Preps Talk

Cirrincione, New Trier shut out Lake Forest for IHSA championship


Cirrincione, New Trier shut out Lake Forest for IHSA championship

By Matt Harness
Eileen Harris admitted playing at the United Center for the first time overwhelmed even her.

The states player of the year said it took one period for her and her New Trier teammates to get comfortable with their surroundings in Fridays Blackhawk Cup state final.

Morgan Crane broke the scoreless tie with her team-best 42nd goal midway through the second period, and top-seeded New Trier made it hold up in its 1-0 win over defending state champion Lake Forest. It was the Trevians first title since 2009 and seventh overall.

We needed to get that one goal to make us relax and get into a rhythm, said Harris, who will play at Amherst College next season.

Shortly after the Scouts killed New Triers power play, Crane skated free before sending the puck past Lindsay Projansky with 7:17 to go in the second period.

Morgans one of our sharpest players, and we always look to her in big games, said Harris, one of eight seniors and a two-year varsity member. As a freshman, shes really carried her weight. I was just sad I was not out there with them for that goal.

Lake Forest applied pressure in the third period, but the Trevians beat back the effort. New Trier (29-3-5) earned its third win over the Scouts (26-7-4) this season and ended up unbeaten in five games against Lake Forest.

New Trier outshot Lake Forest 22-12 in the game. Senior Lexie Cirrincione notched the shutout in goal.

Lot of posts, Lake Forest senior forward Jessie Gould said. We needed more shots. Its pretty upsetting. Yeah, its frustrating.

Gould ended her career by playing in three consecutive state championships, taking home the title last spring.

I was really blessed, she said. I had great coaches, great teammates. It was an honor to be part of this program. Truly amazing.

Id love to do it again.

Stagg's Kyle Neputy leads through action during offseason

Stagg's Kyle Neputy leads through action during offseason

While many athletes talk about leadership and the importance of being a leader, others let their actions do the talking. One of them is Stagg senior quarterback Kyle Neputy (6-foot-4, 234 pounds).

Neputy, who is signed and will play this fall at Cornell, participated in last year's annual Franklin Middle School Charity Dodgeball tournament. The tournament had such a positive impact on Neputy and his fellow Charger teammates that they decided to rally together and support a worthwhile cause for a second straight year. 

I had a chance to catch up with the Kyle Neputy at the sixth annual Franklin Middle School Dodgeball Tournament in Wheaton. Proceeds from the event benefited the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Cammy Can, Jack’s Army and Franklin Middle School. 

Neputy shares why he and his Stagg teammates decided to support the event. He also had a chance to reflect on making the move to Cornell later this year.

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

For the first time in a decade, the Blackhawks officially will not be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at the United Center, the Blackhawks will be sitting at home mid-April instead of looking to add to their trophy case.

Exactly 366 days before, the Blackhawks actually became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth, also the result of a game against the Avs:

The last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs, Denis Savard was the coach and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were just 19 years old in the midst of their rookie seasons.

The next year, Joel Quenneville took over as coach after four games and led the Blackhawks all the way to the Conference Finals.

Of course, the following year (2009-10 season) brought the first of three Stanley Cups.

For perspective on how incredible this stretch has been for the Blackhawks, here's how the other professional Chicago sports teams spent 2008:

—The Bears finished 9-7 in Matt Forte's rookie year (he's since retired) with Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback and Lovie Smith as head coach.

—The Cubs led the National League in runs scored en route to a 97-win regular season...before falling flat against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Lou Piniella was still the manager and Theo Epstein was still three years away from coming to Chicago.

—The Bulls found some incredible luck, pulling the No. 1 overall pick and selecting Chicago native Derrick Rose. He helped the Bulls to a 41-41 season as a rookie under coach Vinny Del Negro.

—The White Sox lost to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS after winning the AL Central under manager Ozzie Guillen. Carlos Quentin enjoyed a breakout season (36 HR, 100 RBI) while Gavin Floyd won 17 games. 

The Blackhawks still have eight games left before the 2017-18 season ends April 7.