The season ended too soon for senior goalie Andrew Pavich, who played the past two seasons for the Providence Catholic varsity team. They lost to Saint Ignatius in the best-of-3 Kennedy Cup finals and then were eliminated in the Sweet 16 round of the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship, losing 1-0 in overtime to Carmel Catholic.
The season’s sorrow was, to some degree, eased by some personal accolades. Pavich and teammates junior Carson Burriss and senior Vinny Felice were named to the AHAI High School All-State Team. Plus, Pavich, Felice and junior Nico Felice were selected to the Chicago Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) All-Star Team.
Pavich looks back at the just-completed season for all the “positives that came out of it, whether it big wins or making new friends,” he said.
Pavich, 18, who lives in Frankfort and wore jersey No. 33, previously played for the Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings, Midwest Blackbirds, St. Jude Knights and finally the Orland Park Vikings before landing at Providence Catholic.
“This certainly was a season-to-remember,” Pavich said. “I couldn’t have asked for a much better season to end my youth hockey career, without a doubt. This was one of the most tightly knit groups of guys I have been on throughout my career. You knew that everyone had each other’s back and would support and encourage one another through good times and bad. We had our ups and downs, just like every team, but we built off our downs and made ourselves better after them, and our ups certainly (outnumbered) our downs. I made so many great memories with these guys, on and off the ice, that I will not forget.”
Pavich started skating when he was 2, “but apparently I wasn’t a fan,” he said. He returned to the ice at 3, “and that’s when I started to enjoy it.” He first played organized hockey at 5. “I won my first championship (at age 10) and also made some of my best friends during my time at H.F.,” he said.
He played for PC’s JV team as a sophomore before landing on the varsity as a junior.
“I probably could write a book (about) my entire hockey career,” he said. “When I was 8 years old, my team got the chance to play at the United Center; that was pretty awesome and something I won’t ever forget.”
He also won’t forget one of the first games he ever played goalie – when he was about 5, after his dad asked if he wanted to try goalie because nobody else wanted to. Pavich said, yes. “It was a half-ice game and even though I didn't stop a lot, I still had a blast,” he said.
Pavich played a league-leading 30 games for the Celtics, starting all 30. He finished with a 1.48 goals-against average in CCHL games. Providence Catholic finished with the lowest team total goals against. And the CCHL John Dueran Award for the Most Valuable Player was awarded to, Pavich.
"I'm fortunate to have some size, so I'm able to play more conservative and not challenge as much as other goalies, allowing me to get to backdoor passes a little quicker. I'm also able to rely on my athletic ability and flexibility to make desperation saves, if necessary,” he said. “Teamwork is key in almost every aspect of life and if you surround yourself with people you trust and can rely on, you will go a long way.”
Pavich praised his parents, John and Kelly, and his grandparents for their influence and support of his hockey career.
“My dad has certainly been the biggest influence on my entire career,” Pavich said. “He introduced me to the game and to the position. He was my goalie coach from when I was age 5 to 10 and taught me all the basics to the position and the importance of doing the little things before anything else. He encouraged me to work hard every day and got me into good habits to be consistent. My mom also has been incredible over the years with how much she has sacrificed as well, whether it is time, money, or years of her life from being stressed out at my games.
“My grandparents also have always been there with me and been to countless games.”
Pavich will attend Lewis University in the fall, where he’s looking to go into the aviation field. “I would like to eventually fly commercially,” he said.
Stopping Slapshots With … Providence Catholic Goalie Andrew Pavich
Being a CCHL All-Star: “It was great to be recognized for my hard work over the years, but it would not have happened without the team I had in front of me, especially my defense.”
Favorite Moment From This Season: “Traveling up to Minnesota for a tournament and beating some solid teams to win the championship.”
Away From Hockey: “I like sports in general, so I play sports outside with friends for fun and I also like being outside a lot. And, I love to travel.”
Little-known Fact: “I can juggle and have been to 13 countries.”
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Connor Hellebuyck
Favorite Sports-themed Movie: Miracle
Favorite Pre-game Meal: Ground beef and rice
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Connor Hellebuyck
Best Hockey Tip: “Don’t get too high and don’t get too low” - Coach Oliver
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Noah Oliver
Hardest Slapshot on PC: Tom Dukups
Most Accurate Shot: Nico Felice
Fastest Skater: Carson Burriss
Best High School Uniforms (other than PC): Loyola Academy