BENSENVILLE -- A game’s first goal can change the way that game is played and in a state title game, it can make all the difference.
In a scoreless third period of Sunday’s AHAI JV state title game between Glenbrook North and York, North’s Jacob McDermott provided the game’s first goal and the difference thereafter was clear.
“When we got that goal, everything changed and momentum was on our side,” Glenbrook North forward Connor Steiner said. “And it just went up from there.”
North rode that momentum to a 2-0 win over York, with Steiner burying a late goal to clinch the Spartans’ state title. Mark Masarsky and Noah Wilson assisted on McDermott’s goal, and Masarsky also assisted on Steiner’s late goal.
Glenbrook North freshman goaltender Michael Reyderman earned the shutout. Reyderman showed all season and throughout the playoffs that for the next three years, he’s going to be a headache for opposing teams to solve.
“He’s special, to say the least,” Glenbrook North coach Jeff Marks said.
In the sixth game between the teams this season, York posted a 9-6 edge in shots in the first period. Michael Anderson and Ethan Coyte showed throughout the period why they led York in scoring this season, and forward Tyler Peiffle was prominent throughout.
York’s Nicholas Sanfillipo put the game’s first truly dangerous shot on net, skating up and firing on an odd-man break roughly five minutes into the game. Reyderman made the stop, then covered the rebound attempt to meet his first dangerous challenge of the day.
Glenbrook North’s Nathan Dynia nearly got to a puck that slid across the crease to a wide-open post on the left side, but York defenseman Daniel Costabile was there to clear the puck from the goalmouth.
Reyderman gloved a shot at 6:50 and stoned an attempted York wraparound shot and a Cole Maier shot from the high slot over the next minute of play. York spent the next three minutes applying solid pressure but a North defense led all year by Wilson and captain David Girchner met every challenge.
“Their energy was unmatched. They kept me in it,” Reyderman said. “The defense was good and kept it to low-danger shots and they stopped a lot of two-on-ones today.”
Through 15 minutes, Glenbrook North had weathered the York storm.
“(York) worked so hard,” Marks said. “But that’s a good team and they worked us hard all year long. We played them six times this year — four games were 3-2 and one was 2-1. We just had to keep grinding today. We came out a little sluggish but we had a good game plan and knew what we needed to do — we had to get to their ‘D’ and get pucks to the net.”
A half-minute into the second period, Reyderman made another exceptional stop. Reyderman made an initial stop on a Nicholas Sanfillipo shot from the right side, then dove to his right to deflect a prime follow-up opportunity taken by John Sanfillipo up and over the net.
“Our goalie is insane,” McDermott said after the game.
Reyderman stopped a Michael Anderson shot at 14:00 and a Nicholas Composono shot 30 seconds later as York kept the pressure on well into the second period. York had the game’s first power play with 7:05 remaining in the second period, but that advantage was quickly erased on a Dukes penalty called just 10 seconds later.
A few minutes of 4-on-4 hockey opened the game up to multiple dangerous scoring chances, the best one coming when York goalie Jack Maier stoned North’s Avi Schoenberg on a breakaway near the 5-minute mark.
Glenbrook North killed another penalty called at the 3-minute mark and the final minute played out to a scoreless draw through 30 minutes of hockey.
Reyderman made seven of his 16 saves in the second period, and Maier was equally strong on his end of the ice with seven saves, including an initial stop and a cover of a rebound shot with less than a minute remaining in the period. Maier finished with 22 saves on the day.
The worm turned for Glenbrook North in the third period, as the Spartans applied better attacking pressure through the first three minutes before McDermott finally broke the scoreless draw at the 11:26 mark, after he raced up the right side with a puck on his stick and scored for an unlikely 1-on-4 goal.
“I kind of chipped it past the defenseman and shot it through the defenseman that was playing one-on-one with me,” McDermott said. “I got it through the goalie and caught the goalie on his left side. I don’t think the goalie was able to see it. That got our team fired up. We were also down in our last game against (Glenbrook South) and then we scored and every shift after that was a hundred and ten percent.”
North defenseman Brady Henricksen made arguably the defensive play of the game just after McDermott scored, when he streaked back to deflect a shot from York’s Charlie Nahumyk after an initial deflection by Reyderman left the right side of the net wide open.
Maier made a fine stop of a Steiner shot near the 10-minute mark and McDermott broke in alone on Maier a minute later but couldn’t get a clean shot off.
GBN took another penalty with roughly seven minutes remaining, and York had a goal waved off near the six-minute mark. The teams battled until Steiner crashed net and buried a rebound shot that sealed the state title for Glenbrook North.
Despite having won the first five meetings against York, Glenbrook North took nothing for granted heading into their sixth and final meeting on Sunday.
“We had to come out thinking we’d never played this team before, that we didn’t beat them last time and it’s a brand new game,” Steiner said. “We can always lose. It’s never a guaranteed win and you can’t come out cocky. We had to play defense, play offense second, and that’s it.”
Sunday ended a fine season for York, which went 22-2-0 with 3 overtime losses during the SHL regular season, went 4-3 in the league playoffs, and 2-1 in state tournament play to finish the year at 28-9-0.
York won 4-1 over Naperville North to open state tournament play, then won 1-0 over Saint Ignatius to reach the semifinals, where the Dukes won 3-2 over New Trier on a Coyte goal in overtime.
The Dukes left Bensenville forced to reckon with what might have been.
“We played well for two periods,” York coach Brian Finnerty said. “It was pretty typical, it was up-and-down, and GBN is opportunistic. We got a bad break on that (first) goal and their goalie has been good all year. I told (Marks) he was their best player. And it’s a tough way to end but you’ve got to score to win the game.”
“Our varsity team is losing thirteen guys so we’ll probably lose eight or nine guys from this team, and this is probably our most talented group to come through. They’ll just have to find the work ethic that gets them to that next level.
“Mikey Anderson was our heart-and-soul, our goalie Jack Maier was solid all year, and a lot of guys came on strong. We had some injuries late in the year but the guys put in as much as they could. We’ve got a good pipeline and we’ve got a good ’07 and ’08 group that’s coming up. So we’ve got a good foundation here for the next couple of years and hopefully we’ll be back here soon.”
GBN went 25-1-0 with one OT loss during the SHL regular season and then swept their best-of-three playoff series against Barrington and Glenbrook South before winning two games to one over York in the SHL JV finals.
Three straight wins in the state finals put GBN’s record at 34-2-0 for the season.
Glenbrook North won 5-0 over St. Rita and 3-2 in overtime against Prep to reach the semifinals, then won 2-1 over Glenbrook South in a comeback win, with Schoenberg striking twice in the win to reach the state title game.
“Connor Steiner, Avi Schoenberg, Adrian Ayzenberg, Noah Wilson — too many guys to name,” Marks said when asked who stood out for his Spartans. “And (Reyderman) has been ridiculous this season.”