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NTG Wins Pre-Season Invitational Tournament

By Jackie Kadin, 09/09/19, 9:15AM CDT

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New Trier Green went undefeated as they repeated as champions of the Pre-Season Invitational Tournament, beating Carmel Catholic in the final game 9-0. NTG opened with a 4-2 win over Maine, with Trent Kadin getting NTG on the board first, tipping in a Danny Pugliese shot (Colin Kuker with an assist). Brian Dolby made a good defensive play to take away a Maine chance after a turnover. Charlie Acri had a couple good shots and Ryan O’Rourke had a takeaway and shot that was saved. Max Lee made several good saves to keep Maine off the board. Dolby threw a good old-fashioned hip check but was called for interference, leaving NTG shorthanded at the end of the first. The penalty was successfully killed at the start of the second, and Lee made a point blank save to keep it a 1-goal game. Pugliese and Simon Chong had shots from the opposite ends of the blue line, and a Magnus Sivertson shot from the point also got through, but the Maine goalie saved them all. Danny Budington from below the goal line found O’Rourke in front of the net, but O’Rourke’s shot saved. An NTG turnover led to a Maine goal at 10:46 in the second, making it a 1-1 game. Maine kept the pressure up and Lee made a couple strong saves before an unassisted goal by John Babnik made it 2-1 less than a minute later. John Kane was called for roughing and on the ensuing penalty kill, Kadin had a shorthanded chance that was saved. The penalty was successfully killed but Maine kept the pressure up and generated traffic in front of the NTG net that led to a Maine rebound goal tying the game at 2-2. Dolby got the rebound off a Babnik shot and hit the post. Another Dolby shot with Johnny Hackett in front with the screen was saved. On the other end of the ice, a Maine breakaway was saved by Lee. An NTG steal and stretch pass from Kane to Budington gave NTG a 3-2 lead at the end of second. Charlie Ware was called for interference, putting NTG back on the penalty kill. Mac Zelazny had a shorthanded chance that was saved before the penalty was killed. Ware rebounded a shot by Ryan Gallagher to give NTG a 4-2 lead with 9:20 left in the game. Sivertson was called for hooking, putting NTG back on the penalty kill. On a clearing attempt, Pugliese sailed the puck into the NTG bench and Coach Melton’s head. (In unrelated news, Pugliese was announced as a healthy scratch for the next 127 games.) NTG had several chances in the final minutes before the game ended with a 4-2 win. 

In the second game against Waubonsie, Hackett got hit early in the first and was called for roughing (apparently Glen Ellyn is not a stand your ground jurisdiction). On the ensuing penalty kill, Kadin made a good defensive play giving Kane a shorthanded chance that was sticked away. Lee made a good save on the other end and the penalty was killed. Hackett was sent to the box for a cross-check and Dolby had a shorthanded chance that was saved. Kadin had a good check and Graeme Paul blocked a shot to kill the penalty. NTG poured on the offense, with a Kane shot from point almost tipped in by Spencer Lifvendahl, a Tyler Nolan shot almost tipped in by Acri, and Babnik drawing iron. Chong was called for a penalty early in the second, and Kuker and Zelazny both had good shorthanded chances. At even strength, Kadin scored an unassisted goal at 8:06 left in the second to give NTG a 1-0 lead. At 3:35 left in the second, Kuker rebounded a Kadin shot that hit the post to make it 2-0, and less than 1 minute later, Lifvendahl rebounded a Kadin shot to extend the lead to 3. Waubonsie was called for a cross-check, and despite some good chances for NTG’s power play unit, Waubonsie scored a shorthanded goal to make it a 3-1 game and the end of 2. Kadin was called for roughing at 9:00 left in the third and Waubonsie capitalized on their power play, cutting NTG’s lead to 1. A block by Paul and strong play in the net by Lee kept it a 1-goal game, until Zelazny tipped in a Kane blast from the point to give NTG a 4-2 lead. The insurance goal would come in handy as Waubonsie scored off a face-off at 1:24 left in the third to cut the lead to 1. Waubonsie pulled its goalie for an extra attacker, but Lifvendahl fired a rocket into the empty net (per the commentary of Eric Lifvendahl) to seal NTG’s 5-3 win. 

