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Varsity Cats Look to Build on Solid Season March 9, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in General, Varsity.
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Sure, the varsity Icecats season ended on a down note with its loss last week to rival Conant. But looking back on the full season, it’s hard to call it anything but a success. And more to the point, the team has an opportunity to become one of the elites of the Metro league next season.

The numbers by and large tell the story. A 12-7-4 regular season record. A trip to the semi-finals at the Big Bear tournament in January. A berth in the upper tier Scholastic Cup playoffs, and a commanding 9-1 first round victory in the Blackhawk Cup state playoff tournament. The Cats were well represented in All Star competition, sending Justin Antolec, Brad Feinman, Connor Krukowski, and Tommy Tambourine (with strong skating defenseman Joey VanderMey as an alternate) to the All Star preliminary round, with Justin and Tommy advancing to the finals.

The season was not without its travails. After a strong 5-2-1 start, the team suffered a series of injuries and suspensions that contributed to a short but very deflating losing streak, dropping games to Mundelein, CCM and BGHW by a combined score of 22-4. The team then had a so-so outing at the Stevenson Thanksgiving tournament, dropping two of three games.

Click on the image to launch video.

Things started to pick up after Thanksgiving, with the team going 0-1-3 before a turning point game against Fremd on December 13. The Cats beat Fremd 2-1 on top of a huge game by goalie Erich Held, who turned back 33 shots for the win. That win set off a seven game winning streak that ended on the final game of the season, a close 4-3 loss to Crystal Lake South, a league powerhouse. The Cats ended the regular season with 28 points and a second place finish in the Metro Central National division.

The playoffs were a disappointment, going 1-3 in the Scholastic Cup and losing in the second round of the Blackhawk Cup 3-0 to Conant, a team the Cats had competed well against in the regular season.

Still, looking ahead, there is plenty of cause for optimism.

With most players eligible to return, the Cats can look forward to a strong season next year. Overall scoring leader and captain Tambourine (28 points) and leading goal scorer Antolec (17 goals) are juniors, and assist leader Jeff Martin (19 assists, 27 points) is a sophomore, as is tough guy Tyler Shanholtzer (11 points). Forward Peter Henderson, who had 16 regular season points as a freshman, looks like a future league scoring leader.

The strong defensive corps of Feinman, VanderMey, Matt Majewski and Stephen Stanis are all all eligible to return as well. Feinman, an assistant captain and an All Star as a sophomore, was a shutdown defenseman all season. Matt was a consistent physical force, while Stephen made what may have been the defensive play of the season against Carmel, sweeping away a puck late the in the game to preserve a tie.

Forwards Ian Donnahoo, Jack Reike (16 points), Tony Rossetti and Nick Young (7 goals) should all be back for their senior seasons. Tony is  a consistent source of speed, energy and toughness on the  forecheck. Ian has proven himself a versatile player, even filling in at defense when needed. He is also arguably the team’s best penalty killer. Nick, an assistant captain, is also a top penalty killer, a presence in front of the net, and an accomplished pest, drawing penalties from irritated opponents. Jack is a consistent and hardworking forward, with a knack for scoring clutch goals.

And finally, talented netminders  Erich Held and Max Laughlin, both juniors, are expected to return, offering depth at that important position next season. Both had winning records this year.

The Cats are losing three key players to graduation. Hard nosed defenseman Mike Lauber, smooth skating forward Krukowski (25 points) and energy forward Greg Majewski will all be missed. Their depatures will open up opportunities for current JV players or newcomers to move up and make a difference at the varsity level.

Watch the Icecats Take on Carmel March 8, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in General, Varsity.
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The Varsity Icecats January 22 home game against Carmel Catholic has been posted on LHS’s CAT-TUBE. You can watch the video by clicking here, or on the image below.

Varsity Season Ends in 3-0 Loss March 4, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Varsity.
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The Varsity Icecats ended their 2009-10 season Wednesday night with a disappointing 3-0 loss to season-long rival Conant in the Blackhawk Cup second round match at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville. The two teams had split the season series, with the Icecast losing the first match 3-2 and winning the second 2-1. Both games were home losses for the respective rivals.

Wednesday’s playoff game was a close, tight-checking affair, with the teams trading shots, and a few good chances, until a holding call midway through the second period resulted in what turned out to be the only goal that mattered for Conant. Conant added another tally late in the third and an empty netter to seal the Cats’ fate with just over a minute remaining.

A number of Cats skated hard and did their best to generate scoring chances, including Justin Antolec (subject of a recent write up in the Pioneer Press), Jeff Martin and senior Connor Krukowski, among others. The Conant defense skillfully blocked shots, and their goalie kept out whatever the defense let through.

Connor was playing his last game as an Icecat, along with senior Greg Majewski. Connor’s speed, heart and hands, and Greg’s hustle, particularly on the penalty kill, will be missed next season.

Junior goalie Erich Held had another solid game, turning back 22 shots.

The Cats will gather next at the team banquet March 14 to cap off the season and present team awards.

