Glenbrook North Wins 2nd Loyola Gold Tournament in 3 Years

spartans LA TourneyThe Spartans had much to be thankful for as during the Thanksgiving Holiday.

In the traditional rivalry game between Glenbrook South, the Spartans came away with a 6-2 victory in front of a sold out crowd in Glenview. Zach Knudson opened the scoring when his shot from the left point beat Titan goalie Matt Grinde and Spartans never looked back. Chris Zhang was magical scoring 3 goals 2 of which were on the power play.

GBN spent the weekend by playing in the 43rd Loyola Gold Thanksgiving tournament.  The Spartans had played in the finals the past two seasons and this year would be no different.

In the first game against Highland Park, GBN spotted the Giants a 2-0 lead until late in the 1st period when Joe Day scored on a wraparound goal. That play seemed to wake the Spartans up as Alex Merritt lead a charge into the 2nd period which found GBN scoring 4 goals in that stanza following up with 4 more in the 3rd period for a convincing 9-3 victory.

In the 2nd game against Brother Rice the Spartans started quickly scoring 4, 1st period goals on their way to a 7-0 win. Alex Merritt again led the scoring with another 3 goal game.

In order to advance to the Semi-Finals the Spartans met up with Ohio power St. Edwards.  The Spartans were again led by Merritt with 2 goals while his line mates Logan Nein and Chris Zhang each chipped in one a piece. The power play scored two goals in the game and the team defense stifled St. Edwards from start to finish.

Naperville Central was next up for the Spartans in the semi’s. Central defeated host Loyola Gold to reach the game.  The Spartans scored 30 seconds into the game by a goal from who else, Alex Merritt. Central responded with two goals to open up the 2nd period.

Defenseman Chad Yale tied the game on a give-and-go play with Merritt midway the 2nd period.  Logan Nein would get the winner just a minute after Yale’s goal on a nice shot from in close.  The 3rd period was scoreless thus allowing the Spartans to reach the finals for the 3rd year in a row.

GBN would face Barrington in the finals. The Broncos had a terrific tournament by winning their bracket and then by upsetting New Trier Green 4-3 in double overtime in the semi-finals.

Logan Nein opened up the scoring as he attacked the net with a short side wrap around and beat Bronco goalie Marcus Kunzman. The Broncos tied the game with a power play goal that hit off a Spartan shin pad with 2:48 to play in the 1st period. Barrington took the lead on another power play goal from the left point with 11:48 to play in the 2nd period.

It looked like the Barrington lead with last as Kunzman and the rest of the Broncos locked down the Spartans with some tight checking. With time ticking down, Alex Merritt dug a puck out to Logan Nein who found Chris Zhang slightly open to the left side of the about 20 feet out and Zhang let go a hard high wrist shot that found the right side of the Bronco net tying the game with 1:42 to play.

The first overtime was played as a 5 on 5 with the best scoring chance coming from a pass from Merritt to Zhang but the shot went wide. The second ot was played 4 on 4. The combo of Kyle Fisher and Jared Epstein sustained pressure inside the Bronco’s zone where Epstein came off the right board and Fisher went to the net to set a screen.  Epstein let go with a high backhand shot that sailed over Kunzman with the game and tournament winner.

The Championship marks the second title in the last 3 years for GBN. Shots for the game were GBN 52 and Barrington 26.



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