By Ross Forman – Joshua Llaneta scored that one goal Saturday, Nov. 23 that he will never forget.
It was, after all, one of the quickest goals in Illinois high school hockey history.
Llaneta, a sophomore JV forward for the co-op DuPage Stars, scored about 6.36 seconds into a Stars White Team game against Neuqua Valley JV2, as timed off the LiveBarn feed.
“Our center tied up his man during faceoff and the puck slid towards me, giving me the chance to take it and quickly skate into Neuqua’s zone,” said Llaneta, who lives in Woodridge and attends Downers Grove North High School. “I crossed the blue line and chipped the puck through one of the opposing defender’s legs. I then split and got behind the two defenders, took the puck on my backhand and shot at the far post.”
“I was thrilled and started laughing as I celebrated with my teammates. I was shocked and surprised because the game had just started,” he said. “I honestly couldn’t believe it.
“This (goal) is right up there with my 5-goal game (on Nov. 9) against Naperville Central. We were down 4-1 in that game and came back to win 8-7 in a shootout.”
DuPage, though, lost to Neuqua, falling 5-4 in overtime in Darien.
Llaneta is in his second season skating for the Stars. He wears jersey No. 12. “My dad picked (No. 12) for me because I’m small, just like Alex DeBrincat who (also) wears No. 12 for the Chicago Blackhawks, though my dad teases me that it’s (actually) because I’m half (the size) of my twin brother and teammate, Tyler, who wears No. 24.”
Joshua Llaneta is a right-handed shooting forward who previously skated for the Naperville Sabres.
“It has been a rough start for us this season, but there is a lot of hockey left. We just need to keep practicing and playing hard,” said Llaneta, who is a quick, fast and aggressive player.
DuPage stands at 5-7 in the Hayes-Suburban League JV division.
Slapshots With … Joshua Llaneta
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Alex DeBrincat
Favorite Sport (other than hockey): Wrestling
Favorite Pro Athlete: Floyd Mayweather
Favorite app: Snapchat
Favorite TV Show: Hawaii Five-O
Favorite Pregame Meal: McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, with a large frozen Coke.
Celebrity You’d Most Like to Meet: DaBaby
Best Hockey Tip: “Speed kills, so use it.” – Coach Chris Chelios, of C2 Hockey; he also is a Sabres coach.
Teammate Who Could Be a Coach: George Manolis – “He’s smart and when we’re struggling, he’s always there to encourage us.”
Hardest Slapshot: Jaden Salverredy
Most Accurate Shot: Max Ein
One Pregame Motivational Song: Killing Me Slowly by Bad Wolves
Favorite Sports Movie: Miracle on Ice
The 2020 Stanley Cup Will Be: New York Islanders
Best High School Jerseys (other than DuPage): Neuqua Valley
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.