HINSDALE — It felt more like a movie set than a soccer game. Two teams staging a dramatic finish under a cover of near-pitch darkness.
Every moment was stamped by the heightened drama. A great player made the difference.
Hinsdale Central senior goalie Wes Bergevin made a superb diving stop off elite Oak Park-River Forest defender Mavin Gill on the final attempt of the penalty phase shootout that preserved the Red Devils’ 3-2 victory Oct. 7 in Hinsdale.
The Red Devils (10-3-3, 5-0) won their 17th consecutive West Suburban Silver game dating to the 2011 season.
Hinsdale Central won the penalty kick shootout by an identical margin of 3-2. Hinsdale Central senior midfielder Bryan Loebig, the team’s fourth shooter, converted the game-winner and was formally credited with the goal.
Bergevin was the difference-maker. He blocked two penalty kicks and also forced another Oak Park-River Forest shooter to blast his shot over the top of the goal.
“You pick a side and you go for it,” Bergevin said.
“Every team hopes that you don’t have to go to [penalty kicks] and finish off the game that way. When you do, our players stepped up and I have to give props to our guys.”
Oak Park-River Forest (8-5-1, 2-2) had its season-best five-game winning streak snapped. The Huskies fought back twice from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 in regulation to force the two overtimes and eventually the penalty shootout.
The Huskies gained the early advantage in the penalty phase as defender Quentin Drane and midfielder Paul Clancy both converted their kicks. Hinsdale Central missed its first attempt, and the Huskies held the early edge.
Hinsdale Central rallied as three consecutive shooters, defender Evan Floersch, midfielder Justin Li and Loebig finished their efforts. Lanky 6-5 Oak Park-River Forest goalie William Dunne stopped the Red Devils’ final shot, giving the Huskies an opportunity to extend the shootout phase.
Bergevin ended the night.
“I cheat to one side and hopefully they go to that side,” he said. “I knew if I saved that, we’d win the game. So I just take it one at a time and see what happens.”
Oak Park-River Forest made no excuses for the conditions.
“Darkness was definitely a factor, especially in the penalty kicks, but we were so pumped up with adrenaline, it didn’t really matter that much,” junior Oak Park-River Forest midfielder Evan Kinder said.
His left-footed blast in the 76th minute tied the game at 2-apiece.
Freshman forward Andrew Barkidjija, who was recently elevated from the sophomore team, provided a spark for the Huskies. He recorded his first assist on Kindler’s goal and scored his first goal in the 50th minute on a rebound shot.
Hinsdale Central led 1-0 at the break on a rebound ball by Mitch Collins in the 37th minute. Will McGowen’s header in the 53rd minute gave the Red Devils a 2-1 lead.