Varsity Cats Battle, Fall to Mite Team March 1, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Varsity.
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On Saturday afternoon, the Varsity Icecats took on the Falcons Mite Silver team in a just for fun grudge match at Lake Forest Academy. The teams were brought together by their shared head coach Efren Heredia.

Unfortunately for the Icecats, the little ones prevailed 9-8 in overtime. Most of the Cats players blamed the humiliating defeat on “biased” officiating by Icecats board president Jamie Dobson.

In truth, all of the players on both teams had a lot of fun and are looking forward to a rematch next season. Amazingly enough, we uncovered some video footage here.

JV Battles, Loses Double OT Thriller to BGHW February 28, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Junior Varsity.
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Photo by Studio West, Libertyville

In their fourth match up of the season, the ninth seeded Icecats looked to knock off eight seeded Buffalo Grove-Hersey-Wheeling in the Round of 16 of the Blackhawk Cup Friday night in Bensenville, but after almost two periods of sudden death overtime, BGHW hammered home the game winner, sending them to the Elite Eight for a match up against top seeded Rockford.

The Icecats started out strong, battling hard against a BGHW team that heavily out numbered the Icecats, but the Icecats held strong for most the period, until BGHW scored off of a heads up play by a BGHW forward who put a rebound past net minder Nick Draths.

But 45 seconds later, the Icecats responded when Tyler Garrett scored off of a Joey Educate rebound, tying the game 1-1 and the shot total at 8-8.

The second period however, was a different story, with the Icecats, playing with only 12 skaters, were out shot by a wide margin. The shorthanded Cass looked to be fading fast after giving up several odd man rushes, but Draths, as he has all season, kept the Icecats in the game. Draths made 15 saves in the second period alone, letting up one breakaway goal from BGHW’s best player.

And with their goalie standing on his head throughout the period, and the defense doing everything in their power to help the struggling offensive, the Icecats went into the locker room between the second and third looking to catch their breaths and take back the game, hoping to keep their season alive.

After two hard opening shifts in the third, forward Shawn Rieke found the equalizer, putting another stray rebound past the BGHW goalie. All of a sudden it was a game again.

After that elusive game-tying goal both teams held steady for the remainder of the third, sending the game into sudden-death overtime.

The first overtime was essentially a continuation of the third period, with both teams having numerous opportunities to score, but the two goalies continued their stellar play. With the score still tied after 10 minutes of extra time, the game moved on to the second overtime.

Tempers flared early in the second period when Icecats defender Jake Goldwater, playing his first game back from injury, got into a scuffle with a BGHW player, and although both got co-incidental penalties, the Icecats, who were already running on empty, just couldn’t recover, with the game winning goal coming a little over a minute after Goldwater finished his penalty.

This game did end the JV Icecats season, as the loss eliminated them from the Blackhawk Cup. It was also senior Eric Cardona’s last game as an Icecat.

Contributed by JV Icecats Assistant Captain Matt Kalish

Varsity Drops Practice Game 3-1 to HP February 28, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Varsity.
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The Varsity Icecats lost an exhibition match against Metro North rival Highland Park 3-1 Friday night. The game,  a tune up for next week’s important Blackhawk Cup match against Conant, was a generally uneventful affair, with the Cats being out shot 24-16.

Two Cats highlights were Jeff Martin’s sweet breakaway goal in the second, where he froze the goalie and the lifted the puck in under the crossbar, and goalie Max Laughlin’s solid performance in net. Max played the first two periods, yielding just one goal on 15 shots.

Hopefully the game helped shake off the rust and the Cats will be ready for Wednesday’s win or go home match against Conant, which starts at 6:40 pm at the Edge in Bensenville.

Varsity to Face Highland Park Friday Night February 23, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Varsity.
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Photo by Studio West, Libertyville

The Varsity Icecats will face off against Highland Park in an exhibition game this Friday night at Glacier. Game time is 8:40pm. This will be a valuable tune-up before the important Blackhawks Cup game next Wednesday against Conant. Highland Park finished the regular season 6-12-4, good for ninth place in the competitive Metro North division. The Icecats last faced the Giants on Sept. 23 in preseason play.

Varsity Icecats Advance in Blackhawk Cup February 20, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Varsity.
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The Varsity Icecats made short work of visiting Morton/Washington Friday night at Glacier, thus advancing to the next round in the Blackhawk Cup.

Despite a valiant effort by the Morton/Washington goaltender, the Cats bulldozed the outmatched visitors 9-1 to keep the Cats’ season alive.

Peter Henderson earned a hat trick, on his birthday no less, while Justin Antolec and Tommy Tambourine each scored two goals. Justin had four total points. Also scoring goals were Ian Donnahoo (two points total), and Connor Krukowski (three total points). Defenseman Brad Feinman had four assists, while Jeff Martin also notched two helpers.

Goalie Erich Held, making his second consecutive start, made 13 saves. His busiest period was the second, when M/W managed seven shots and a couple of good chances.

The Cats next Blackhawk Cup game is against old rival Conant at 6:40 pm on March 3 at the Edge in Bensenville.

