New Trier Takes Holiday Hockey Classic Title
|New Trier Green was Illinois' last hope for a title in the annual Chicago Blackhawks Holiday Hockey Classic.
With three of four semifinal teams coming from neighboring states, the Trevians, arguably the best team in Illinois, came through with a 4-2 win over Chaminade (Mo.) in the title game at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville on Friday.
New Trier's title is the first for an Illinois team in five years. Senior forwards Matthew Giangreco and Kyle Brown paced New Trier (32-2-2) with a goal and two assists each.
"Last year we weren't able to win it and it's a big tournament. So it's kind of a big deal to win it," said Giangreco, who was named tournament MVP. "It feels great."
Matthew Lindblad and Connor Olvany also scored goals for New Trier, which jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first eight minutes. Goaltender Mark Ingram made 22 saves for the win.
"It's about time we get this back in Illinois," New Trier coach Bob Melton said. "There is a lot of good hockey in this state."
Chaminade, which advanced to the title by defeating Hamilton Southeast (Ind.) 4-1 in the morning semifinal and beat New Trier in pool-play, was led by Dan Gibson and Brett Gensier with a goal each.
Gibson's goal came with a two-man advantage and Gensier's found the net moments after the Trevians killed off a penalty. Netminder Ian Frenzel made 15 saves for the Red Devils (16-6-3).
"We are happy to get this far," Chaminade coach Jeff Babb said. "We were looking forward to this game, but we came out on the wrong end of it. We would like to go at them again."
New Trier advanced to the title by knocking off three-time defending champion Christian Brothers (Mo.) 4-1 in the semifinals.
Trailing 1-0, the Trevians scored four-straight goals for the win. Olvany and Lindblad each tallied a goal, and David Gustman had two goals, including an empty net score to ice it. Ingram made 21 saves for the win.
Tyler Svaboda recorded the lone goal for Christian Brothers (19-1-1), which suffered its first loss of the season.
"This is a great tournament. We look forward to it every year," Christian Brothers coach John Jost said. "We just lost to a hell of hockey team. It's tough to lose but we had a good run there. New Trier is a great team."
Melton is just happy to bring back some pride to Illinois hockey.
"Ice hockey (in Illinois) is just as good as any other states," Melton said. "It is important that Illinois teams win Illinois tournaments. ... We came up big today."