By Ross Forman
The York JV team had a 3-0 lead over Glenbrook North in Northbrook last December. The Spartans came alive in the third period with four goals and grabbed the W.
It might have been the most memorable moment for the Spartans in a season filled with memories.
And it’s not over yet for the GBN JV. They are the No. 1-seeded team in the state tournament, and now await either Naperville North or Lyons Township for a state game on March 1, starting at 6:40 p.m. at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville.
“This season has really been fun,” said GBN junior right wing Michael Matz. “We have a very skilled, fast team. I think everyone has found their role, so we are starting to play more like a team. We have a very young group, so I thought it was really cool to see some of the younger guys like Lev Vaynberg-Movchan and Michael Swift to name a few, develop and grow as players. Also, players like Jaden Andrews, Alex Link, and Jack Wolff bring a lot of energy and add some grit to our team. I really think this group has a chance at bringing home a state championship.”
Matz, 16, a Northbrook resident, played last season for the GBN JV, too. He shoots right-handed and previously skated for the Northbrook Bluehawks.
“I consider myself more of a goal-scorer,” said Matz, who netted a team-leading 36 goals, 28 assists in 53 games, including a 4-goal game last October in a 5-3 win over Loyola. “I think I have a quick release, shot so it’s hard for goalies and defensemen to react. Also, I’m strong in front of the net, which lets me get the rebound goals. But I give most of the credit to my linemates, Jaden Andrews and Jack Wolff. Our line just has good chemistry; we always know where we are going to be on the ice.”
GBN JV assistant coach Mike Silenzi said Matz is a leader on and off the ice, and a great student. “Michael was one of the top three point leaders in the Scholastic Hockey League. He anchors our powerplay, which was tops in the league. Michael is a great young man, always smiling. He will be a great asset to GBN varsity next season.”
Slapshots with Michael Matz
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Players: Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews
Favorite Sport (other than hockey): Basketball
Favorite Pro Athlete: Michael Phelps
Favorite app: Snapchat
Favorite TV show: The Office
Favorite Pregame meal: Pasta with Marinara sauce
Best Hockey Tip: “Always work hard in games. You never want to have any regrets.” – GBN JV Assistant Coach Mike Silenzi
Teammate Who Could Be A Coach Someday: Jordan Fliegel
Hardest Slapshot on GBN JV: Jake Farrell
Most Accurate Shot on GBN JV: Robert Sasaki
Fastest Skater on GBN JV: Jack Hardesty
One Pregame Motivational Song: I’m a Boss by Meek Mill and Rick Ross
Favorite Sports Movie: Miracle on Ice
The 2019 Stanley Cup Champion Will Be: Tampa Bay Lightning
Best High School Jersey (other than GBN): Stevenson
Worst High School Jersey: Glenbrook South
Jersey Number: “I wear 34 because of Auston Matthews. He’s one of my favorite players and I think I play like him.”
The 2018-19 Season: “It has been very rewarding. I was honored to be named the captain and I feel that I was able to contribute in the offensive zone for the team.”
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.