Stevenson enjoys the national second-place finish of the season

When you’re in Rome … buy cowboy hats.

That’s exactly what the Stevenson boys hockey team did during the recently concluded USA Hockey National Championships, which were held in the Dallas, Texas area.

In addition to buying cowboy hats (why not? It’s Texas), the Patriots got plenty of victories on their way to becoming number two in the country.

Stevenson (41-12-0-3), who previously won his first Illinois state title in the school-sanctioned program’s 29-year history, lost 2-1 to Pope Francis Prep of Massachusetts in the tournament opener before shooting four off. victories in a row to bring it into the national title fight. Stevenson lost to Shattuck St. Mary’s from Faribault, Minnesota 5-1 to finish second in the High School Tier 1 division.

“They’ve put a lot of work and effort into it,” said Stevenson coach Tom Wood, who has just finished his sixth year as head coach after 14 years as an assistant coach for his father, Jim, at the school. Woods brother, Dan, is a current Stevenson assistant.

“As a team, they bonded really well from the beginning of the season. They hung out together and did things outside of hockey. Teams that are really successful tend to like to hang out with each other and do things together. “It is by no means the closest team I have trained. Hard work, talent and good team spirit are what brought this team together.”

The cowboy hat shopping trip, Wood noted, was characteristic of the team’s behavior this season. “They were loose and they liked to have fun,” he said. “After our first match, we bought cowboy hats and we went to the rodeo. We had fun like we did all year.”


Wood said the size of the national tournament did not overwhelm the Patriots in the least. “It was more of a ‘We are here so we might as well seize the opportunity.’ It was a once in a lifetime thing. We might as well try to win it.”

Wood added that the team embraced the teachings of longtime Miami Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra.

“There was an article where Eric Spoelstra told his players before they went on a big run a couple of years ago that you have to behave like champions before you become champions,” he said. “We took that motto to heart. You will not become a champion if you do not work as one and behave as one. It was the team’s long-term goal that they did a really good job with besides working hard and making a lot of others “Good things about charity work. We won the school’s community service award, and we’ve never done that before.”

On the national team, Davis Jegers (7 goals, 3 assists), Dylan Jette (3 goals, 7 assists), Cam Schneider (9 assists) and Will Harlow (2 goals and 4 assists) led the way. Seniors Nolan Jones, Raffi Biedron, Jonathan Adler, Brody Stokes, Schneider, Mac Fitzpatrick, Beckett Cole and Tuggy Erdenebat provided exemplary leadership, Wood noted.

“We had a balanced team,” Wood said. “We had four attacking lines that could score, good top talent that could outcompete the other team’s top players. We had depth.”

Woods pointed out that Stevenson’s three all-state choices were scattered on the ice with Jonathan Adler (goalkeeper), Jones (defense) and Jegers (striker). Biedron, who had the game-winning goal in Stevenson’s overtime victory in the state quarterfinals, is the recipient of the Chicago Blackhawks scholarship, which takes into account factors such as community service and grade point average. Biedron has an average of 4.85 grade points (highest of any Stevenson winter sports participant).

Jones was an all-Scholastic Hockey League first-team pick, while the Jegers were a second-team pick. Stevenson had 11 players to score 10 or more goals with the Jegers (36 goals, 30 assists), Jette (28 goals, 34 assists), Brandon Schultz (21 goals, 9 assists), Biedron (18 goals, 17 assists) and Jones (16 goals, 21 assists) leading. Adler scored 2.64 goals against the average.

Stevenson also made history with his 5-0 win over St. Louis. Viator to win Amateur Hockey Association Illinois Red Varsity state title. Stevenson reached the championship game with a 7-5 victory over Loyola Academy Gold – one of the state’s most popular programs.

“We had a good run,” said Wood, who played in Stevenson and then helped train his brother at school. “This is the first group we took from beginners to seniors. Seeing them achieve what they did is amazing. It’s been super rewarding. A lot of people have put a lot of time and effort into coaching and out into the community. Stevenson- hockey is unique.We are one of the few schools in the state where hockey is a sanctioned varsity sport by the school.This is a testament to the players and parents and Stevenson High School.Many people have put in a The school has been very generous with funds that have enabled us to develop a good program. “


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