Trevians win state championship – as does Glenbrook South (Girls) and AWF (Combined)
By Ross Forman
New Trier Green dominated Illinois high school hockey all season, so it was no surprise that the Trevians claimed yet another state championship.
The Trevians defeated Providence Catholic 4-2 on Friday, March 17, at the United Center in the top-tiered Red Division, ending one of the best seasons in local hockey history. New Trier finished 67-9 and didn’t lose to an Illinois high school team all season (49-0). The Trevians were the No. 1-ranked team all season and won their last 32 games.
Now it’s time to debate – with no concrete answer – as to where this season’s Green team ranks against some of Illinois’ best ever, which certainly include the Fremd dynasty of the early-1990s, the Glenbrook North teams of the mid-1980s and 2000s, the Fenwick powers of the early-2000, and certainly many of the past New Trier Green teams, among other powerhouse teams.
“This was a nice, fitting end (to the season),” said New Trier coach Bob Melton, who has won 12 state championships in 20 seasons leading Green. “This was one of the best teams I have ever coached.”
Green struck first on an upper-corner, power play goal late in the first period by senior Michael Graham, one of his two goals in the title game. New Trier pushed it to 2-0 about 3 minutes into the second period on a wristshot goal from senior Charlie Burton off a centering pass from senior Matt Mulhern.
Providence cut the score to 2-1 on one of the most bizarre plays. New Trier defenseman Gavin Randle was pressured by Celtics’ senior forward Mike Massaro with no New Trier goalie in the net as Providence was about to be whistled for a penalty. But the puck went off Randle’s stick into the net.
Massaro was credited with the unassisted goal.
“That was a special moment, one that I’ll remember forever. Unfortunately that’s not what I’ll remember most about this day,” Massaro said.
New Trier pushed its lead to 3-1 with 1:50 remaining in the second, but the Celtics made it 3-2 at 13:32 of the third on a Jake Vennetti goal (Jacob Rott, Jacob Lawler assists).
Green iced the win with :28 left to play on a Graham goal into an empty Celtics’ net.
“I didn’t think it was going in (the net); I shot it to ice it, but it curved and went in; I was so relieved,” Graham said. “We grew up watching the Blackhawks and the NHL players, but some of our biggest heroes as little kids were the guys who played for Green (years ago).”
Providence goalie Ryan Iaciancio made 37 saves, including 18 in the first period.
“They’re too big and too deep to take a period off,” Providence coach Nick Iaciancio said in reference to the first, when the Celtics only forced Green goalie Hayden Wieczorek to make 7 saves.
“You don’t need to play perfect (against Green), but you better be darn-near perfect.”
Green simply had the Celtics’ number this season, as could be said for Green and the rest of the state. The Trevians defeated Providence all five times they played this season.
“This (Green team) certainly ranks right up there with great teams of the past 15 or 20 years,” Iaciancio said. “Everyone knew (this season) they they’d be good; I don’t think anyone thought they’d be able to run the table like they did. But that’s a credit to them.”
The Celtics will lose 10 seniors, including Rott and Vennetti, as well as star goalie Iaciancio. But the Providence JV is loaded with talent.
“It’s tough,” knowing that the Celtics will lose goalie Iaciancio, Coach Iaciancio said. “But it’s been a great run. I couldn’t ask for anything more (from Ryan), who was a two-time All-State (honoree), a two-time (America’s) Showcase (selectee), two-time Kennedy Cup MVP … yeah, it’s been a pretty good career.”
Girls Glory For Glenbrook South
Caitlyn Schneider had one of those games that players can only dream about: 3 goals, 2 assists, 1 state championship.
Yep, it sure was a great way to go out for Schneider, a senior forward for the co-op Glenbrook South girls’ hockey team, which cruised past Loyola for the state championship, 7-3.
Glenbrook finished the season 22-1-2, while Loyola ends 18-5-3 – and the spotlight win for avenged Glenbrook’s only setback all season, a one-goal loss to Loyola.
Schneider (Glenbrook South), who will play at the University of Wisconsin next fall, finished the season with a team-leading 30 goals, 12 assists.
“(It) was pretty special, pretty great,” Schneider said of the state title victory. “To have everybody cheering for you, to have your picture up on the scoreboard is pretty exciting.”
Glenbrook built a 2-0 lead after the first period, and it was 4-1 after two. Valerie Caldwell had 2 of Loyola’s goals, both late in the third period.
Junior Hannah Jensen (Regina) also had a hat trick for the victors.
Glenbrook coach Steve Hamelin said, “This is something the girls will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Newcomers Claim Combined Division Title
AWF turned its debut on the United Center ice into a magical memory.
The Renegades – a mix of players from Addison Trail, Willowbrook, Montini and Fenton – cruised past Glenbard 4-1 to capture the Combined Division state championship, the club’s first state title.
“I just think we were ready, more prepared and just came out harder. We moved the puck well and just wanted it more, which ultimately is what it came down to,” said AWF senior defenseman and team captain Eric Molitor (Willowbrook).
Sam Smith gave AWF a 1-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the first period, assisted by Joe Simoncelli and Jacob Richardson.
Vinny Sansone scored for Glenbard at 9:43 of the second, smacking home a rebound on the power play, assisted by Michael McEllin and Ryan Newell, tying the game, 1-1.
Glenbard finished 33-17-4, while the Renegades ended 37-0-0-1.
Jacob Richardson scored the game-winner on the power play from the right side, smacking home the third period goal past a diving Glenbard goalie.
AWF iced the win with 4:45 remaining on Alex Wosilus’ tip in rebound goal.
“Scoring goals is always great, but doing it in a championship game … you can’t describe that,” said Wosilus, a senior (Willowbrook)
Jack Muccianti added AWF’s final tally in the final seconds.
Loyola Maroon hoisted hardware March 17 at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, cruising past Crystal Lake South, 6-1, for the state championship.
Maroon was led this season by junior forward Robert Gapp, who had 10 goals, 10 assists in 20 North-Central Division games, including a 4-point January game against D155 Prairie Ridge.
Sophomore forward Matt Schauwecker had a team-high 11 goals, and 9 assists.
Maroon was coached by Blake Sorensen, who formerly coached Latin School of Chicago.
Providence claimed the JV State Championship on March 16, defeating No. 1-seeded Loyola, 3-0, at The Edge.
The JV Celtics also this seasons defeated Fenwick 4-2 in a winner-takes-all Game 3 to win the 2017 DiCristina Cup, marking the seventh consecutive year that the Providence JV has won the title.
The team finished 41-13-2, and was 14-3-1 in the Chicago Catholic League, anchored by 25 goals from Tom Davis.
Maine JV 1 lived up to its No. 1 seed, stopping the surprising run of No. 11-seed BG/H/W in the state championship game on March 16 at The Edge.
Maine won, 4-0.
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.