Winter Hockey Preview 2022

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We switch from the courts to the ice. Is another Blackhawk Cup championship run in the cards this winter? Anthony Yench gives a closer look at hockey. This preview is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

Benet Academy

Starting off our hockey preview with the Benet Academy Redwings. It was another good season for the black and red as they finished off the 2021-2022 regular season with a 17-3 record. However, after winning the Kennedy Cup in 2021, the Wings were swept in the Kennedy Cup final last winter by St. Ignatius. In the red division of the Blackhawk Cup the team from Lisle turned a lot of heads when they beat a strong Glenbrook North team by a score of 4-3 in double overtime. Benet’s season would come to an end at the hands of the #1 seeded team in New Trier Green in the quarterfinals. A group of talented players from last season will be missed this season, such as Tommy Budreck, Christiano DiBenedetto, and Ryan Farago. Returning players like William Janus, Zandis Hoover, and Cole Rosenthal will be key  going forward this season. Currently, the Redwings sit with a 5-2-1 record in the CCHL. 

Naperville Central

The Naperville Central Redhawks had a tough season last year only winning three games. One of the highlights of the season was beating crosstown rivals Naperville North in a thrilling 4-3 game early in the conference season. This season will be a much different year for the Hawks. The club didn’t have enough players to put together a JV and varsity roster so this year the team will be competing in the JV level of the Illinois West Hockey League. Later on in the season when the AHAI state tournament starts, the Redhawks will be playing in the red division of the varsity tournament. Central will also be competing once again in the annual Carillon Cup.

Warriors Hockey Club

After having to wait two years to defend their state title, the Warriors Hockey Club came into the 2021-2022 season the favorites to defend said title. The team finished the conference season with an impressive 25-1 record winning yet another Carillon Cup and the Illinois West regular season crown. However, the Warriors got swept by Maine in the Illinois West Championship series. With the state title still up for grabs the Warriors started the Blackhawk Cup with a huge 6-0 win over District 155. Then taking down Libertyville and CC HS in the next rounds to move on to the Blackhawk Cup Final against familiar conference foe Wheaton West. In a closely contested game Ryan Burk scored the game winning goal to give the Warriors the 4-3 win and capture their third Combined Division Cup. The Warriors lost a good amount of talented seniors but some key returning players include Owen Cope, Ryan Burk, Jack Poidomani, and Evan Ziegler. Currently the hockey club has a 7-4 record. 

Naper Valley Warriors

Our lone girls hockey team is the Naper Valley Warriors. The squad is made up of players from all six of local schools and also players from Oswego, Oswego East, Plainfield East, and Bolingbrook. Competing in the Chicago Metro Girls League, the team started the season unbeaten in their first four games. They finished the season with a 7-10-1 record. The Warriors season ended in the first round of the playoffs to Barrigton by a scoreline of 5-1. Currently the girls sit at a 2-2-1 record. 

Naperville North

The Huskies of Naperville North had a strong season last year finishing the season with a 22-11 record. The team made it to the round of 16 in the Blackhawk Cup after taking down Marist and Neuqua Valley before eventually falling to #2 seeded Loyola Gold. The blue and orange took a massive hit to the roster this season after losing 13 seniors. Some of those players include Zach Zuspann, Ben and Nick Lombardi, Sean Denker, Patrick Hennessy, and Seth Rang. With only five returning players this year the Huskies are off to a rough 1-10 start but still have time to right the ship.

Neuqua Valley

Our final team is Neuqua Valley. The Wildcats had an up and down season last year. One of the highlights of the regular season was beating Lyons Township by a score of 12-1. In the Blackhawk Cup the blue and yellow took down Loyola Maroon by a score of 2-0 to advance to the round of 32. In the next round Neuqua played Naperville North and after a back and forth game the Huskies scored a last minute goal to knock the Wildcats out by a scoreline of 3-2. Good news for Neuqua is that a lot of players have returned this season including Rocco Romita who currently leads the Illinois West Hockey League with 18 goals so far this season. Along with key contributors like Trenton Fisk, Timothy Coggin, and Aidan Wysoglad the Wildcats are off to a 8-4 start and look ready to compete for the top of the Illinois West.

Check out the other previews here!