By Ross Forman
New Trier Green jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead over Glenbrook South when the teams battled Oct. 10 in a Scholastic League game played in Wilmette, and it was 3-0 at 11:35 of the second period when Robert Soudan tallied for the Trevians off an assist from John Robinson.
The Titans didn’t cave. In fact, they came to life, scoring three goals in a seven-minute span of the second period to tie the game, 3-3. Colin Garrett, Joseph Young and John Radler each scored for the Titans.
It stayed tied through the end of regulation-time.
Benjamin Thomas ultimately scored the overtime game-winner – for the Titans.
Yep, GBS upset the season-opening No. 1-ranked Trevians.
“We’ve had a good start this year, reaching the semifinal in a preseason tournament, and also playing well during our exhibition season. We then started the regular-season with road wins over New Trier Green and York, and a loss to Loyola Gold,” said GBS head coach Jim Philbin, in his 30th season coaching, his 28th year coaching in the local high school ranks – all at Glenbrook South.
Philbin, 52, who lives in Glenview, also coaches the Glenview Stars Squirts.
His South varsity assistants are Mike DiMaggio and Rob Mesnner.
DiMaggio skated for South on the school’s 2006 State Championship team and even played for Philbin as a Dynamite in Glenview. Philbin and DiMaggio also coach the Stars. Mesnner is in his third season with GBS and also coaches mites and girls teams with the Glenview Stars.
“We graduated 13 players from last year’s team and this year’s team consists of half seniors and half sophomores with one junior. We had a lot of experience last year and that filtered down to the remaining seven returning players, which has prepared them for this year,” Philbin said. “We had a lot of injuries last year and played only one game the entire year with a full roster. We really grew and played better as a team and as the season went on, we had some very good success, especially during the second half of the season.”
This Titan team brings speed, lots of it.
South’s key returners include forwards Thomas Lundal, Dylan Stevens and Ben Thomas, along with Colin Garrett and Patrick Dillon. Plus, defensemen Connor Monagan, Kyle Boland and Brian O’Connor are back, too. And goalie Nic Koster is back.
“We added a number of players this year starting in net (with) senior Jamie Dziurdzik, defensemen Amjad Abu-Hashim (senior), Stephan Bendewald (junior) and Max Ibarra (sophomore).
Forwards Jack Radler and Konrad Wujlowski, both seniors, have been impact players so far, along with sophomores Theo Papalas, Nick Botvinnik, Joe Young, Daniel McKay and Jack Pryzbylo.
“The offense has a lot of upside this year with a well balance of four lines that will be able to compete with every team in our league. We have some good speed and skill and if we work hard as a team and stay out of the penalty box, we should have great success offensively,” Philbin said.
“Our defensemen work very hard and control the puck well in our (defensive) zone, which will enable us to move the puck out (of the zone).
“Both of our goaltenders are seniors and bring a lot of experience to the team. We can play either one of them and have great success.”
Philbin predicted success for the South special-team units (penalty-kill, powerplay) “due to our skill and speed,” he said. “Hopefully we stay out of the penalty box so we’re not killing a lot of penalties.”
Especially in the highly-competitive Scholastic League.
“Our league is very competitive year in and year out, and this year I think it’s the most competitive. (The) teams in our league are well balanced and good. Every (league) game has a playoff atmosphere because any team can win on any given night and you have to be prepared for a battle every night. You can’t take a shift off because that shift could be the difference-maker in a game.
“All of our (league) games are big this season.”
NOTE: Glenbrook South plays host to strong-starting St. Rita on Wednesday night, Oct. 25, in Glenview.
**All photos printed with permission from Alex Botvinnik**
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.