Well done Icemen ... ! Rockford Newspaper - http://www.rrstar.com/sports/x1683619758/I...ey-championshipIcemen Capture 13th Straight Title
SCOTT MORGAN | RRSTAR.COM
Posted Mar 12, 2009
BENSENVILLE — The Icemen fell behind Maine Township in the first two minutes of Wednesday’s Blackhawk Cup state title game, and Rockford goalie Joseph Panther was getting pelted by shots early on.
But the 12-time defending state champs did not get flustered. Instead, they got mad, and eventually ran off with a 6-4 win and their 13th straight AHAI state title.
“That one scared me a little bit, but mostly just got us all mad,” said Panther of the quick 1-0 deficit. He finished with 21 saves. “Once we got down, though, we just came together. No one panicked; we just got mad.”
Richard Anderson, one of Maine Township’s three all-state players, scored an unassisted breakaway goal 2:08 into the first period, giving the No. 2-seed early momentum. He had another goal in a crowd midway through the second, but that one came long after the top-seeded Icemen had stole control, and had taken a two-goal lead.
“Their first goal got us down, but not for long,” said Evan Welsh, Rockford’s leading scorer and one of two Icemen all-staters. “When we got three quick ones to answer, that was huge. We could tell they were stunned.”
Walsh — who had a hat trick in Monday’s semifinal and was one foot away from another Wednesday when his empty-netter sailed just wide with 20 seconds left — tied it up at 1-all with a little over two minutes left in the first period. He was able to corral a rebound off his own miss and jab it past Maine Township goalie Jack Rice.
Forward Trevor Edwards gave Rockford the lead with a rebound, a putback, a rebound and a putback, finally getting the last one past Rice. It was a lead it would never relinquish.
“We’re used to close games,” Tim Santopoalo said. “We know what to do.”
Santopoalo’s close-in slapshot goal with 6:51 left in the second gave Rockford a 4-2 cushion, but Maine Township kept the pressure on with a goal by Patrick LeBeau with three minutes to go in the period.
Ryan Lambdin’s unassisted goal — and ensuing sliding fist pump — at 9:43, and Nolan Burman’s one-timer a minute later gave the Icemen a 6-3 lead midway through the final period. Suddenly, the pressure was off.
LeBeau hammered in his second goal with a little over five minutes left to play, but that was as close as Maine Township would get to keeping Rockford from its ultimate goal: another title.
“They’re all great, but this one’s pretty sweet,” Rockford head coach Tim Mattila said. “We’ve got 10 seniors leaving, and what a way to send them off. These kids have really come a long way.”
Rockford finished with seven assists on six goals, all coming from different players. The Icemen had 46 shots on goal, compared with 25 from Maine Township.