Boys hockey team shoots for state

Brandon Mankoff, Sports Editor

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Junior Tim Burke (left) battles with a Buffalo Grove player during a game on Nov. 15. The Spartans lost the game 2-0 but went on to win eight of their next nine games, giving them a record of 34-5-3 as of Dec. 4. Photo by Hope Mailing.

The boys hockey team headed into the locker room distraught while trailing Glenbrook South 4-0 after the second period of the High School Varsity Hockey Pre-season Invitational at Wheaton West on Sept. 10.

Senior David Rubin said finishing the game hard and with pride was all the team could do, but he never imagined what would come next.

As the Spartans retook the ice, Rubin took over the game. He scored five goals in the third period, the last one tying the game with 0:55 remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime. The Spartans then pulled off the win with a goal from junior Michael Day.

“[I had] a feeling that you don’t really have [at] any other time in your life because you work so hard for it,” Rubin said.

Evan Poulakidas, boys hockey head coach, said beating GBS helped the team advance to the finals in which they beat York 2-1. The Spartans placed first out of 16 teams at the tournament.

According to Rubin, the team has not finished first in this tournament within the past few years, even when the Spartans won state during the 2014-2015 season.

As of Dec. 4, the Spartans are 34-5-3 with 18 games remaining in the regular season. The team is in second place behind Loyola in the Scholastic Hockey League. Poulakidas said many players on the team have stepped up such as Rubin along with senior Jacob Crane and juniors David Wilcox, Tim Burke and Day.

Rubin currently leads the team with 44 goals and 32 assists, totaling 76 points as of Dec. 4. He is nearly on track to break the record for most points in a season, which was set last year by alumnus Nick Mikhaylov (‘17) with 126, according to Poulakidas.

“I think David Rubin, as our captain, has one, been a great leader, and two, he certainly is the catalyst that brings out our offense,” Poulakidas said.

Poulakidas said not only are his players performing at a high level, but the team is also very young with a lot of depth on the bench.

“A number of our players who don’t get a lot of ice time would be good players on other teams.

“Not only that, but I think some of our junior varsity kids could actually play on some of the [other schools’] varsity teams,” Poulakidas said.

According to Crane, the Spartans faced GBS in a rematch on Nov. 22. It was the largest crowd the team had played in front of so far this year.

At the game, both student sections were packed with little room to move. Some students were getting escorted out by the police, chants were flying back and forth between student sections, fights broke out on the ice and the glass almost came down at one point from students pounding against it.

As the first period began, Rubin quickly scored which was followed by another goal from sophomore Matt Dahlke. GBS fought back and tied the game up 2-2. With 2:01 remaining in the game, Rubin received a pass in front of the net and fired in a wrist shot to give his team the lead.

The Spartans’ defense held strong in the end, and the team came away with a 3-2 victory, beating South for the 15th year in a row, according to Rubin.

Poulakidas said this year’s team has exceeded his expectations so far.

“We have overachieved in a lot of ways,” said Poulakidas. “I think we are way ahead of schedule [from] where I thought we would be. Certainly with the records we posted and the teams we’ve beaten, it’s a little bit of a surprise.”

With some tough upcoming opponents, Rubin said he hopes the team continues to play at a high level.

“I hope we keep improving and sending that message that we’re a top team, and we’re coming to play everyday,” Rubin said.

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Boys hockey team shoots for state