by Daniel Tiffany 42Fifty Staff Writer
In the inaugural first season for the Oswego Hockey Club, they have been quite successful. After winning the regular season conference title, they lost in the semifinals of the conference playoffs. Nonetheless, plenty more success then many had imagined. Oswego, still had their eye on one main goal: the state tournament.
Each year high school hockey teams are split into two divisions, the pure division and the combined division. The pure, features schools who only have kids from their school, traditionally, pure teams are better and get more attention from their school. The combined division features teams that have kids from multiple schools, getting less attention because it is not one schools team. Oswego, is a combined team made up of Oswego High School and Oswego East High School. Both divisions host their championship games at the United Center, home to the Chicago Blackhawks. Certainly a dream for many high school kids is getting a chance to play for a championship at the United Center.
This weekend, Oswego continued their quest for a state championship with their second round game against Wheaton West. Oswego is the 11 seed out of 27 teams within the combined division. Wheaton West is the six seed, and as expected, were the favorites to win. Oswego knew they were going to have to play their best game to earn a quarterfinal bid. These two had not met during the regular season, both teams knew they were going to have to play their game and stick to what they’re best at.
The game opened up at high speed, both teams were going all out. It was a playoff like atmosphere at the Edge Ice Arena, as many would expect. Wheaton West, being closer to the Edge, had more people in attendance. As both teams had their chances, West broke through with 5:31 remaining in the first period on a powerplay goal from their captain. The first period shots were 14-11 in favor of Wheaton.
Early into the second, Oswego was pressing hard with plenty of zone time, they recorded eight shots in a row before Wheaton was able to get one. However, on their second shot of the period, Wheaton West buried it. 2-0 West midway through the second. Once the Wheaton squad buried their second, it was an onslaught down in the Oswego zone. Oswego had been deflated, and though the score stayed 2-0, Wheaton West was dominating, the shots were 27-20 in favor of Wheaton West. They were one period away from a quarterfinal appearance.
After the intermission, Oswego had one period to get two. They had to take some gambles, but in a win or go home game, that’s the risk needed to win. During the third period, Wheaton West did a great job covering the middle of the ice, both in the neutral zone and defensive zone. Oswego was able to generate six shots in the period, Wheaton threw six shots on goal as well. This was until the final two minutes, Oswego was running out of time and was scrambling. They kept throwing shots on, but all were turned aside. With 54 seconds to play, West chipped the puck out and put the puck into the empty net to seal the deal.
Wheaton West won 3-0, ending the first year dream season for Oswego. Wheaton West moves onto the quarterfinals to play the AWF Renegades. For Oswego, it was a remarkable first season, they now will look to build off of it for the future.
Tiffany covers sports articles surrounding the community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the publication directly at email@example.com