New Trier Green hockey hasn’t lost much this season, so the defeats are easy to remember. One easier than the rest, though.
In late October, Loyola Gold walloped Green 5-0. Not that Green needs extra motivation when its on the ice with Gold, but it had it on Friday night at North Shore Ice Arena.
The added energy aided Green’s heartstopping 2-1 triumph in which Harrison Miller converted the winning penalty shot and goalie Drew Durdov made the winning save that followed.
“It was a game we felt we really needed to have,” Green coach Adam Cheris said. “They beat us the first time we played this year and I didn’t think we played a very good game that time. We had a lot to prove.”
Green was ready to make their point early on, outshooting Loyola Gold by a 2:1 margin, Cheris said. But it took a bit to dent the scoreboard.
Green senior Aidan Nolan kicked off the scoring with a goal in the second period, driving the Green faithful into a frenzy.
“The atmosphere was incredible,” Cheris said. “The place was packed to the gills on both sides … kids from Winnetka hockey and Wilmette. I think it’s great for Illinois hockey.”
Green held strong until the waning moments of the third and final period. Loyola Gold pulled its goalie late in regulation to gain a man advantage and found the equalizer with 1:23 to play.
The teams’ played a scoreless overtime to force a sudden-death shootout. Both teams scored in their first attempts and both failed in the next two rounds. In the fourth attempt, Miller found the net for Gold, and Durdov made the save to start the celebration.
Cheris said Green is glad to have Durdove back in net after he missed some time with an injury. The senior is a returning starter from last year’s team and recorded a shutout in the state championship.
The Friday night contest also had significant implications for the Scholastic Hockey League standings with the teams sitting in the top two slots on the leaderboard.
With the victory, New Trier Green is alone in first place with 18 wins versus three losses, according to the league website as of press time. Loyola Gold is right behind with a record of 16-3-3.
Overall, Green is 33-6-2 a little over halfway through the season and on their quest to repeat as state champs.
“This is a very different team,” Cheris said. “We are a big, strong, physical team that works very hard. … We’re trying to find what’s our identity. We have seven or eight guys who are over (6-foot-3) and very physical, defined by hard work. We like that. We think we can go all the way with it.
“But at the same time, we’re trying to find guys who can step up and score some goals. … We would like to get on top of teams and put them away. I like the direction we are headed in and a win over Loyola is another step in the right direction.”
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