By Gary Larsen
If the annual holiday showdown between Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South could be boiled down to three words, South goalie Connor Wall (pictured left with GBN’s Tim Burke looking for a shot) picked three pretty good ones, “Energy, adrenaline, and noise,” Wall said.
Played to a packed house at the Glenview Ice Center on the night before Thanksgiving, this year’s incarnation of the rivalry game met the standard.
In front of a horde of students donning North’s green and gold on one side, and a mob of students donning South’s navy and gold on the other, North won 5-2 over South in this year’s heated contest.
Glenbrook South came out fast, testing North goalie Brennan Nein repeatedly in the opening minutes. Forward Hunter Niemann found several shots in front but Nein made every stop.
“We had a good ten minutes,” South coach Jim Philbin said. “We came out the way we wanted to come but we needed to capitalize.”
North, meanwhile, opened play on its heels.
“Brennan was great early on,” North coach Evan Poulakidas said, “and we were skating in quicksand.”
The tide turned when North went on the power play and Casey Miller scored off a David Wilcox assist. North’s fourth line — featuring Alex Adler, Michael Rabkin, and Matt Glowacki — keyed North’s turnaround.
Mikey Day gave North a 2-0 lead on a feed from Jonathan Ovnanyan in the first period, and Matt Dahlke made it 3-0 mid-way through the second with a shorthanded goal, his team-leading 21st goal of the season.
If a hockey stick could spontaneously combust, the one that Dahlke has been using might go up in flames.
“We kid him that we don’t want anyone touching his stick because he’s so hot right now,” Poulakidas said. “Every time he touches the puck, it ends up in the net.”
In a ten-game stretch including the win over Glenbrook South, Dahlke scored hat-tricks against St. Rita and St. Viator, and had two goals against both Culver Academy and New Trier Blue.
That’s 10 goals in 10 games and Dahlke is just enjoying the ride.
“I switched sticks about ten games ago and ever since then it’s been a huge year for me,” Dahlke said. “I’m just feeling it lately. I don’t know. Once it started I just kept working hard and it kept coming and coming.”
Nicolas Botvinnik gave South its first goal on an assist from Daniel McKay to make it 3-1 in the second period, but North went up 4-1 before the period ended on a Charlie Slovis goal off a feed from Alex Kim.
North’s Tim Burke made it 5-1 in the third period on Wilcox’s second assist of the night, and South’s Joseph Young assisted on Gavin Miller’s goal to end the game’s scoring.
Philbin has a young team featuring four new defensemen, but he’s been happy with the goaltending of the junior Wall and sophomore Jeff Keating as his defense finds its way.
“We’re real young but I like that we’re hungry,” Philbin said. “The team didn’t give up at all tonight. They stay together, they don’t complain or feel sorry for themselves. Now we need to take it to the next level and find consistency.”
Junior captain Theo Papalas agreed. “We’ve played with each other for a while so it’s more just a matter of confidence on ‘D’ and it’s not just our defense,” Papalas said. “It’s also our forwards helping out. We haven’t been back-tracking enough.
“But we came together last year and I’m predicting that will happen again this year. I love this team and we’ll figure it out.”
The game’s waning moments saw tempers flare slightly, but such is the nature of a heated, emotional rivalry in front of an estimated 2,500-plus fans.
“It’s the best,” Dahlke said. “Having siblings here, ex-players come home from college, old teammates — it really does mean a lot to us every year. There’s nothing like it.”
New Trier Green wins Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament crown
Loyola Academy’s 47th Annual O’Grady Thanksgiving Tournament concluded on Sunday, Nov. 25, with New Trier Green winning 3-1 over host Loyola Gold.
A Declan Darcy goal gave Loyola a 1-0 lead in the second period but New Trier’s Patrick Chang tied the game with a power play goal in the period, on a feed from Brian Dolby.
Goals by New Trier’s John Kane and Henry Freedman in the third period secured the win for the Trevians.
Unbeaten New Trier earned a 27-16 edge in shots for the game. Through 26 games leading up to the tournament, New Trier Green had five players with at least 14 goals apiece, in Dylan Kochman (15), Mark Ashmore (14), Bobby Soudan (15), JT Travis (19), and Ryan Gallagher (20).
Goalies Reger and Preston Watt also each had 13-0 records in net through 26 games.