Stevenson looks ahead to postseason
Stevenson center Michael Trapp (right) shoots during a game against Glenbrook North Saturday. | Ray Whitehouse~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 2:04AM
NORTHBROOK — With the Scholastic Hockey League playoffs scheduled to start next week, it will be tough for Stevenson to compete for the Scholastic Cup in what might be the state’s best conference.
New Trier Green, Glenbrook North and Loyola Gold are at the top of the nine-team league, with Stevenson standing in fourth place.
The Patriots have at least one believer.
“There are going to be a lot of upsets top-to-bottom. It’s going to be very interesting,” said Evan Poulakidas, coach of the top-ranked Glenbrook North. “I think Stevenson has enough firepower to do some damage in both conference and state (at the end of February).
Though the Patriots lost 6-2 to Glenbrook North Jan. 24, they showed why Poulakidas was impressed. Stevenson outshot the Spartans 16-5 in the first period, constantly buzzing the net. Only a number of acrobatic saves by Glenbrook North goalie Nathan Berger kept the score at 2-1 Stevenson.
Patriots coach Jim Wood is optimistic regarding his teams chances.
“If we’re hot and we’re playing our game, I think we can win the tournament,“ Wood said. “Puck possession is our game. We’ve scored quite a few goals. But we’ll need to play well defensively as a group.”
Wood added, “I always preach defense. We struggled with that into November, but in December, we really started playing well.”
Stevenson had trouble getting the puck out of its own zone against Glenbrook North, giving up chance after chance in the second and third periods and getting outshot 20-8.
Nevertheless, the Patriots are a confident bunch.
“The regular season showed that anybody can beat anybody,” said Vince Moschea, one of the league’s top defensive players. “If we play well, we can hoist up the Scholastic League championship and the state finals trophy.”
That notion was seconded by Stevenson’s top scorer, forward Ari Shellist.
“We have to play hard and keep our heads,” Shellist said. “We can definitely win the championship.”
Having a hot goalie helps in the Scholastic League. The probable netminder for the Patriots will be Corey Benjoya.
“Corey’s save percentage is right around 90 percent,” Wood said. “He’s athletic, with good size.”