegler jersey that accompanied them on their ride to the state title. Congratulations Green!