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Glenbrook North usually finishes practices with a shootout session, which gives the Spartans a chance to hone in their scoring moves on breakaways.
Nick Day, however, often uses a move that’s become a little predictable – a version of the slow speed, deke-filled combination that Blackhawks star Patrick Kane famously used last season to beat the Minnesota Wild.
“Our goalies stop it all the time,” said Glenbrook North forward Jonathan Gauger, who watched Day convert on it Saturday night for a game-deciding shootout goal to beat Loyola Gold 2-1 at American Heartland Ice Arena. “They only stop it because they’re always ready for it, though.”
Loyola goalie Jordan Reizen didn’t really have that advantage when facing Day in the third round of the shootout. After Ryan Slovis and Loyola’s Zach Scholl both scored in the second round, Day put the Spartans up 2-1 leading off the third by slowly skating in from center ice and using multiple dekes before putting a quick wrister over Reizen’s left pad.
Glenbrook North goalie Nathan Berger (45 saves) then sealed the victory by making two saves against Harrison Armstong – who was stopped on his initial attempt but got a second attempt because Berger wasn’t back in his crease in time on the first one.
It didn’t matter.
Armstrong started losing the puck before Berger poked it away for the win. Loyola (16-12-2) has now dropped the last three games against Glenbrook North, all by 2-1 scores, after taking the first meeting 3-2 in the season-opener back in September.
In this one, Loyola took a 1-0 lead on Zach Scholl’s power-play goal just 1:20 into the second before the Spartans responded four minutes, 40 seconds later to knot it 1-1 on a goal by Gauger. That set up a wild third in which Berger was busy and made some great saves to keep the game tied – including several from point-blank range.
“Their goalie just stood on his head in that third period,” Loyola captain Nick Schaefer said. “That’s basically what it came down to in another 2-1 game.”