Lakers win Chi Town Cup tournament

On Monday, Feb. 21, the Lakers won their first ever tournament.


Meryl Resurreccion

The Lakers celebrate earning first place.

The Lakers varsity hockey team made history last weekend at the Chi Town Cup Tournament. They played teams from all around the country, such as Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. They were the only Chicago team in the tournament besides New Trier high school’s gray team. They played a total of five games at the Darien Sportsplex. 

Their first game was on Saturday, Feb. 19 against the Potomac Patriots at 11 a.m. It was a great first win with three goals in the first period and another in the third period. The goals were scored by senior Braydon Salata, who had two goals, and two other Lakes Community High School students. Along with the four goals, there were also five penalties from the Lakers. Senior Jason Fogel had two penalties in the first and third period for interference and tripping. Salata also had a penalty in the second period for interference, and two other LCHS players each had a penalty. They all served a minute and a half per penalty. Because the Patriots needed two more goals to beat the Lakers, they pulled out their goalie with a minute left in hopes to tie up the game, however, they were unsuccessful, as the final score was 4-3 in favor of the Lakers.

Later that night, the Lakers had their first and final loss against New Trier. Salata scored the first goal a minute into the second period, and then sophomore Sam Hanes scored ten seconds later. By the end of that period, New Trier scored two more goals, tying the game into the third period. However, one of the Lakers’ Grayslake Central players scored a goal in their own net three minutes into the last period, eventually leading to their loss of 3-2.

On Sunday, Feb. 20, the Lakers faced the Miami Jr. Redhawks, and had a comeback game by winning 3-2. The team captain from LCHS scored their first goal at the start of the game. In the next period, Fogel scored their second goal, along with the Redhawks scoring  two goals in that same period. It was a close game, but Salata helped the team by scoring their winning goal with a minute and a half left in the game.

The Lakers made it to the second to last game later that evening. This game, with the Muskegon Junior Jacks Gold, determined whether or not the Lakers would continue to the finals. 

Salata scored their first goal in the middle of the first period, then Hanes scored the second goal going into the second period. Just before the Lakers were about to lose, senior Gavin Frank saved the team by scoring with two minutes left, forcing  overtime. With only a minute into OT, Salata scored the final goal from the Lakers zone, past their blue line, ending the game 5-4.

Monday, Feb. 21, was the peak of everyone’s weekend. The Lakers, yet again, had to face New Trier, whom they lost to days earlier. It was a very physical game, as the pressure rose between the teams. Fogel, Salata and the captain from Lakes all scored twice.

When we scored that [fourth] goal, I had a feeling that that was the goal that secured the victory,” Salata said.

Going into the third period, the score was 4-3 Lakers. Because Fogel scored their fifth goal, New Trier pulled out their goalie a minute left into the game to build a stronger defense and tie up the score. In a surprising turn of events, the team captain from Lakes scored their sixth and final goal with only nine seconds left with no goalie present, thus, winning the championship game 6-3. 

The vibes on the bench were high, and all the hard work put in the last 4 games had finally paid off and we were able to come home #1,” Fogel said. “In three of the five games, we were down a couple players, which meant we all had to step up and play hard the whole game, even though we were all exhausted.”

While it was a great day for the Lakers, they were unable to shake hands with the New Trier team and coaches, as all but three players walked off the ice as soon as the game ended. Despite the poor sportsmanship from the opposing team, the Lakers celebrated their win as they got their gold medals and championship cup, and congratulated their teammate Braydon Salata for winning MVP of the tournament.

The Lakers organization has never won any kind of championship until now, and hopes to do it again in the Irish South Bend Cup tournament in March.