Darcie Kim

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New Trier Boys’ Varsity Green Hockey beat Providence Catholic High School 4-2 on Friday, Mar. 17 at the United Center, bringing home the state championship for the second year in a row.

Senior Michael Graham started the game off strong for New Trier when he scored on a power play after Kyle Retondo slid him the puck in the top right slot.

The second goal was a back door pass from Matt Mulhern to Charlie Burton who buried the loose puck in front of the net to give New Trier a 2-0 lead.

Gavin Randle then scored an own goal on a delayed penalty when New Trier’s goalie Hayden Wieczorek was out of the net, making the score 2-1.

John Robinson scored on a wrist shot from the slot from an assist from Mike Graham at the end of the second period to bring the score to 3-1.

The third period proved to be trickier for New Trier when Providence scored off of a rush to make the score 3-2.

“The third period we were getting pressured heavily and almost gave up the lead a few times,” said Senior Jack Raith.

However, in the last 27 seconds of the game, Graham scored an empty netter with an assist from Raith to seal the game at 4-2.

Despite the winning score, there were a few obstacles the team had to overcome to bring home the state title.

“Tommy Cahill was injured in the second period and couldn’t finish the game, but everyone stepped up big when he went down,” said Raith

While the team brought passion to the game, they still had a calculated strategy to defeat their opponent.

Throughout the beginning and the middle of game, the team focused on having a strong offense that would consistently take shots on net.

“Our thought process was attack at all times and try and get as many chances and shots as possible,” said Raith.

However, towards the final minutes of the game, the team’s purpose was to maintain their lead and seal the state title.

“At the end of the game we just had the mentality to get the puck out of the zone and to hold the lead. We knew we could hold them off, and our team defense was awesome,” said Mulhern.

While the team was confident they would win the game, they nonetheless felt the pressure in the third period when their lead was only a goal.

“We never doubted our ability to win, but when Providence scored to make it 3-2, we realized that it was a game again, and that we were going to have to shut the door defensively. It was a close game with a lot of scoring chances, but our defense shut the door after their second goal. We all bought in an grinded out the win,” said Mulhern

Cahill echoed his teammates concerns about the tight score towards the end of the game.

“There was never a point that I had any doubts, but it was getting a little too close at the end of the game.”

This win marked the end of a terrific season for the team, with a record of 67-9.

Green won the Nike Bauer Invitational Tournament, Chicago Showcase, Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament, Hoosier Cup, SHL President’s Cup, and the coveted state championship. The team did not lose to a single school in the state of Illinois.

According to the New Trier hockey website, team manager Brad Burton said, “With a 67-9 overall record and no losses to any Illinois team, this will go down as one of the best seasons ever for an Illinois hockey team.”

For some, this game was the highlight of their high school hockey experience.

“I wasn’t on the team last year so winning state this year made my hockey career,” Cahill said.

The game will be a bittersweet memory for many of the players, as the victory symbolized more than just a state game. Instead, it represented the conclusion of some high school careers and team memories.

  “I’m sad it’s over but I had so much fun over the years, especially this year. I’ll never forget these guys or what we accomplished. These guys are some of my best friends and I’m privileged to be able to say that I’ve gotten to play with all of them,” Mulhern said.

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