Glenbrook North easily eliminated Barrington, winning 4-0 and 8-2, thus now battles Stevenson, which needed three games (and overtime in game three) to slip past co-op Rockford. The Patriots downed Rockford 7-3 in Game One, then fell 8-1 at Rockford. Senior Matt Heller scored the series-deciding goal in overtime on Feb. 15, as Stevenson won, 2-1.
Heller’s goal capped an emotional roller-coaster for the Stevenson right wing who, on Feb. 10, learned that his grandfather, Dr. Jordan Waxman, died after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Waxman was buried on Feb. 12, and hours later Heller was skating for Stevenson. Heller never considered skipping the Feb. 12 game, played in Buffalo Grove. “I wanted to play, but it was hard,” he said. “All of my friends, teammates and coaches came up to me before the game telling me to play this (game) for my grandpa, that he’s watching – and that’s what I did; I left everything out there, out on the ice. I took every stride thinking of him, playing my heart out for him.”
Editor’s Note: Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for nearly 15 years, and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross at Rossco814@aol.com.