Fenwick’s comeback leads to Girls Hockey loss at UC

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Fenwick’s comeback leads to Girls Hockey loss at UC

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On March 22, NT girls hockey took on Fenwick High School in the state championship game and lost by a score of 3-2.

This year’s team had a number of strong players. One of them was Senior Maddie Babnik, who was named AHAI (Amateur Hockey Association Illinois) girls hockey player of the year. In the 2019 all-state game, NT girls hockey represented six players on the team.

Suffice to say, the girls were expected to make it as far as state.

The preparation was definitely not focused only on the day of the game, but “we prepared for the game all week by wearing spirit to school,” said senior goalie Abby Weizeorick.

Senior Sarah Herd explained, “We had team meals the night before and the morning of our game to further connect as a team and make sure we were all on the same page.”

As the warm-ups began, the United Center was packed with fans from NT. The girls continued with their normal routine, but the environment was different than any other game they played in their season.

“The energy was pretty ecstatic. Everybody really wanted to beat Fenwick,” explained Weizeorick.

“The atmosphere at the United Center was really exciting and everybody had a lot of energy before the game but did a good job of staying calm,” continued Herd.

This energy carried the team through the first period, with NT taking a commanding 2-0 lead.

However, because state is such an outstanding title to claim, Fenwick did not quit, and came back fired up to begin the second period.

“Fenwick then took that energy, gained momentum, and scored right into the first part of the second quarter,” explain Babnik.

No matter how equally skilled teams can be, an untimely penalty call can largely change the course of the game. Fenwick’s Ellie Kaiser scored to tie the game at two on a penalty shot.

“At this point we were tied and more nervous,” said Babnik.

Although the girls kept their effort and style of play well into the third period, they did take two more penalties. The opponents had five power plays, while NT only had three, which is a huge challenge for any team to defend against.

Fenwick took advantage, and Kaiser scored again to give the Friars the lead for good.

“They scored off of that and we never got the right bounce to score again to try to tie it,” explained Babnik.

Their initial lead did not scare off the Fenwick, a team that had already both defeated and lost to the Trevians this season.

Despite trailing early against the defending state champion Trevians, they remained unfazed.

“Fenwick always plays hard and they’re pretty relentless. Even when the game is going our way, they keep fighting and won’t back down,” said Herd.

Not only did the Friars come back strong, but they had a certain tactic they used to catch NT’s players off guard.

“They throw all of their players at you when you have the puck. This caused us to start rushing and forcing plays,” said Herd.

“They really like to battle hard and try to get in our heads,” continued Weizeorick.

While a lot of fans showed up to support NTGH, Fenwick had just as big of a fan section, which also helped pump them up when they were losing.

Although they did not claim the state title, the girls did reach their goal of making it back to the United Center.

“The whole experience was really memorable but the highlight was definitely getting to see the Blackhawks’ locker room before the game,” said Herd.

The girls season came to an end after this game, but even though it was a loss, the environment the girls got to play in was very memorable.

“Our season definitely had its ups and downs, but we had a really successful season together. I’m really proud of this team and this was one of our best seasons yet,” said Herd.

Through a long season ending in the opportunity to play in the United Center, there is clearly a lot to be missed at the end of it all.

“I’m going to miss my teammates the most,” concluded Herd. “It’s crazy to think about how I won’t be back with these girls next year.”

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