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Green Wins SHL Championship

By Jackie Kadin, 03/01/20, 10:15PM CST

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After giving up 3 unanswered goals and dropping Game 1 of the 3-game championship series against St. Viator 4-3 (perhaps not coincidentally the day after Turnabout), New Trier Green came roaring back to win the next 2 games and take the SHL Championship trophy. In Game 2, Green overcame a hostile crowd, some questionable calls, and penalty trouble to emerge with a 4-1 win. Green came out fast and had some early chances, including a great shorthanded chance by John Kane from Charlie Acri, a Johnny Hackett shot that went just wide following a nice pass from Trent Kadin, shots by Magnus Sivertson and John Babnik, and a Kane shot off the post. Ryan Gallagher got Green on the board first with a rebound of Spencer Lifvendahl shot (Danny Budington also with an assist). Max Lee had several good saves to keep it a 1-0 game after the first. The Green defense stood its ground in the second, killing a couple penalties with blocked shots, good clears, and strong play in the net by Lee. Green’s offense kept up pressure, with a couple good chances by Colin Kuker, and not one, not two, but three shots by Kadin that were saved. Lifvendahl was called for BSL and Brian Dolby drew a penalty on a shorthanded chance, leading 4-on-4 play for 1:37. Danny Pugliese found the back of the net to give Green a 2-0 lead (Acri and Tyler Nolan with the assists) after two periods of play. Green started the third period on the penalty kill, and shorthanded goal by Kadin (Mac Zelazny with the assist) made it a 3-0 game. Budington had a shorthanded chance and drew a tripping penalty. After 4-on-4 play expired, St. Viator scored a shorthanded goal to pull within 2. Green killed off 2 penalties, including more than a minute of 3-on-5 play, and Gallagher scored the empty netter off the post and in (Lifvendahl with the assist) to give Green a 4-1 win and force a Game 3.

In the third and deciding game, Babnik got Green off to a quick 1-0 lead with an Instagram-worthy snipe off a nice pass from birthday boy Acri. Zelazny found Kadin who showed great patience in getting the goalie to commit before putting the puck in to the open net with a goal deserving of its own likes to make it 2-0. Acri from down low found Babnik for another snipe and a 3-0 lead (Simon Chong also with the assist). A Sivertson shot was almost tipped by Hackett, and Kuker made a couple nice moves in skating end-to-end and getting the puck to Ryan O’Rourke for a shot that was saved. St. Viator was called for a late hit and the Green power play unit showed great puck movement from Zelazny to Acri to Dolby, who buried the puck to make it 4-0 after one period of play. Dolby drew a head contact penalty putting Green on a power play, and Nolan drew a double minor penalty giving Green a 5-on-3 for 45 seconds. Babnik rebounded an Acri shot with 7 seconds left to make it 5-0. With Green still on a power play, O’Rourke capitalized on a St. Viator delayed penalty to make it 6-0 (Pugliese with the assist). During even play, Kuker got the puck to O’Rourke whose shot was saved, but Charlie Ware buried the puck to make it a 7-0 game. Budington and Chong were called for penalties, putting on a 3-on-5 penalty kill for 1:32. Sivertson played great defense of front of the net to clear the puck and Kadin had a good block to kill the first penalty. Kalev McCarthy drew a roughing penalty putting Green on a power play after the second penalty expired and Babnik had a nice chance following some good passing by Kane and Zelazny, but his shot was saved and the power play was over. Preston Watt made a great save on a St. Viator chance to keep it 7-0 after the second period. A Green clearing attempt nailed Rodney Watt in the scorekeeper’s box; surprisingly, there were no O’Rourkes in the vicinity. St. Viator scored during a power play in the third period to make it a 7-1 game, but Green would shut them down for the rest of the game to win the SHL championship.

Next up: Green plays its first State game against Deerfield on Sunday night at 6:30 at The Edge in Bensenville.