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Hockey is something brand new to Soldier Field, with the first game being played Friday. High-scoring affairs are also something new to Libertyville/Vernon Hills, a team that has prided itself all year for its defense. But on Saturday, the Icecats treated their fans braving the cold in the iconic home of the Chicago Bears to a 6-3 rout of a struggling Oak Park-River Forest team.
The Huskies (6-24-1) opened the scoring with a George Brennan goal at the 8:39 mark, but all it did was inspire Libertyville. The Icecats turned on the pressure for the next six minutes and their efforts were rewarded with a Patrick Quinn goal from point-blank range off a nice assist from Jake Segall.
The second period was uneventful until the final three minutes. In a blurry of goals, the Icecats (12-13-7) took the lead with 2:50 left in the period after Scott Miller tapped in a deflected puck into an open net. 54 seconds later, Husky forward Brian Mooney tied the game with a devastating slap shot before Tyler Garret gave the Icecats a 3-2 lead with 1:05 remaining.
“We’ve been involved in low-scoring games all year, most decided by a goal or two,” said Icecats head coach Shawn Brown. “But it’s nice to get an offensive output like this. Only once this year did we score more goals in a game.”
Jack Murphy sealed the game for Libertyville with his first goal of the season less than a minute into the third period, releasing a slap shot from just past the blue line that never touched the ice as it ripped past the goalkeeper’s glove into the upper right corner of the net.
“It’s exciting to get my first goal at Soldier Field,” said Murphy.
According to Murphy, it was the hardest slap shot he ever took.
“I didn’t really think too much about it. I was just trying to get it on net and past the defenders,” said Murphy.
For Chris Considine, who scored the fifth Icecat goal off a perfect center pass from Dan Nekich a few minutes later, the experience was an unexpected one.
“Watching the Bears play here as a kid, I never thought I would end up playing hockey here one day,” said Considine. “This is one of the best stadiums in the world and playing in it was amazing.”
Brennan said he is disappointed with his team’s outing but the experience outweighs the loss.
“I wish we would have played better, but this was a once in a lifetime thing,” said Brennan.
The Huskies' Nicholas Rorres and the Icecats' David Quinn rounded out the scoring.