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New Trier Green’s Matthew Garcia (No. 65) tries to prevent Loyola Gold’s Hayes Williams (No. 44) from taking a shot on goalie Jack Junge during the Quad Header.

photography by jon durr

Loyola Gold, Axel come up roses ■ by bill mclean

sports@northshoreweekend.com His name is Axel. But figure skating is not his game. Hockey is. Loyola Academy Gold forward Axel Lifvendahl did not execute a joyous axel jump after a game on Dec. 14, for two reasons: Figure skating judges weren’t at Winnetka Ice Arena. It would have been a cumbersome act, with all that hockey gear covering his frame. But the senior captain had no problem displaying a smile that was slightly smaller than a goalmouth. He had scored a goal and fed an assist in a 6-3 defeat of reigning state champion New Trier Green in front of a packed, raucous crowd at the annual Quad Header game. “What a great environment; I love this kind of atmosphere,” said Lifvendahl, named after a great-great uncle. “We showed we can perform under pressure.” Only 2:47 separated Lifvendahl’s assist and goal in the third period. He deftly avoided a moving obstacle — a referee — before sliding a gorgeous pass to forward Danny O’Grady, who beat NT Green goaltender Jack Junge. Lifvendahl then gave LA Gold a 5-2 lead with 11:33 left in the final period. Zachary Scholl provided the assist. “[Scholl] and I have good chemistry,” Lifvendahl said. “We had made eye contact before the goal.” LA forward Ryan Hill netted the only goal of the first period, on an assist from forward John Buck. In the second period, LA defenseman Jacob Skarzynski struck for a pair of goals. The second — a scant 1:33 after the first — bloated Gold’s lead to 3-0. Skarzynski got mobbed by thrilled teammates near center ice. “We were playing well,” Loyola coach DJ LaVarre said. But NT Green (22-4-1) got right back in it, thanks to goals from forward Matt Solberg and defenseman Graham Soman. LA (11-2, with two shootout losses) led 3-2 after two periods. “One team had all the momentum then,” LaVarre said.

Yes! Yes! After scoring the final goal of the game, Loyola Gold’s Dan O’Grady (No. 22) celebrates with his teammate Zach Scholl.

photography by jon durr “We were sort of searching at that point. I looked at it as a challenge. I told our guys, ‘This will be a good test for you [in the third period].’ ” Gold needed only 2:40 to secure a 4-2 advantage in final period. “The fourth goal was the backbreaker,” NT Green

assistant captain Brad Glass said. “Those two goals we scored [in the second period] … they gave us some energy. “Our effort wasn’t there. We didn’t make smart plays. Maybe we were too hyped up.” A power play goal from NT Green forward Jason Kuker cut LA’s lead to 5-3, with just under seven minutes remaining. Loyola’s O’Grady joined Skarzynski as a two-goal scorer in the final minute, notching an empty-netter. “Crazy game,” LaVarre said. “Not getting down on ourselves after New Trier scored those two quick goals was key. New Trier is so good, so talented. You have to smother that team’s speed and talent. “If you give their players room on the ice,” he added, “they’ll exploit you.” LA goaltender Nicholas Bolino got the win. Hill, forward Ryan Nolan and defenseman Cal Callahan each had an assist for the victors. “It was a team win,” LaVarre said. “All 20 showed up. And they never gave up.” One of LA’s 20, Lifvendahl, emerged from a locker room, beaming. He was 10 minutes removed from an on-ice celebration. Gold’s members, with their sticks up, had skated near a glass partition, where their fans were in full lather. Voices roared. Glass shook. Lifvendahl relished every second of the moment. He had started preparing for it months ago. “Axel,” LaVarre said, “dedicated himself to hockey [in the offseason] like never before. He’s a leader. That’s why he’s a captain.” Notable: NT Green’s assists came from Glass, Brent Segvich, Matthew Kenyon and Chris Bower. … NT’s state championship last winter was its seventh in 14 years. … NT Green assistant coach Lenny Munson filled in for NT girls varsity coach Nelson Forsberg after the NT Green-LA Gold game on Dec. 14. The girls topped Loyola 5-2 at Winnetka Ice Arena. Munson’s daughter, sophomore defenseman Tay Munson, scored a goal in the first period. … NT’s Glass, a member of the school’s service board, tutors underprivileged students in Evanston. “I enjoy it,” he said. “Each time I go, it’s a chance to change someone’s life for the better.” ■

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The North Shore Weekend EAST, Issue 63  

The North Shore Weekend (East Zone) is published weekly and features the news and personalities of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfiel...

The North Shore Weekend EAST, Issue 63  

The North Shore Weekend (East Zone) is published weekly and features the news and personalities of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfiel...

Profile for jwcmedia