Spartans gearing up for postseason
Glenbrook North forward Jonathan Gauger celebrates his goal during a game against Stevenson at Northbrook Sports Center in Northbrook on Saturday. | Ray Whitehouse~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:36AM
NORTHBROOK — When you look at the Glenbrook North boys hockey team’s resume you see a 16-game winning streak and victories in three major tournaments, including the highly prestigious Blackhawks Holiday Invitational.
The Spartans boast a wealth of talent, including top goal scorers Ryan Maksimovic (40 goals), Nicholas Day (40) and Jonathan Gauger (37).
All that equals a No. 1 state ranking for the Spartans.
“I’ve never seen a kid create so many breakaways against the competition like Ryan,” Glenbrook North coach Evan Poulakidas said. “Jonathan finds open ice and has played on all of our lines. And Nicholas can pass and score.”
The trio showed their prowess in a 6-2 win against Stevenson on Jan. 24. Day had two goals and two assists, Maksimovic added one goal and two assists, while Gauger found the back of the net once.
“When we’re getting a lot of pucks to the net, getting in front of the net, not too many teams can stop us,” Day said.
That being said, Glenbrook North didn’t manage to win its conference, finishing second in the nine-team Scholastic League. New Trier Green placed first. The playoffs for arguably the top conference in the state begin next week.
“There is so much emphasis to win the state championship,” Poulakidas said. “But winning our league championship is much more difficult. Our league has shown it’s the best league in the state.”
Glenbrook North is probably the fastest team in the league and the state.
“We create all kinds of problems for opposing defenses,” Poulakidas said. “We just don’t waste time through the neutral zone. When we’re on, we’re tough to defend.”
But as with any team, the Spartans have their holes.
In the victory over Stevenson, Glenbrook North was outshot 16-5 in the first period. If it wasn’t for the spectacular play by Nathan Berger in the net, the Spartans would have trailed by more than 2-1.
“When we don’t share the puck, as with that first period, we become a very, very average team,” Poulakidas said.
The Spartans defense has loads of depth, including Seth Gideon, Blake Raven, Kyle Slovis, Parker Roth and Daniel Goldblatt.
“We play pretty good team defense,” said Gideon, the Spartans’ captain. “We like to move the puck in our zone and make sure we have good coverage around the net.”
Glenbrook North also has a bevy of talent minding the nets. In addition to Berger (16-1), there’s Matthew Memolo (16-7-3) and Robert Arner (9-2).