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Sweet Repeat: Barrington Stops Glenbrook To Win Girls High School State Championship

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


Rachel Gorbatenko Tallies Hat Trick To Lead Fillies

After Nicole Gorbatenko won the MVP Award at the annual Girls High School All-State Game, played March 10 at Fifth/Third Arena in Chicago, Barrington girls head coach Jeff Rajski joked with Gorbatenko’s parents that the honor simply would motivate Rachel Gorbatenko in the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship, played March 13, at the United Center.

Sure enough, Rachel needed about :20 to secure her own MVP award – and stamp the repeat for Barrington, which defeated Glenbrook, 7-2, to celebrate on the home ice of the Chicago Blackhawks once again.

Rachel scored an upper-corner backhand goal at 9:42 of the third period and then drilled a wrist shot, upper-corner again, at 9:21, pushing the Fillies’ lead to 6-1.

“It was awesome to repeat, especially with so many who have teammates for so many years. I’m grateful,” said Rachel, who tallied her first goal of the game in the first period, assisted by Mia Winterkorn and Kiley Wrzos. “We were all super hyped up, super motivated. We really wanted to bury them.”

Rachel, a junior defenseman who attends Barrington High School and also skates for the Chicago Mission, had 35 goals and 19 assists in 32 games this season.

“This definitely (ranks) among the top three games (of my career), only behind a national championship and a (past) club state championship. This was awesome, super cool,” Rachel said. “I’m really happy we were able to do this twice.”

She said the third goal, past Glenbrook’s Lainie Fliegel, “was the cherry on top of the cake.”

She went upper-corner for her second and third goals after her low shots earlier in the game had not been effective.

“Rachel is amazing,” Rajski said. “She’s such a hard worker, on and off the ice, and she’s such a great teammate to everyone. She’s the first one to practice and always helping the less skilled players. And, she cracks us up on the bench.

“When she turns it on, she’s unstoppable. She’s our backbone.”

Barrington also had goals Wednesday from Wrzos, Dakota Becco and Ella Pukala.

“That was awesome; I’m just happy for the kids,” Rajski said moments after the team’s locker room celebration. “We’ve talked about repeating for those who were on the team last year and also getting back here for the kids (who are new to the team).

“We dealt with a lot this season, (including) concussions, injuries and just a target on our backs all season. To repeat, I’m thrilled for them.”

He said the 2024 title was “a little sweeter (than 2023) because of all we had to deal with this season.”

The Fillies finished the season 19-1 and when they start talking about a three-peat, they will do so without graduating goalie Brooke Ward and four others.

“We’re ready to do it a third time next year,” Rachel said.

Glenbrook (8-8) had a second period goal from Maria Zhang and a third period goal from Emma Brajkovic. Emerson Tuvell had assists on both.

“I’m proud of the girls; it was an accomplishment to get here. I couldn’t ask for more,” said Glenbrook head coach Steve Hamelin. “This was an experience they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.