BG/H/W wins first-ever state title; Jack Raith scores 4 as New Trier Green wins; Loyola stops No. 1-seed Barrington for girls’ crown
By Ross Forman
Jack Raith had one of those games Friday, March 18 at the United Center that players can only dream about. In fact, his play for New Trier Green was better than even he could have imagined.
“For him to score 4 goals like that was remarkable. It was the best single-person performance I’ve seen in a state championship game,” said New Trier coach Bob Melton, who watched his Raith-led Trevians captured the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship (Red Division) over Providence Catholic, 5-2.
The title is the 11th in Melton’s 19-year career at New Trier.
“This is better than I thought it would be,” said Raith, a junior who finished the season with 38 goals, 34 assists as the Trevians ended 54-10-1.
“It’s amazing … you don’t even dream about a game like this.”
Providence, seeking its first-ever state title, finished 56-11-1.
Raith skates alongside fellow juniors Matt Mulhern and Charlie Burton, and Mulhern tallied the Trevians’ other goal.
“(Raith’s) line has really been clicking late in the year and what I really like about this line is, they are so unselfish. They don’t care who scores, and it shows,” Melton said.
Junior Jake Vennetti and senior Gant Orloff each scored for the Celtics, who held a 2-1 lead after the first period.
New Trier made it 3-2 after 2 and Raith iced the victory in the third.
“Every (state championship) is just as exciting as the previous one. The excitement is not waning at all,” Melton said. “It’s a new challenge, a new bunch of players every year, especially this year. From a coaching standpoint, I think this title was very rewarding.”
GIRLS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Loyola hoisted the state championship trophy for the first time since 2004, avenging state championship game losses the past two seasons.
No. 2-seeded Loyola used two goals each from sophomore Anne Bloomer and junior Tess Dettling to defeat the No. 1-seeded Barrington Fillies, 5-3.
Co-op Barrington finished 23-4-2.
“It was a tough loss, but, we didn’t come out to play the way we should have, didn’t shoot like we should have, didn’t charge their goalie like we should have,” said Barrington head coach Rob Renner. “They looked a little calmer, like they were having more fun; we looked overwhelmed at times.”
Loyola scored less than five minutes into the first period on a power play tally by Dettling, beating sophomore goalie Eryn Cooley (28 saves) on a rebound. Dettling scored again with 7:08 remaining.
Bloomer grabbed the game’s MVP Award, along with team’s third and fourth goals, and an assist on freshman Valerie Caldwell’s second period shorthanded goal at 9:12.
Loyola finished 19-3-5.
“We asked the girls to play a very specific style of hockey in this game, knowing how much skill and talent the other team has. Everyone had specific jobs, and they committed to it as a team,” said Loyola coach Conor Sedam. “We knew we had more players and one of the things we wanted to do was, wear them down.”
BG/H/W needed a few extra minutes to secure its first-ever Illinois High School State Championship (Combined Division), but it was worth the wait.
Will Busby’s scored the biggest goal of his career as the Stampede – a mix of players from Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Wheeling – defeated co-op Glenbard 3-2 in overtime.
BG/H/W finished 33-17-5, while Glenbard ended 27-22.
Freshman Eric Kurpiewski (Hersey) broke the ice with a backhanded goal early in the third period. Glenbard answered 4 minutes later, when junior Blake Graham scored on an assist from Jacob Riscossa. Glenbard then went ahead, 2-1, on a shorthanded tally by sophomore Vincent Sansone, assisted by junior Danny DeGrado, with 3:25 remaining.
The Stampede tied the score with 1:03 remaining in regulation time on a goal by junior Spiro Maglaris, assisted by Tanner Holfeld and senior Danny Kurgan.
Then Busby delivered.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said amid the jubilation. “To finish the game like that is incredible.”
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 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 by email at Rossco814@aol.com.