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Green Repeats as Champions of Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament

By Jackie Kadin, 12/02/19, 10:15PM CST

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New Trier Green beat Barrington 4-0 in the final game to once again take home the Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament championship. Green went 5-0 in tournament play and outscored its opponents 29-7 en route to its repeat title. Max Lee, Brian Dolby, Trent Kadin, and Mac Zelazny were selected to the all-tournament team.

Green opened its tournament Thanksgiving morning against Evanston. Birthday boy Preston Watt got the day off and his team gifted him with a 9-0 win, with Charlie Ware and Daniel Pugliese scoring 2 goals apiece. Ware’s first goal was assisted by Dolby, and his second by Pugliese and Danny Budington. Pugliese scored on a one-timer off a pass from John Babnik, and Zelazny and Kadin had the assists on his second goal. Goals were also scored by Zelazny (unassisted following a steal), Charlie Acri (Ryan O’Rourke with the assist), Colin Kuker (assisted by Graeme Paul and Ryan Gallagher), Budington (Acri with the assist), and Simon Chong (assisted by Kalev McCarthy and Kadin). The shutout was aided by strong defense and goaltending, including Tyler Nolan stopping an Evanston breakaway (penalty, shmenalty) and a great save by Lee on another breakaway by an Evanston cherrypicker. The best play of all may have been the chivalrous Dolby saving a female referee from tumbling to the ice - after he inadvertently knocked her over.

Showing some signs of residual tryptophan, Green looked sluggish at times but still handily defeated York in Friday’s game. Johnny Hackett, John Kane, and John Babnik all scored unassisted goals (there’s a joke in here somewhere about the 3 Johns - submit your best one for a chance to win a free hot chocolate at the next game). Hackett had a second goal on a rebound of a Dolby blast from the point (Babnik also with an assist). Nolan had some great backchecks and he and Spencer Lifvendahl delivered a couple huge hits in front of the student section. York managed to pull within 1 goal early in the third, but Gallagher scored on a one-timer on a pass from Zelazny to put the nail in the coffin en route to a 5-2 win.

Despite going up 1-0 on an early power play goal by Dolby in the high slot on a pass from Babnik, a Benet power play goal and shorthanded goal left Green trailing 1-2 near the end of the first period in Green’s third tournament game. Kuker got his own rebound and tied it up with 1:16 left in the first (Chong and Hackett with the assists). Paul gave Kadin a great breakout pass, and Kadin passed to a charging Zelazny who found the back of the net to give Green a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Babnik was on the receiving end of a beautiful stretch pass from Dolby, and made a nice move to the net going forehand-backhand-forehand before putting the puck in for a 4-2 lead. Two goals by Ware (assists by Babnik and Gallagher) and a goal by Hackett (O’Rourke with the assist) made it a 7-2 game, and strong defense and goaltending by Watt, including killing a late 5-on-3 Benet power play, preserved the victory.

Despite not being saddled with the 7 am semifinal game slot this year, Green still needed to dig deep to come back from an 0-3 first period deficit to beat a fired up St. Viator team in a chippy game. Hackett got Green on the board in an early second period power play (Pugliese and Nolan with the assists). On the next shift, a goal by Paul (Zelazny with the assist) made it a 1-goal game, and Pugliese had a good block to keep it a 1-goal game. Zelazny tied it early in the third (Paul and Kadin with the assists). Dolby and McCarthy made strong defensive plays, and Lee made a great save on a St. Viator breakaway. Acri, in his return game after missing the previous 2 games with a lower body injury, scored the game winner with just over 3 minutes left in the game to punch Green’s ticket to the championship game. 

Barrington came out strong in the championship game, and Kane made a great defensive play to stop a breakaway. Hackett got Green on the board first (Zelazny with the assist) before Watt saved another Barrington breakaway chance. Zelazny made a beautiful move in front of the net following a pass from Kadin to give Green a 2-0 lead (Paul also with the assist). On a Green power play, Watt came out to play the puck to stop a Barrington shorthanded breakaway chance. Babnik went top shelf as the power play was expiring, but his goal waved off for a crease violation. Lee came in to relieve Watt who left the game with a lower body injury, and made a great save on a Barrington breakaway. Hackett made it 3-0 following a nice pass from O’Rourke. On a Green power play, Pugliese made a strong defensive play on a Barrington shorthanded chance, but a penalty shot was called for a phantom penalty. Karmic justice was served and Lee made a great save to preserve his shutout. Gallagher scored an empty netter (Ware with the assist) and Green took the tournament championship title with a 4-0 win.