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GBS blanks New Trier 3-0

By Gary Larsen, 12/15/22, 11:45AM CST


12/14/22: GBS 3, NTG 0

It was Jason Ban to Kacper Wojdyla and then Wojdyla to Ban, and just like that Glenbrook South had secured a win at New Trier on a Wednesday night in Winnetka.

Stacked on top of Wyatt Sherwood’s goal scored in the waning seconds of the second period, Ban and Wojdyla goals in the final five minutes of the game gave South a 3-0 win and left South’s players in a jovial mood.

Ranked third in Illinois and currently sitting second in the SHL standings, Glenbrook South (28-6-2, 14-3 in SHL play) beat top-ranked and league-leading New Trier (35-6-2, 16-4) for the first time this season.

New Trier won 3-2 on an Aleks Cheris overtime goal back on Oct. 26.

“It’s great team win and a great feeling,” Ban said. “It’s an honor to beat them here with these boys. We worked really hard and came close to beating them last time, and the time before that in the preseason tournament.”

Before any scoring occurred, South coach Jim Philbin’s team withstood a heavy dose of attacking pressure to start the game from New Trier.

The Trevians came out flying, but South kept them out of net for a harried first six minutes of play as New Trier posted a 10-2 edge in shots in the first period.

With Butler Chessen recently re-inserted into New Trier’s lineup after a long injury absence this season, and players like Landon Douthit, Aleks Cheris, Tyler Smith, Henry Miller, Kitchel Snow, and Brendan Heneghan already accounting for 45 SHL goals so far this season, New Trier’s offense can be a multi-headed monster.

“They’ve got speed, they’ve all got hands, they’ve all got shots — really, we just did a good job of keeping them wide all night,” Glenbrook South defenseman Owen Almburg said. “We didn’t really let them come back to the middle, and their shots weren’t really getting through. When they did we had bodies in front, we cleared them out, and then (goaltender Luke) Winger is our backbone.”

New Trier coach Adam Cheris liked the way his boys started.

“I thought we played outstanding in the first ten minutes of the game,” Cheris said. “We had numerous chances. 

“That first ten minutes we did everything we wanted except put the puck in the net. They had a few shot blocks that were really good, Winger made a few strong saves, and their ‘D’ are big guys that get into shooting lanes better than most teams do.

“Then we got the call on Cusick and that changed everything.”

New Trier’s Will Cusick, who also only recently returned after a three-week injury absence, is one of the best defenseman around. He was whistled for a game misconduct penalty on a hit in the neutral zone near the end of the first period and was lost for the game.

Three more New Trier penalties followed in the second period, giving Glenbrook South’s offensive confidence time to grow. South earned an 11-7 edge in shots in the second.

“Those (New Trier) penalties woke us up a little bit and gave us some energy,” Almburg said. “We finally got our legs going and started making some tape-to-tape passes.”

Still, the period’s first 16 minutes remained scoreless until 34 seconds before intermission. That’s when Sherwood took a long feed from Grant Loughran and went in alone on net, burying a backhand for his sixth SHL goal of the season to give South its 1-0 lead.

Cheris cited a bit of line change chicanery from South’s skipper, which sprang Sherwood for the goal.

“That first goal — that’s all (Philbin),” Cheris said. “One of their guys goes for a change, holds up at the bench until our ‘D’ clears their bench, then he steps out and they all know to stretch it and he’s just standing there, wide open for that breakaway. We had no one within twenty feet of him.”

Cheris saw a beleaguered Green team fight its way through the second period.

“It was almost twelve straight minutes of penalty kill,” Cheris said. “We expended so much energy killing penalties and that just wipes out the guys that are killing, and it takes out guys that aren’t killing who don’t play for twelve minutes. So it’s a double whammy.”

With New Trier tagged for four penalties to Glenbrook South’s one through two periods, South figured those calls would even out in the third. They did, as the Titans faced two New Trier power plays to the mid-way point of the third, with the home team fighting furiously to level the game with a goal.

South killed both penalties.

“We play good defense and we’re a good penalty kill team,” Philbin said. “Ban, Freimuth, (Jack) Mulvey, and Ventura are all smart, we’ve got Sokol back there, Loughran, and (Ryan) Mulvey is back there, and so is Almburg.

“I think Almburg played great tonight defensively for us, Winger did a great job, and (Ryan) Mulvey — the top four ‘D’ played outstanding, and our forwards did their job in the third period, getting pucks out, playing a small game, and being smart.”

With New Trier pressing for a tying goal in the third period, Glenbrook South began finding a few odd-man rushes into its offensive zone. Ban centered a puck from the right side to the front of the net and Wojdyla buried it at 4:51 to score his third SHL goal of the year.

Less than a minute later, South scored an almost identical goal but this time with Wojdyla centering to Ban from the right side and Ban finishing at the net with 3:58 left to play.

It was Ban’s 10th SHL goal this year.

“We’ve really bonded together,” Ban said. “Zach (Freimuth) and I have been playing together for a while and Kacper (Wojdyla) hopped on our line this year, so it’s been a learning process for the three of us. But at practice and in games we’ve been really finding each other and hitting our stride.”

A 3-0 lead with less than four minutes to play obviously put South in the cat-bird’s seat and the Titans kept the slate clean from there. It was South’s seventh SHL shutout of the season and the fifth in SHL play this year for Winger.

It was also the first time in 20 SHL games this year that New Trier was shut out.

“Give a lot of credit to GBS. We know who they are and they’re a great team,” Cheris said. “A very talented top line, a great goaltender — they’re the real deal, no doubt about it.”

New Trier won’t get back to SHL play until Jan. 11 when the Trevians host Loyola, and Glenbrook South plays versus York on Friday before hosting rival Glenbrook North on Jan. 7.