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GBN comes back again to top Loyola

By Gary Larsen, 11/03/22, 1:00PM CDT


11/02/22: GBN 6, LAG 5 (SO)

The best moment connected to scoring a game-winning shootout goal is no surprise.

“It’s awesome to look up and see all the boys coming off the bench at you,” Glenbrook North’s Ryan Sandler said. “There’s just no better feeling.”

Sandler netted in the fourth round of Wednesday’s shootout between host North and Loyola to give his side a 6-5 win. The teams locked horns in a pair of wild hockey games in a four-day span, with each team taking a turn scoring a goal in the final 30 seconds of regulation to send each game to overtime.

On Saturday it was Loyola’s Ryan Cowen scoring with 29 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game at 4-4, and four days later it was Glenbrook North’s Aidan Siegel scoring with only 16 seconds left in the third to tie the game at 5-5.

And both times, Glenbrook North went on to win the game. The Spartans overcame a two-goal deficit Saturday and a whopping three-goal deficit Wednesday, capping a pair of wild third-period comebacks.

“The guys in that locker room never stop fighting,” North forward Michael Dimoff said. “We love each other, it’s one of the closest groups I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s what’s going to lead to success for us. And that fight showed up in the third period today.”

Loyola’s third-period play has been a work-in-progress in the early season.

“We’ve really controlled games early on and dominated those first two periods,” Loyola coach Scott Ciraulo said. “But every team in this league is going to elevate their game in the third period, and we have to figure out a way to do that ourselves and exceed the compete level of whatever team we're playing. There's a mindset that winning teams have that we need to find.”

On its home ice, North rallied from a 5-2 deficit after two periods to ultimately tie the game on Siegel’s goal. A scoreless overtime set up a shootout, where Sandler’s fourth-round finish ended a crazy night of hockey in Northbrook.

Dimoff and Owen Just preceded Sandler and both buried their shootout chances.

“I watched both of our guys who scored before me,” Sandler said. “So I came up to the puck, started off right, and knew I was going to make a move forehand and then go backhand.”

North goaltender Michael Reyderman stopped two-of-four shots in the shootout to help set up Sandler’s game-winner.

Siegel and Dimoff scored two goals apiece and Jacob Smith scored once for North, while Loyola got goals from Will Steele, Charley Baine, Nathan Kadlec, Aidan Fischer, and Chris Sipe.

Dimoff also scored twice in Saturday’s 5-4 win, including the game-winner in overtime. He now has 11 goals in 9 SHL games.

“Michael Dimoff has been unbelievable all year,” North assistant coach Ben Stein said. “He's shown flashes of it both as a sophomore and a junior, and now I think he's showing that he's one of the best players in the state. And Siegel wears a letter for us for a reason, whether he’s scoring goals or not, he always brings it.”

Wednesday’s game featured Illinois’ fourth-ranked Glenbrook North (15-4-0, 7-2-0 in SHL play) against fifth-ranked Loyola (10-7-0, 4-2-0 plus 4 SHL losses in OT).

Loyola posted a 15-8 edge in shots in the first period, en route to a 39-26 edge in the game. The Ramblers posted a 27-15 edge in shots in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Spartans.

But it was Glenbrook North that drew first blood with a power-play goal on Wednesday when Siegel took a pass from Sandler in front of the Loyola net and buried it with 6:08 left in the period. Smith also assisted on the play.

Loyola answered with a Steele goal from the point at 4:38 to tie the game and went up 2-1 at the 2:04 mark when Baine cleaned up on a puck at the left-side post, with assists credited to Cole Joubert and Fischer. Kadlec made it 3-1 when his shot from the point slid its way underneath North goalie Nate Kasdan at the 1:03 mark.

Glenbrook North cut its deficit to 3-2 on the power play again, with 9:28 remaining in the second period, when Smith took a pass off the boards behind the net from Owen Just and stuffed it inside the par post.

It was North’s fifth power-play goal in four-and-a-half periods spanning two games against Loyola.

“Prior to Saturday’s game we couldn’t find much film on Glenbrook North so we didn’t know much about their power play,” Ciraulo said. “I thought that hurt us on Saturday but really, today for the most part I thought we were better structurally against it.”

Loyola answered less than 30 seconds later, going on the power play and making it 4-2 when Fischer one-timed a pass centered by Ryan Cowen at the 9:04 mark. North was whistled for another quick penalty and Loyola again capitalized, when Chris Sipe strolled in up the right side and roofed a shot to make it 5-2.

