When Landon Douthit went in on a breakaway late in the second period of the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship game, New Trier Green head coach Adam Cheris knew what was coming.
“That’s the guy you want in that (situation),” Cheris said. “The speed that Douthit has, I knew he was going 5-hole, always does. That’s the move he works on in practice. He’s so quick, with great hands, great spot.”
Douthit’s goal with 6:45 remaining in the second period Sunday, March 19 at the United Center was, ultimately, the game-winner as the No. 1-ranked Trevians stopped No. 3 York, 2-0. Green has now won 15 state championships since 1983, and 5 since 2013.
“It’s a great feeling, something we’ve been working hard for all year,” Douthit said. “To go out there, play our hardest, get the win is something you can’t describe.”
The Trevians became the first team to win the IHSHL Scholastic Hockey League regular season title, the SHL playoffs and the state championship in the same season. “That’s been a goal of ours all season, so it feels great to get it done,” said New Trier goalie Drew Durdov, who silenced the Dukes and was named the Player of the Game. “It feels great to win. The shutout is great, but (credit) really goes to my defensemen who have been great all year.”
Douthit’s second period goal came off a forwarding pass from Butler Chessen. “He slid it over to me and I have experience on that goalie going 5-hole. That was my spot and I just put it there,” Douthit said. “It’s a great feeling.”
The Trevians sputtered in the first, but York couldn’t capitalize on its scoring chances. “We came out very jittery; the kids couldn’t get their feet underneath them; everyone felt slow; everyone was a little panicked,” Cheris said. “We talked after the first period and everyone was calm heading into the second period, felt much better and really dictated the pace of the game.”
Green iced the game with 5:00 to play in regulation time when Aiden Nolan directed the puck past York goalie Adam Kaczmarek, assisted by Henry Miller.
“I think we had an outstanding game, (except for) a couple of defensive zone breakdowns and they capitalized on them,” said York head coach Matt Boeing. “We had our chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. I’m so proud of our boys; they had a heckuva season. A lot of people didn’t have the Dukes penciled in for the state championship game. I couldn’t be prouder of the heart and grit that these boys have shown over the last few months.”