Varsity Hockey rolls through Leyden, heads to state championship

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Varsity Hockey rolls through Leyden, heads to state championship

A faceoff in the second period after a Justin Howard save. He had 23 saves on the night.

A faceoff in the second period after a Justin Howard save. He had 23 saves on the night.

Nate Burleyson

A faceoff in the second period after a Justin Howard save. He had 23 saves on the night.

Nate Burleyson

Nate Burleyson

A faceoff in the second period after a Justin Howard save. He had 23 saves on the night.

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Once the game was pushed in the favor of the Warriors there was nothing Leyden could do. A goal six minutes into the game by Waubonsie junior Will Troy opened the scoring and the goal 18 seconds later by Metea senior Jack Flood busted it open. Then goals by Andrew McCoy and another one by Flood put the game away. The Metea/Waubonsie Warriors Hockey team is headed back to the United Center to play in the state championship game after bouncing Leyden 4-1 on Tuesday.

The Edge Ice Center in Bensenville was packed with fans from both sides. Warriors fans took the 40-minute trip out to support their team despite an 8:45 p.m. start. The team made sure to not waste anyone’s time. Six minutes into the game they were up 2-0. “I just say Willy T driving wide and he gets a lot of speed. I just tried to get to the net. Luckily enough the rebound was there so I just put it in,” Jack Flood said.

The second period included two penalties on both sides. Despite the time spent in the box for the Warriors, they didn’t let up a shorthanded goal. “The beginning of the year our biggest problem was taking dumb penalties and losing momentum very easily. I think throughout the year we’ve been able to keep ourselves calm in those tight situations. And realizing that we can beat any team as long as we play our best,” Flood said. The resilience shown by the team was enough to stay hard on defense.

After the final horn blew and the team was in the locker room, deja vu set in. It was only about a year ago that they won the semi-final at the same arena. Their trip to the championship ended in a 7-2 defeat to the hands of BG/H/W, the team they knocked out last week. This year it all looks to be a different story. “We’re just excited to be here and excited to be in the moment. We know we have some unfinished business at the United Center,” head coach Jeremy Dombro said.

The team in that semi-final last year was Glenbard, to whom Waubonsie/Metea are no strangers. The JV Warrior team beat Glenbard in the state championship in 2014 as well. The heated rivals are going to be playing on the biggest stage for a championship. “At this point, it’s embracing it. [Glenbard] is the other best-combined team in the state and we’re ready for them. And that we have what it takes to beat them,” Dombro said.

For a player, taking on a rival is exciting and somehow adds more to the euphoria of the state championship. “We’ve played Glenbard a lot this year to some pretty good games. It’s definitely exciting to play a rival and it should be a pretty good game,” Flood said.

It will certainly be a revenge game for both sides. The state championship game will be played on Friday, Mar. 22, 9:15 p.m. at the United Center.