Glenbrook North coach Evan Poulakidas said he lost about 150 goals this season after graduating 12 seniors and three of his top scorers, each of whom knocked in about 50 goals apiece last season. Their early success had been somewhat of a surprise, but after his team’s 7-2 win over the Maine hockey club in the Holiday Hockey Classic Thursday, it’d be fair to say the Spartans won’t be surprising any teams in the near future.
“We played them before and it was much closer,” said Alex Merritt, who scored twice for Glenbrook North. “We know they can score but we knew we could handle their defense easily without skill. Coach just told us to get the puck in the net, get those dirty goals and stay by the net. Rebounds is how we were going to score.”
Glenbrook North (42-10-1) knocked in three goals thanks to Merritt, Jared Epstein and Mitchell Kasselman within the first seven minutes of play and it didn’t stop there. Chad Yale made sure he found the back of the net and Merritt knocked in another before ending the first of two 22-minute halves 5-0.
Yale came back and knocked one in three minutes into the second half. Shortly after, Maine (20-9-3) finally got on the board with a goal from Danny Kasch but the Spartans’ Nicholas Day responded with a goal with five minutes to play. Maine managed one more goal but with just forty seconds left the damage had already been done.
“We learned from our mistakes the last time we faced (Maine),” Merritt said. “We got lazy the first time, we’ve stopped being lazy, went full out and everyone was in it. That’s what we need for the rat of the tournament if we’re going to win.”