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!
New Trier Green played strong start to finish in beating St. Viator in its semifinal game, spending most of the opening period in St. Viator’s zone. Patrick Chang drew a tripping call putting Green on the power play early in the first, but Green was unable to convert. Gavin Randle made a great defensive play in Green’s zone leading to a 2-on-1 chance for Henry Freedman and Mark Ashmore at the other end of the ice, but Ashmore’s shot was saved. Green killed a penalty before being called for too many men, putting Green on back-to-back penalty kills. Preston Watt made some strong saves, and Mac Zelazny beat two defenders to score a shorthanded goal to put Green up at the end of the first. Brian Dolby opened the second period with a great defensive play to break up a St. Viator 2-on-1 chance. Ashmore had a nice toe drag and was taken down on his way to the net, putting Green back on the power play. Freedman’s shot hit the post, but Ashmore put in the rebound to make it 2-0 (Tyler Baird also with the assist). Green kept the pressure up, with a Baird rocket from the point getting through but being sticked away high by the St. Viator goalie, Jack Norehad making some pretty moves in front of the net before dropping the puck back to Freedman (whose shot was saved), and Dylan Kochman with a nice shot that was also saved. Trent Kadin had a good shot off the goalie’s pad that generated a rebound chance for Chang, and Bobby Soudan had a beautiful drop pass to Dolby, whose shot was glove saved by the St. Viator goalie. Soudan made a great move to the net and went short side putting Green up 3-0 (Ashmore with the assist). Danny Pugliese fired a rocket that was saved, and Chang won a board battle to come out with the puck and get off a shot that was saved. Kadin had a nice shot and then delivered a huge hit in front of the Green bench and student section, drawing cheers from the fired up crowd (thanks to our fans for a strong showing on a Monday night!). St. Viator started to turn the pressure up, but Watt, even without his fan club present, delivered some big saves. Tommy Kempf put in a rebound of a Soudan shot making it 4-0. Kadin was cross-checked, putting Green back on the power play, and Baird made a great defensive play to take away a St. Viator shorthanded chance. Randle was called for what looked like standing too close to a St. Viator player, leading to 4-on-4 play. Magnus Sivertson made a great pass to Norehad, whose shot was saved. After St. Viator’s penalty expired, Spencer Lifvendahl and Baird had nice clears to successfully kill the penalty and take Green into the third with a 4-0 lead. Despite the lead, Green didn’t let up. A John Kane shot went wide, and the 6’2” Baird was hit in the head from a (very) high St. Viator elbow behind the Green net, giving Green another power play. Kane shot wide before a Green penalty led to 4-on-4 play for 40 seconds. Norehad beat a couple defenders in front of the Green net to get the puck to Kane, whose shot went wide. Watt continued to make strong saves on the other end of the ice and the Green penalty was killed. Another Green penalty led to a St. Viator goal and a 4-1 score with 8:45 left in the game. Michael Brunso and Ryan Gallagher had a good 2-on-1 chance that was broken up. Lifvendahl drew a roughing penalty with 2:17 left, and the power play delivered with Gallagher skating in behind Soudan and scoring a goal to make it 5-1. St. Viator showed some frustration with a late slashing penalty and punches thrown near the end of the game. Green wasn’t fazed and emerged with a 5-1 win and a trip to the United Center for the State Championship Game. Come out to support New Trier Green vs. Loyola on Friday, March 22 at 7:30 pm, following the New Trier Girls in their championship game against Fenwick at 4 pm. Go Trevians!
Men, congratulations on your selection to the 2018-2019 New Trier Hockey Team! You are part of one of the strongest high school hockey programs in the country and should be very proud of your accomplishment. Playing competitive high school hockey is a major commitment and requires complete discipline and dedication. Adhering to the New Trier Hockey Club Athletic Code of Conduct and the Academic Eligibility Policy is the cornerstone of our success and must be followed at all times.
If you feel you cannot make this commitment at this time and would like to decline your selection, you must notify your coaches and the Hockey Director within 24 hours of your team posting.
Again, congratulations and best of luck this season!
-- Mike Brunso, NTHC President