Kasdan has been exceptional in net for North this season but he then sat down and Reyderman took over between the pipes for the Spartans. Reyderman stopped all 15 shots he faced to the end of regulation and a five-minute overtime.

“Early, they were flying,” Dimoff said of Loyola. “They came really fast and seemed like they had seven guys in front of our net but (Kasdan) battled for us and then Michael Reyderman came in and was outstanding.”

North came back Saturday with a third-period barrage of goals, so with his squad trailing 5-2 at intermission on Wednesday, North coach Evan Poulakidas had a clear message for his troops.

“(Poulakidas) told us in the locker room that if we put one in, they’d start thinking about the last game,” Sandler said. “And our effort in the third was just awesome. There was no quit. It was just pure effort and will to win. We emphasize not being out-worked and in the first two periods we were being out-worked at every level.”

North heeded its coach’s call. Dimoff finished on a 2-on-1 rush at 11:54 of the third period, on a feed from the left side by Just, to cut the deficit to 5-3. Loyola’s two-goal lead held for nearly the next 10 minutes before North struck again.

With less than three minutes to play, Siegel won a face-off on North’s end and got the puck to Smith, who sent a long pass off the boards and found a streaking Dimoff, who raced behind the Loyola defense and beat Loyola goalie Brandin Haynie to make it 5-4, with 2:30 left to play.

“We just found a way, we never stopped. That's the biggest thing. We never stop,” Dimoff said.

Poulakidas pulled Reyderman in the final minute, prior to Siegel’s monumental goal to tie the game. Spearheading the play was Just, who spent most of the day setting up teammates with high-quality scoring chances.

Just took a puck to the net and Haynie made the stop, but Siegel located the rebound and backhanded it into net with just 16 seconds left to play.

Haynie has shined in net all year thus far, and there wasn’t much blame for him to shoulder after Wednesday’s loss.

“I wouldn't blame any of those five goals on Bradin,” Ciraulo said. “He’ll tell you he doesn't want to allow five goals in the game, but I don't I don't put any of those goals on him. It's more about team defense and team strategy and it really had nothing to do with him.”

A scoreless five-minute overtime period ensued, setting up the shootout. Baine scored the first shootout goal for Loyola but Just answered to send it to a second round. Reyderman stopped Cowen and Haynie stopped Genin to force a third round of shots. Sipe finished his attempt and Dimoff’s backhand score forced a fourth round that would ultimately decide the game.

Reyderman stopped Fischer’s forehand offering, setting up Sandler’s backhand game-winner.

“This was a massive win for us,” Dimoff said. “Beating Loyola twice in back-to-back games? That’s really big for us and it a hundred percent gives us even more confidence.

“Owen Just and Josh Genin have been really good for us, so have Jacob Smith and Conor Katsamakis, and both goalies — we’ll never stop fighting for Nate Kasdan and Michael Reyderman.”|

Ciraulo was quick to credit Glenbrook North for the grit the Spartans showed in winning on Saturday and Wednesday, and he made no excuses for his side’s recent struggles.

“We’ve been in four overtimes and we’ve lost all four, and we have to learn how to close out games in the third period,” Ciraulo said. “We as a coaching staff have to be better, too.”

Loyola has been playing without the injured Jack Levi “and that’s a big loss for us,” Ciraulo said. “He wins face-offs and plays a 200-foot game. So other guys need to step up. Charlie (Baine) is putting up points and he played very well and Chris Sipe is a defenseman who’s centering one of our top lines, and I thought that line produced all night. And Nathan Kadlec has become a really reliable defenseman for us.”

Ciraulo also applauded the play of the line featuring Jake Valadez, Julian Gabal, and Jake Holton, who showed Wednesday that they deserve ice time. It figures to be a different team at Loyola once current Loyola football players Mikey Baker and Garvin St. John return to the fold, and the Ramblers find chemistry over a long hockey season.

But the first order of business in Wilmette will be a focus on the final 17 minutes of games.

“These are really painful losses that we've had but the glass is half full,” Ciraulo said. “We’re taking really good teams into overtime without our full lineup. Our guys are for the most part stepping up. It's just getting them to close out games so we're not that far off. We’ve just got to figure out these third periods.”