Turkey, stuffing and plenty of local high school hockey for Thanksgiving

By Ross Forman

Don’t eat too much pumpkin pie, there’s plenty of high school hockey happening locally over the Thanksgiving break.

The annual Stevenson Thanksgiving Tournament officially kicks off on Monday, Nov. 20, when BG/H/W battles the Skokie U18 midget team, with the puck set to drop at 7:25 p.m., at Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove.

BG/H/W will be back in action on Tuesday, facing off against Libertyville.

Come Friday, the action really heats up, as this year’s 16-team tournament also features Neuqua Valley, Naperville Central, Lyons Township, Lake Forest Gold and New Trier Blue, among others.

Based on the playoff format, I’m predicting the semifinals as:

Stevenson 6
New Trier Blue 1

BG/H/W 4
Glenbard 3

So, the finals will pit the host Patriots against the talented co-op Stampede. Senior Connor Kelly will score twice for BG/H/W, but it won’t be enough, as Stevenson will prevail, 5-3. Adam Offenbach will score the game-winning goal for Stevenson.

Meanwhile, the 46th annual Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament will feature its traditional 16-team field in Wilmette, along with a separate 8-team tournament. The Varsity 1 lineup features many of the elite Illinois teams, such as New Trier Green, Glenbrook North, Benet Academy, Providence Catholic and St. Viator, among others.

Based on the playoff format, I’m predicting the semifinals as:

New Trier Green 5
Providence Catholic 3

Loyola Gold 5
Glenbrook North 2

So it’ll be the classic Green vs. Gold battle for the title. It’s been decades since the host Ramblers last won their own tourney, but I see 2017 as their year. Loyola will defeat Green, 4-3, thanks to a two-goal game from forward Robbie Gapp.

In the Varsity 2 field of the Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament, Loyola Maroon will skate along with Deerfield, Lane Tech, Mt. Carmel and Sandburg, among others.

The finals of the Varsity 2 Tournament, according to my crystal ball, will pit Mt. Carmel against Sandburg, with Joey Gigliotti scoring the game-winning goal for the Eagles, 5-4 in overtime.

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.

Categories: High School, Illinois Hockey, Ross Forman's High School Hockey

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