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New Trier Green Topples York For State Championship

By Ross Forman, 03/21/24, 2:00PM CDT


Trevians Celebrate Hat Trick From Aidan Nolan

New Trier Green has been perfect for the past two post-seasons, winning every SHL playoff Scholastic Cup game and all Illinois High School Hockey State Tournament games. The Trevians have gone 20-0 during those high-pressure battles with the latest celebration coming Wednesday, March 13, at the United Center.

The No. 1-ranked Trevians ran over No. 7 York, 6-1, for the 16th Green state championship since 1994 and 19th overall for New Trier, including one for New Trier West (1977) and one for New Trier East (1981).

“By far, this is the best hockey we’ve played all year,” New Trier head coach Adam Cheris said. “The numbers we’ve put up since the (SHL) playoffs started, it’s staggering. We’ve found ourselves and have been thriving.”

The Trevians outscored their five state tournament foes 29-3.

“One of the toughest challenges (during the state tournament run), was the (round of 16 game against) New Trier Blue. That game was 3-0 late and they had tons of chances on us,” Cheris said of the 4-0 win over Blue. “It’s too early to talk about a three-peat, but we like where our future is going; that’s the blessing of New Trier; we’re always going to have talent to challenge for state.”

Green struck early against York, scoring :53 into the game on an Aidan Nolan deflection, off a post and past Dukes goalie Jack Brown.

“Our goal was to put them away as fast as we could (because) we knew York would be tough and have been on a great run,” Cheris said. “They had great chances in the first and thought they carried the play, though we had the 1-0 lead.

“I thought the second period was great; that’s our style of play, and that kind of put them away.”

The Trevians built a 4-0 edge after two periods with goals from Ashton Freel and a pair from Hans Huber.

“I was not expecting to score at all,” Huber admitted. “Coach has me on the checking line to shut down their top line. I just did my thing and my teammates set me up, and I put them away.

“It was so much fun.”

Cheris added: “Hans is a match-up player; he is nasty to play against and we love it. He plays against our opponent’s top line. For him to get two (goals) today, what a blessing. We were not looking for him to score goals today; I was looking for him to shut down the (Dukes’ top line, featuring forward Nicholas) Sanfilipo, and he did a good job of that. To score twice as well, that’s a coach’s dream.”

David Wolff assisted both of Huber’s goals on his 3-assist night.

“This was huge, so much fun,” Huber said.

Wolff added: “It was awesome. I’m not usually a point-scorer; I’m more of an enforcer. We were just buzzing all game. We left it all on the ice, and that meant a lot to us.”

Ben Smith scored York’s lone tally at 10:52 of the third period, assisted by Ben Dizillo and Luke Composono, cutting the score to 4-1.

“We were not expected to be here, being the No. 7 seed. I’m just happy to be here, to play here,” said York junior goalie Brown. “That’s a very hard team to play against; they’re very physical and have good chemistry. And, they have some big, tall, fast players.

“That first goal (New Trier scored), that was a pretty big blow. Getting scored against on the first shift is pretty hard. But no one gave up, even when we were down. It was a good experience to be here.”

York head coach Matt Boeing added, “When we got that one (goal), I was fired up. We just wanted to keep chipping away and morale was higher (on the bench).”

Nolan silenced the Dukes in the final minutes of the game, adding two more goals for his hat trick.

“I think the nerves got to us a little bit tonight,” Boeing said about 90 minutes after the final buzzer. “We had a gameplan, but them scoring first definitely was not part of that gameplan. I don’t think anyone’s bingo card had York going to the United Center this year, so I couldn’t be happier for these guys.

“This was an incredible experience.

“We’re going to focus on the underdog story and the big wins we had over Loyola (Gold) and (Saint) Ignatius (earlier in the state tournament) and carry that momentum into tryouts on Monday.”

Boeing added: “To see this team come together over the last few weeks has been huge. Hockey really is just a tool to get us ready for the real world, and sometimes the real-world sucks.”

York is the sixth back-to-back loser in the state finals and the first since Providence Catholic (2016 and 2017).

The Dukes lost 15 players after the 2023 season to graduation and 12 after the 2022 season. This season, York has seven seniors – and the JV program won state, so optimism is high for another York trip to the United Center in 2025.