Winnetka, Sports

Huber, Nolan provide offense as New Trier Green collects 6th state title in 8 years

New Trier Green has guys who can score. So other guys, like Hans Huber, don’t have to.

Instead, according to coach Adam Cheris, Huber and his linemates are on the ice to squash the opponent’s best offensive unit. When guys like Huber do score, bet that Green is in good shape.

“The big plus was getting two (goals) from Hans,” Cheris said about the state championship result. “(His line’s) only goal is to shut them down and not let them score. I don’t care if he gets a shot on net. … They were shutting down York’s top crew but also got two goals for us. That’s a tremendous lift by that group.”

Huber gave his team separation, scoring Green’s second and third goals, in New Trier’s 6-1 rout of York on March 13 in the AHAI state championship game at the United Center.

Recording of the AHAI championship game March 13 at the United Center in Chicago.

The victory gave New Trier Green its second straight state championship (both coming against York), sixth in the last eight seasons (no championship game in 2020) and 18th overall (since 1983).

Cheris took over New Trier Hockey in 2023 from longtime club leader Bob Melton and said it was special to win the state title in the club’s 50th anniversary year. In Cheris’ first two seasons, New Trier Green won the coach’s trophy (first place in Scholastic Hockey League), the SHL tournament and the state championship — an accomplishment never achieved by the program. Also in those seasons, Green has gone 20-0 in the postseason (SHL tourney and AHAI state series).

“That’s crazy and is what I want to hang my hat on,” Cheris said. “That to me feels real good to know we have the team ready to go at the right time.”

New Trier Green was certainly ready to go in the state championship. In the first minute, senior Aidan Nolan redirected a slap shot from Jack Savino into the net to give his team an early lead.

Green couldn’t push any more across in the period, and Cheris said he “wasn’t crazy about the way things were going” until his team killed a 5-on-3 disadvantage and picked things up with a resurgent second period.

Early in the second, Garrett Chong found Huber, who sent a wrister upper far post for Green’s second goal. Green added two more goals in quick succession about 10 minutes later — Huber this time slotting the puck near post, and Ashton Freel with a goal off a turnover — to make it 4-0 headed to the final period.

Green’s Aidan Nolan, who scored a hat trick, earns MVP honors after the state championship. | Screen Capture

York found the net in the third, but Nolan tallied two more goals to earn a hat trick and put the game away.

While Green put up six goals, its defense again made an impression, like it has all season, Cheris said.

All-Staters Savino and Shane Randle lead the back line and are backed by All-State goaltender Drew Durdov. Green’s defenders are imposing, as well, with multiple skating at over 6 feet 2 inches tall.

Savino said the unit has the “intimidation factor” as well as the reach and the skills to disrupt any opposing offense.

“All year our defense has been top tier,” Savino said. “We all work together super well. It’s a bunch of guys out there doing the same thing. Guys who can rush the puck up and play D. There are a lot of skills on the back end … and that really helps a lot.”

While New Trier Green has a rich history of success, Cheris said these past two years have come with a renewed unity throughout the program.

New Trier Hockey has five teams: Green, Blue, White, Grey and junior varsity. Since taking over, Cheris said he has preached community, asking teams to root for each other instead of forming, at times, problematic rivalries.

One way Cheris and the coaching staff addressed that is through a program of rotating games on Friday nights. The players from the other teams attend and cheer on their peers.

“The culture we established to support one another and be a brotherhood at New Trier Hockey,” he said. “People say ‘one club” now. It’s been a great experience so far and we hope to keep building it.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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