The Fox Valley Hawks saw their season end in the quarterfinals of the Combined Division of the Blackhawk Cup State Tournament, losing 4-1 to top-seeded Glenbard.
The Hawks had come int having already beaten both Kankakee Irish and Prospect/Rolling Meadows/Elk Grove (PREP) by identical scores of 5-1. But they were facing a team in Glenbard who were the regular season champions of the Illini West Division.
The Hawks finished their season at 16-21-7 in this, their first full season as members of the Illinois High School Hockey League North Central Division.
“There was no quit in our guys tonight at any time,” Hawks coach PhilGabrielsen said. “I was very proud of our guys. We kept Glenbard off the scoresheet in the first period. Then we hit a goal post in the second period. I don’t think Glenbard thought it would just be a 4-1 game with the way they were talking before the game tonight.”
Glenbard thought it would have an easy time with the ninth-seeded Hawks. But the first period proved to be anything but easy as both teams were unable to find the back of the net. Hawks goalie Riley Clark, from St. Charles North, had nine of his 29 saves in the first 15 minutes.
The second period proved to be a different story as Glenbard scored three times. They made it 1-0 with 12:48 remaining on a goal by forward Theo Iaccino, who sent a wrist shot by Clark to his glove side.
Glenbard increased its lead to 2-0 when forward Zach Lupori scored off a feed from line mate Jack Harper with 2:45 remaining. Glenbard closed out its second period scoring when forward Brett Quinn scored with just 23 seconds left.
“We ran into a team tonight who was stacked with travel kids while we do not have any,” Gabrielsen said. “We gave them all we got tonight. We did well only taking one minor penalty through two periods. I mean we were right there. We just did not have enough.”
After Glenbard scored making it 4-0 with 13 minutes left in the final period, the Hawks got on the scoreboard. Hawks junior forward Joe Mullaghy, from Geneva, scored an unassisted goal at the 9:55 mark making it 4-1.
“Getting two wins in the tournament and getting to the third round in state against the number one team in the state and keeping it close was really great for this team I think,” Gabrielsen said. “None us likes to lose but I was really proud of this team this year. This year turned out better than I could have hoped for. Being in a new league with much tougher competition really helped us this year. It's what I think got us to the third round of the tournament this playing tougher competition.”
The Hawks will lose five seniors off of their Varsity Black team but are expected to return 13 players next season including forward Jon Ambrogio and goalie Riley Clark from St. Charles North and goalie Roberto Torres and junior forward Danny Shaughnessy from Geneva.