NTG cruised into the semifinals with a 9-4 win against Benet. Dolby got NTG on the board first with a shorthanded goal following a steal in the Benet zone and a rebound off his own shot. Acri was pulled down going to the net and the power play unit converted, with a beautiful pass from O’Rourke to Budington, and O’Rourke finding the back of the net on a rebound. Sivertson played great defense on a 2-on-1 Benet chance and Lee made strong saves to keep it 2-0 after the first. Sivertson showed off his offensive chops early in the second with a goal off a Hackett pass to make it a 3-0 game. Ware buried a pass from Paul to give NTG a 4-0 lead. Nolan delivered a beautiful stretch pass to Kadin, who had a nice give-and-go with Kuker on a 2-on-none, with Kadin roofing it backhand to make it 5-0. On another NTG power play, Dolby fired a shot in the slot, and Budington tipped it in to make it 6-0. Dolby made a nice block on an odd-man rush before Acri scored NTG’s 7th goal following a Babnik pass. The game was momentarily delayed as some glass was knocked loose from the boards. Rodney Watt came in for the repair, with an assist by Neil Sivertson (much to the surprise of Jennifer Sivertson, who had never see such skills at the Sivertson home). Magnus Sivertson must have felt inspired as he scored at 2:26 left in the second on a pass from Zelazny to make it 8-0 (it was either that or the new stick, which clearly his parents should have bought him earlier). Lee made a strong save, and Kuker and Kadin had a great chance on other end, but the Benet goalie made an even better save. Lifvendahl was called for charging and Benet converted on their power play to make it 8-1, and scored an even-strength goal in the final minute of the second to make it an 8-2 game. Budington scored off the faceoff (Acri with the assist) to make it 9-2 after 2 periods of play. Gallagher was called for a cross-check and a Benet wraparound on their power play made it 9-3, and a quick Benet breakaway made it a 9-4 game. Lee made some good saves to preserve the running clock before Budington scored the 10th NTG goal for his hat trick. 

The semifinal found NTG playing SHL rival Glenbrook North. Dean Lawrence was in net, subbing for an injured Preston Watt. Kalev McCarthy was strong behind the net to protect the puck and get it out of the NTG zone. Solid defense, penalty killing, and goaltending kept it scoreless after 1 period of play. Dolby had a great backcheck to take away a GBN breakaway chance, and Ware and Pugliese both blocked shots. A Dolby shot was tipped just high by Paul, and both teams had several good chances in the final minute of the second period, but it ended in a scoreless tie. Kane knocked in a rebound of a Zelazny shot at the beginning of the third to give NTG a 1-0 lead. A couple penalties left NTG 2 men down, but NTG killed both penalties with strong defense, including a Kadin block and McCarthy clear. A Pugliese blast from the point (Zelazny with the assist) made it 2-0 with 10:57 left in the third. A couple minutes later, Lawrence made a great initial save, but the rebound went high in the paint and GBN was able to knock it in to cut the lead to 1. GBN was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving NTG a power play. Hackett buried a shot into an open net, but the GBN goalie kicked the net off and the goal was waved off. A couple penalties led to 4-on-4 play, and Chong made a great block on a point blank shot to save a 2-on-1 chance. GBN pulled its goalie at the end of the third for an extra attacker, and Pugliese just missed an empty net. The icing call brought the faceoff into the NTG zone, and GBN was able to win the faceoff and score with 14.5 seconds left to send the game into overtime. 4-on-4 overtime play brought back-and-forth action and several chances on the open ice, but after 5 minutes, the game remained tied, and the game went into a shootout. GBN scored with its first shooter, but then Lawrence shut down GBN. After 2 NTG misses, O’Rourke went top shelf to send the shootout into extra rounds. Lawrence saved 3 more GBN shots before Budington went top shelf to seal the win and send NTG into the championship game. 

NTG came out strong against Carmel Catholic, with Chong scoring at 15:45in the first (Budington and Ware with the assists). Babnik found the back of the net after an NTG faceoff win to make it 2-0. Acri banked the puck in in off the goalie as time expired in the first to give NTG a 3-0 lead. Hackett went hard to the net and buried the puck to make it a 4-0 game (Babnik with the assist), and Budington found Acri off a faceoff win to make it 5-0. A Carmel goalie change did not faze Ware, as he went bar down to make it 6-0 with 5:45 left in the second (Kadin and Zelazny with the assists). Kane had 2 shorthanded chances at the end of the period, with his second shot hitting the post. At the start of the third, a Dolby shot from the point was tipped by Gallagher to make it a 7-0 game. Kane forced a turnover and scored unassisted, making it 8-0. Gallagher rebounded a Pugliese shot (Chong also with an assist) halfway through the third. Strong defense and netminding gave NTG and Lee a 9-0 championship shutout.