skip navigation

Stevenson comeback tops GBS

By Gary Larsen, 01/11/23, 3:00PM CST


1/10/23: STV 3, GBS 2

Stevenson coach Tom Wood has uttered a phrase more than a few times after the points leader on his team has done something special, and he had to say it again after forward Davis Jegers skated over the blue line Tuesday and snapped off a shot that tore a path under the crossbar against Glenbrook South.

“That’s just Davis being Davis,” Wood said.

Jegers’ unassisted rocket just 14 seconds into the third period gave Stevenson a 3-2 lead over host GBS, and stood up as the game-winner to the final buzzer.

Jegers’ third-period goal completed a three-goal comeback for Stevenson on Glenbrook South’s home ice, after GBS built a 2-0 second-period lead. Stevenson won the season series against GBS, 2 games to 1.

Currently, of the top 20 points leaders in the entire SHL, five of them play for Stevenson. But it wasn’t Jegers, Tristan Caridei, Will Harlow, Dylan Jette, or Bryan Wojdelko who provided the two goals that drew Stevenson back even after falling behind 2-0 to GBS.

It was Zach Kulik who scored the Patriots’ first two goals, which were also his first goals of the SHL season.

In a second period that saw Glenbrook South (15-5 in SHL play including 2 OT losses) and Stevenson (11-9, 4 OT losses) put four goals on the board, Kulik was the man on the spot twice when the Patriots needed him, burying rebounds for a pair of timely “dirty” goals.

“Right place-right time, in the house,” Kulik said.

After a scoreless first period that saw GBS post an 11-10 edge in shots, the game’s first goal came with 12:10 to play in the second. That’s when South’s Dylan Monaghan skated around a final defenseman on the left side and backhanded a pass across to Pierce Davidson, who buried it at the post for his first SHL goal of the season. Grant Loughran also assisted on the play.

GBS went up 2-0 three minutes later on a Jason Ban goal, with Loughran getting his second assist of the night. The play began when the Titans won a draw on their own end and the puck went back to Loughran, who found a streaking Ban at mid-ice.

Ban streaked past a pair of defensemen and went in alone on the left side to score his 12th SHL goal of the year. To that point, GBS was sitting pretty.

“I think both teams started a little slow but in the second period we came out flying,” South’s Erik Steenstrup said. “We got those two goals and were playing well.”

South’s 2-0 lead held for just under two minutes. Jegers sent a puck from the right corner back out to the point to Zach Meyers, who fired on net. South goalie Luke Winger made the initial stop but Kulik was there to bury the rebound to cut the GBS lead in half.

Stevenson knotted the game at 4:06 when James Mendelson fired from deep on the left side. Winger again made the initial stop but Kulik was there again to bury the rebound and tie the game.

“We had a good effort from all four lines. Everybody was playing today, giving their energy, and doing what the coaches asked. And it paid off in the end. -- Stevenson captain Will Harlow

“It was just a tap-in,” Kulik said. “Right place-right time, in the house. That’s pretty much how it was on the second goal – just sitting there in front, waiting for those opportunities. I think we just knew this game was crucial and we had to give it everything we’ve got.”

Wood was happy to see Kulik net his first goals of the SHL season.

“He’s been a workhorse for us,” Wood said. “He’s one of those guys that goes and gets the puck, does a lot of penalty kill for us, and it was good timing for us that he gets his first two goals of the year tonight. He’s a physical, strong kid and we felt like we needed some forecheck, and that’s what he brought in that second period.”

Stevenson captain Harlow wasn’t surprised his side fought back to tie the game.

“We weren’t taking advantage of our opportunities early but I thought we were playing most of it in their zone, and being strong in our play,” Harlow said. “I thought we came with energy when we saw that we were down, and we got it together. Down 2-0 we weren’t too scared because we knew we were playing well.”

The game's fate was decided when a puck squirted to Jegers in the middle of the ice just as the third period began, and the senior did the rest.

“Jegers, Jette, Will Harlow – you saw Jegers with that shot, and there’s just no stopping that,” Steenstrup said. “When all those guys are going they’re one of the best teams in the state.”

Play went back-and-forth for much of the third period, with Stevenson ultimately posting a 30-26 edge in total shots. But GBS didn’t go without a few quality chances to tie the game down the stretch.

Wyatt Sherwood took a puck up the left side on a 2-on-1 with four minutes remaining, but Smoller turned away the lefty’s shot. Ban sent a one-timer just wide 30 seconds later. Zach Freimuth centered a pass from the right side to Steenstrup in front with 1:30 remaining but Smoller stopped the point-blank shot. Heavy traffic in front of Smoller marked the game’s final minute of play.

“After a few minutes in the third period we settled in and went back to playing South hockey,” Steenstrup said. “We were forechecking really well, getting pressure low and covering up in the zone, and we played well at the end of the game. Overall we had an off night tonight, but we know what our mistakes were and we know what we can do if we play them again.”

GBS is currently ranked third in Illinois and sits in second place behind New Trier in the SHL standings, while Stevenson is ranked fourth and sits in third place in the SHL.

“I can’t say enough about (GBS). They’ve got a great team,” Wood said. “They play really good defense and we were lucky to get a couple shots and have guys around the net. It’s a handful handling their first line and I (Owen) Almburg had a great game for them. He played against Davis a lot and did a nice job.

“I thought Tristan (Caridei) was moving well, Jette had a nice game, Davis looked good – as a team, we played pretty well. And Harlow had a nice night defensively. He had his hands full playing most of the night against Ban and Freimuth.”

Harlow liked what he saw from his boys on Tuesday.

“Davis Jegers and Dylan Jette are always key players for us, and Smoller made a lot of good saves at the end of that game,” Harlow said. “That save with a minute left in the third period was massive for us.

“We had a good effort from all four lines. Everybody was playing today, giving their energy, and doing what the coaches asked. And it paid off in the end.”