The Fox Valley Hawks picked up a much-needed 5-2 win Feb. 11 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva over the D211 Chiefs. The game was the second of four playdown games in the Illinois High School Hockey League North Central Division playdowns in the Gold Division.
“It was a solid win for us tonight,” Hawks coach Phil Gabrielsen said. “We got into trouble in the second period a little bit when we took three minor penalties when we had a chance to put them away. But then we recovered in that third period to put the game away.”
The Hawks had a great start to the game, scoring just eight seconds in.
Austin DeVitto, from St. Charles East, scored on the first shift of the game to make it 1-0. After the D211 Chiefs made it 1-1 at the 13:48 mark, the Hawks came back to take a 2-1 lead when senior forward Tyler Campise from St. Charles East took a feed from line mate John Ambrogio of St. Charles North and scored.
The second period found each team netting a goal apiece. The Chiefs scored to make it 2-2 with 4:58 remaining when forward Tyler Mercurio beat Hawks goalie, junior Roberto Torres from Geneva. The Hawks would get the lead right back when junior forward Joe Mullaghy from Geneva took a pass from DeVitto and scored making it 3-2 with 2:33 left which is how the second period ended.
“We just wanted to get a lot of shots on net and try for as many second-chance opportunities as we could get,” Mullaghy said. “I thought the flow of our offense was really good tonight actually. We got our breakout going well. We worked on our breakout during the week and just keep it simple by keeping the puck wide instead of trying to use the middle of the ice.”
Mullaghy said one of the keys to the win was the play of Torres, who had 28 saves in goal.
“He did such a great job tonight,” Mullaghy said. “He just jumped on everything and did not allow a lot of second chance opportunities to the other team. He controlled the puck so well from the very start.”
The Hawks picked up their last two goals of the game starting at the 6:31 mark of the final period when senior forward Matthew Conroy from St. Charles East scored off a feed from junior forward Dan Shaughnessy from Geneva making it 4-2. The Hawks closed out the scoring with 1:53 left when Mullaghy scored his second goal.
“I felt mentally I was in a good place tonight,” Torres said. “I came into the game very focused tonight. I was seeing the puck well tonight I thought. For me this year it has been getting to know my teammates a lot better and working on my communication with my teammates.”
The Hawks finish the IHSHL North Central Gold Division playdowns this weekend when they face Crystal Lake South Feb. 17 in Crystal Lake and then take on Lane Tech Feb. 18 at Heartland Ice Arena in Lincolnwood. Should the Hawks finish in the upper half of the playdown standings, they advance to the final four of the Gold Division Tournament.
NOTES: The Hawks begin play in the Combined Division of the 2018 Blackhawk Cup State High School Hockey tournament at 1 p.m. on Feb. 24 in Carol Stream when they face Kankakee Irish.