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North Star Varsity 2014
Game Recap
May 17
 
StC North
14
StC East
13

North Seniors lead comeback on 'their' day
North and East trade big leads but in the end, it's North by 14-13 score
The Crosstown Classic certainly lived up to its name on Saturday, May 17. Despite coming a day later than scheduled and not being recognized by the IHSLA as an official game because of the regular season window closing the night before, the game clearly mattered to all the boys on the field and the large crowd gathered to watch it all happen. East vs North
The senior recognition ceremonies for both the East and North boys’ teams as well as the Girls’ team helped set the stage, but the game itself was the headliner. A game of streaks that saw both teams with five-goal leads at different points came down to a one-goal differential with North holding on for the dramatic 14-13 win.
For a second year in a row, this match-up was displaced by rain and even some snow this year. The game -- originally scheduled for Friday night at East’s Norris Stadium -- was cancelled due to poor field conditions, which left the Club Board scrambling to reschedule in a very tight window before the start of the playoffs. Thanks to the kindness of Geneva High School Athletic Director Jim Kafer, the game was moved to the turf at Burgess Field on Saturday.
It started with the teams trading goals. East struck first when Evan Anderson scored for the 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, North answered when Eric Koppang took the ball around the cage and his shot tied it at 1. Tim Canning was the next to score for East and they recaptured the lead. With just 00:12 left in the first quarter, Cameron MacKenzie took a free clear from the mid-line, drove it straight to the net and buried the shot to tie the game 2-2.
East came out flying in the second quarter, scoring four straight goals. Jack Russell scored the first two, Tyler Vogel added a third, and with less than two minutes gone in the second quarter, East had a 5-2 lead. Russell then earned his hat trick and the Saints lead grew to four. North stopped the bleeding temporarily when Joe Davis found Koppang with a pass who beat the goalie to make the score 6-3. East struck again though as Russell got his fourth of the quarter to push it to 7-3.
Less than a minute later, Jud Huxtable found Zach Behrens on the edge of the crease with a quick pass and he found the back of the net. East was not done, however, and Nate Campana ripped a shot to push the lead back to four and with just 00:07 left in the half, Brett Hickey scored the seventh East goal of the quarter and they took a five-goal lead to the break.
To keep this game from getting away from them, North would have to come out hard in the third quarter, and they did just that. In dramatic fashion, North scored eight straight third-quarter goals and dominated possession of the ball. The defense played a big role in that as Zach Woeste and Dustin Sullens both played as well as they had all season in front of goaltender Carter O’Brien who made several key saves. Austin Cohen also played tough D before leaving the game due to injury and Jake Hursch stepped in and played aggressive shut-down defense as well. The face-off also became an important part of this game. MacKenzie won more draws as the game went on and Davis, Connor Zounis, Woeste and Matt Balara all helped gain possession from the wings.
Koppang got the third quarter scoring started, earning his hat trick when he finished with a shot off a pass from MacKenzie and the score was 9-6. MacKenzie got the next one as he drove the cage and scored as he was falling toward the crease. Behrens scored next on a quick shot off Koppang's pass to tighten the score at 9-7.
It was Jud Huxtable’s turn to get hot as he scored two goals less than a minute apart. The first came when he rolled the cage and beat the defender and the goalie. The next started with a Davis fast break and a pass to Behrens, who moved it over to Huxtable and his goal knotted the score 9-9. Behrens got North its first lead since the first quarter when he ripped a shot off another Koppang feed. Behrens then scored his third of the quarter and fourth of the day on a heads-up play. MacKenzie found himself double-teamed along the sideline just across midfield. He threw a desperate pass in the direction of Behrens near the net and Zach scooped it up and found the back of the net with it.
With just 00:35 left in the quarter, Zounis found Koppang, who scored his fourth of the game to finish an incredibly productive offensive quarter for the North Stars. Their 9-4 deficit was now a 12-9 lead. North wasn’t done yet. They finished a 10-goal run on two straight goals by Huxtable to start the final quarter. The first came off a nice pass by Behrens and the second was on a quick drive to the net and shot. Huxtable’s fourth on the day gave North a 14-9 lead with 07:32 to play.
After going scoreless for nearly 20 minutes, East mounted a comeback of their own. Starting at 4:36 on the clock they scored three times, each exactly a minute apart. Vogel had the first two and Anderson got the third to make the score 14-12 with 2:36 left. North was able to take some time off the clock, but with 00:40 left, Russell got his fifth of the game, and the lead was just one. It looked like East would tie it when Canning had a point-blank shot with 00:15 on the clock but O’Brien made a game-winning save and North closed it out in a thrilling 14-13 final.
North dug deep in the second half to pull this one out and the seniors led the way. Rich Mix, sidelined with a broken hand, even contributed with a spirited plea at halftime for his teammates to turn it around. Besides Koppang’s critical four-goal contribution, the rest of the goals came off the sticks of the seniors: four each by Behrens and Huxtable and two by MacKenzie. Sullens and Hursch played their best games of the season defensively, Alex Baecker contributed off the bench, and O’Brien was a difference maker in goal. What a way for the seniors to finish out the regular season. They get ready to face Hinsdale Central in round one of the playoffs on Tuesday.
 

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