New Trier Green crushes Benet 8-2

Darcie Kim

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On Mon., Mar. 13, the New Trier Boys’ Varsity Green Hockey Team skated to victory against opponent Benet Academy, shutting them out 8-2 to advance to the state championships.

The game took place at the Edge Ice Arena, with standout performances from seniors Charlie Burton and Tommy Cahill, who scored a combined five goals throughout the game.

The team entered the game against Benet with a strong 65-9 record from the rest of the season. On Tues., Mar. 7, they beat the Stevenson Patriots 4-0, a game that gave them confidence going into the semifinals.

Despite a slow start to Tuesday’s game, New Trier’s offense picked up the pace in the second period, with senior captain Charlie Burton scoring the first goal of the game with 16:41 left. Teammate and captain Tommy Cahill then took advantage of a power play towards the end of the period with 7:53 left.

“There was a pass to me in front of the net, and I tried to shoot but the goalie made a save and I just poked it in on the rebound,” said Cahill.

Cahill also put in the third goal in the third period with 6:53 left. He received a pass at the top of the slot from Johnny Hubert and scored.

RJ Meyer scored the final goal of the game in the third with 1:20 left.

The team’s defense was able to maintain that lead, and goalie Hayden Wieczorek saved 20 shots throughout the game.

“In the second and third periods we came out strong and scored a few goals,” said senior captain Jack Raith. Cahill agreed, “We started off slow but then came out buzzing.”

Despite winning their second game in the state tournament, head coach Bob Melton mentioned areas that still need to be improved. Although Cahill scored on a power play, he stressed the overall team’s inability to capitalize on power plays throughout the game.

“We struggled on the power play, which will be key to any success we have moving forward, and it has to get better,” said Melton.

While Raith credited the victory against Stevenson to the strong offense. Cahill believed that the win in this game was due to the impenetrable defensive zone. However, the strongest aspect of the team this year is the aggressive offensive lines.

“We’re a high-powered offense when we’re clicking on all cylinders,” said Melton.

A clear consensus among the coaches and players is that the offensive output was the defining aspect of the team. Raith said that in past years while only a couple players could score the majority of the goals, this year they have five or six people who can consistently get the puck in the goal.

Cahill also added that the team has been able to perform well under pressure and can count on a few individuals to score when they really need a goal.

“Our offense is the defining quality of our team. We’re able to just suffocate teams by keeping them in their own zone. That allows us to control the pace of the game, and we can just jump all over them. All of our lines can score, and we’ve got some amazing individual players too,” said senior caption Matt Mulhern.

The team season record is 66-9 after Monday’s game.

They haven’t lost to a high school team in Illinois at this point in the season, and the overwhelming success can be attributed to the camaraderie and relationships between the boys on the team.

“Everyone’s been on the team at least with someone else in the last four years, and it’s a seven month season so we’ve been together for a while.” said Raith.

The team also has a competitive drive that shows in their determination to repeat as state champions.

“I think everyone understands that we don’t accept losing, so that winning mentality is something that we all have,” said Mulhern.

While the players recognize that they can’t go into the upcoming games with an overconfident attitude, they are also aware that they are the top seed in the tournament and the favorites to bring home the cup.

“If we play how we’ve been playing all year against these teams, then no one is going to get in our way,” said Cahill.

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