By Gary Larson
There are games that every team circles on its calendar and for Stevenson, Oct. 3, 2018 was one of those games.
“It was something we looked forward to all summer, considering what happened at the United Center last year,” Stevenson senior defenseman Sam Shellist said.
Shellist, of course, was referring to last season’s state title game at the UC, when Loyola Gold won 4-2 over Stevenson to capture the crown.
The Scholastic Hockey League rematch on Oct. 3 was a good one, with Stevenson winning 3-2 in overtime.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” Shellist said. “It was a good experience for all the kids in the locker room to see that we can do it, if we come together as a team and work hard.
“The whole thing was a blur. But it was a lot of fun. Just to go out there and stay with them, and skate with them, and prove that we can was really awesome.”
Loyola took a 1-0 lead in the second period on an Eamon O’Brien goal off a feed from Cole Corrigan, and Stevenson’s Bill Kopka tied the game early in the third period on a Daniel Romm assist. O’Brien fed AJ Cornelison to put the Ramblers back up 2-1 but with less than six minutes remaining in the game, Stevenson got another game-tying goal from Josh Wright, on a feed from Adam Offenbach.
Romm netted the game-winning goal in overtime. Goalie Jeremy Riback also made 29 saves in the win as Loyola out-shot Stevenson 31-22.
“They’re still as good as there is out there,” Stevenson coach Tom Wood said of Loyola. “They’ll be right up there again this year. They played in a tournament that weekend and we played in a tournament the previous weekend, so I think we caught them a little off guard.”
Stevenson graduated 10 varsity seniors and 300 points from last year’s state runner-up team but Wood figured he’d have another competitive side ready to compete in the always-formidable SHL.
“I knew we still had a really good core, we picked up a couple guys from our club team, and the top scoring line from the state championship JV team last year,” Wood said. “Our defense is much-improved since last year and we have a lot of depth. Last year our scoring came mainly from our top two lines but this year we can score with all four lines. We can get scoring from all over.”
Barrington also won an overtime game on Oct. 3, 3-2 over New Trier Blue. New Trier led 2-1 through one period on goals from Tyler Clarke and Sothio Suzue-Pan, with Barrington’s CJ Parisi scoring a short-handed goal in the period. Barrington tied the game in the third period on a Nicholas Nehf goal and won it thanks to a Jack Jones goal in overtime. Matthew Tiles assisted on Nehf’s goal, and New Trier also got assists from Whitton Gardiner and Henry Pigott.