JV Loses Two Close Playoff Games vs. Maine, Crystal Lake South February 16, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Junior Varsity.
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Photo by Studio West, Libertyville

After ending their challenging 2-15-3 season with a two game winning streak, the JV Icecats looked to repeat last year’s playoff magic with a win against a Maine team that the Icecats hammered two weeks earlier, but the Icecats just couldn’t replicate their previous sucess, falling to Maine 3-2.

After a couple of hard opening shifts by the Icecats, Maine put the game’s first tally on the board after nice backdoor pass that just beat Icecats goalie Nick Draths’ quick glove.

But the Icecats didn’t let the early goal bother them, scoring minutes later in the first when freshman forward Shawn Rieke put the puck in the net off of a beautiful cross-crease pass by JV captain Scott Miller.

WIth the game tied up 1-1 going into the second period, the already high energy game was taken to another level by both teams in the second frame, with the Icecats battling hard against a short handed Maine squad that only had 10 skaters, but that didn’t matter much, because late in the second Maine took the lead after one of their players snuck behind the Icecats defenders and put the puck behind Draths.

But as the old saying goes, it’s not over till the fat lady sings.

The Icecats came out looking to take the game back, and only 18 seconds into the third period, assistant captain Patrick Quinn scored top right corner, with Jake “Seabird” Segall getting the assist.

From there, the game looked like it could go either way, with both teams getting plenty of chances to put the game away throughout the third period, but the Icecats just couldn’t get enough shots on goal, only managing to get three shots the entire period and the powerplay unit, which the coaching staff worked with throughout the week, went 0-4 on the powerplay, including a prolonged 5-3 advantage. Maine produced the game winning goal with a little under four minutes to play in the third, putting the nail in the Icecats coffin.

Goalie Nick Draths, who looked stellar in his first career playoff start, stopped 16 shots, but his’ play between the pipes kept the Cats alive all the way till the end.

BOX SCORE

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After a tough loss the night before and a full day off of school to recover, the JV Icecats looked to their first win of the playoffs against Crystal Lake South on their home turf up at the Crystal Lake Ice House

The Icecats, as they have all season, started out strong, getting the game’s first goal only two minutes into the first period off of another Patrick Quinn sniper shot off a slick pass by freshman Joey Educate. But the Gators turned the tide minutes later when they tied it up off of a nifty pass to a wide open man on goalie Nick Draths’ backdoor, tying the game up at one to end the first period.

The second period was a tug of war of sorts, with neither team really able to convert on what few opportunities they had, as both defenses and goaltenders remained firm, until late in the period where after dangling around three Gator defenders, Quinn buried his second point of the night, giving the Icecats the lead and the momentum.

However, both were short lived, as CLS tied the game back up shortly there after, setting up what would be a climactic third period.

After a motivational speech in between periods by head coach Dave Schlagetter, the Icecats looked to poised to take home the win after several strong shifts to start the period, but the Icecats just didn’t have it in them, as CLS took the lead midway through the third after a scramble in front of Draths resulted in the puck squirting by both Draths and Icecats defender Matt Kalish, both who were trying desperately to keep the game alive. The Gators also tallied an empty net goal in the dying minutes of the game. Final score, 5-2 CLS.

Draths, who started his second game in a row, played above and beyond what was expected of him at the start of the season, and although the number of shots on goal weren’t recorded, Nick stopped shots that no goalie in this league should have stopped, and his performance between the pipes is worth being commending. Way to go Nick.

The Icecats take on CCM tomorrow at The Glacier, puck drop is at 8:40pm. It’s JV’s final home game of the season, so come out and support your JV Icecats as they fight to move on in the Metro Central playoffs.

BOX SCORE

Contributed by JV Icecats Assistant Captain Matt Kalish

Icecats Top CG 4-1 to End Playoffs on a High Note February 16, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Uncategorized.
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The Varsity Icecats solidly defeated Cary Grove 4-1 Monday night in Barrington, ending the Scholastic Cup playoffs with a disappointing 1-3 record. Still, the game gives the Cats some momentum heading into Friday’s Blackhawk Cup match against Morton Washington. The Blackhawk Cup is a single elimination tournament. If the Cats win Friday, they will face their old rival Conant on March 3 at the AHAI Hockey Center in Bensenville.

Monday’s game was uneventful for the first half of the first period, before Peter Henderson notched a shortside top shelf goal at 7:16, assisted by Joey VanderMey. Cary Grove answered a minute later with a fluke goal that went in off an Icecat’s skate. Jeff Martin got it back a few minutes later with another short side top shelf goal, reminiscent of Peter’s.

The Cats added one in the second, when Justin Antolec collected his own rebound and dished it to Martin who was streaking in behind the play and buried it for his second tally. Joey also assisted on the goal. In the third, Connor Krukowski picked up a lose puck on the far post and lifted it under the crossbar at a tight angle for the fourth and final goal of the night.

The Cats outshot Cary Grove 31-24. Erich Held was in net and was again solid with 23 saves.

BOX SCORE

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