By Christopher Waters
BGHW followed up on its IHSHL North Central regular season conference championship and post-season conference tournament championship with a mind-blowing run in the Illinois State High School Hockey Championship. The Stampede defeated the Kings and two of the top teams from the IHSHL Hayes-Suburban League, Leyden (East Leyden, West Leyden, Elmwood Park, and Ridgewood) and AWFM (Addison, Willowbrook, Fenton, and Montini Catholic) to reach the state championship game at the United Center, outscoring their opponents 14-2 in the process.
On the evening of Saturday, March 24th, BGHW continued their dominance – this time with a victory over a tough Warriors team (Waubonsie Valley and Metea Valley) from the IHSHL Illinois West Division. Brendan Buckley scored four goals and Connor Kelly had a goal and four assists in the 7-2 victory over the combined team from Waubonsie/Metea Valley. BGHW came out flat in the first period against the Warriors, but hung on for a 1-0 lead at the intermission.
Between periods the Stampede coaches emphasized playing within the system and leaving it all on the ice. The players responded with 4 goals and a 5-1 lead going into the third period.
The third period started with BGHW in the penalty box and Waubonsie getting some momentum going with a power play goal. However, the Stampede fired back with two more goals and some big saves by sophomore goalie Evan Wurzbacher to clinch the win at the United Center in front of their fans. This was the second state championship in three years for BGHW, and the 5th time in 6 years the IHSHL North Central Division has been represented at the United Center in the varsity combined division!
The IHSHL North Central Division also had two teams in the semi-finals of the White Division State Championships, New Trier Gray and Fox Valley Grey. Fox Valley lost in the semis to the eventual champions Marmion Academy, while New Trier triumphed over Lake Park 3-2. The championship game was an overtime thriller with Marmion clinching a 2-1 win at the Edge in Bensenville.
In the JV combined PREP Black would advance to the semi-finals with strong wins over Lincoln Way and Libertyville before losing to Glenbard 1-0.