LAKE BARRINGTON – It took just 9.6 seconds for Kyle Buresch and Prairie Ridge to shift the momentum of the game and deflate the loud, home crowd.
WIth 32.2 seconds remaining in the second period of the Wolves’ 3-1 Scholastic Hockey League victory, the junior forward dug out a puck that was trapped on the boards and flipped a backhander past Barrington goalie Phillip Gilroy to tie the score at 1.
That goal alone breathed life into a frustrated Wolves team that saw its first 16 shots turned away by the Broncos’ junior goalie, but Buresch wasn’t done.
He won the ensuing faceoff and skated just past the blue line and fired a slap shot over Gilroy’s right shoulder to take a 2-1 lead.
“We just kept trying to get the puck on the net,” Buresch said after the Wolves’ victory over the Broncos at the Barrington Ice Arena. “I just got lucky on those goals [Gilroy] really deserves all the credit in the world. He is a fantastic goalie so we just tried to keep shooting on him and luckily we got three to go in.”
“I pulled him aside before his shift and told him to go get me a goal,” Wolves coach Rick Rewiako said. “But he got me two. And trust me, that’s tough. That goalie (Gilroy) stood on his head tonight and made some remarkable saves.”
Up until that point, the Broncos were playing with a 1-0 lead that came with 7:06 to play in the first when Ryan Khalil scored on a power play. The puck was blocked by Wolves goalie Alex Hentz, but a rebound found Khalil’s stick and he was able to finish to take the early lead.
Though Prairie Ridge trailed by only one goal, the lead seemed much greater as Gilroy turned away just about every shot he faced. He finished with 36 saves.
But even when facing one of the toughest goalies in the area, Rewiako was confident his top line of Buresch, Gavin Tarazi and Sean Van Damme could generate some points.
“Buresch is a natural scorer, and it showed on those two quick goals,” Rewiako said. “And when he is with [Van Damme] and [Tarazi], they can score.”
The trio has combined for 95 points this season in a little more than 30 games and provided an offensive threat Wednesday night by being able to consistently generate shots with tight centering passes and shots from the point.
While the Wolves (17-11-4, 5-7-2 SHL) went 0-3 on the power play Wednesday, their penalty kill unit played outstanding, denying three of four, including late in the third period when the Broncos pulled their goalie to send six attackers.
Defenseman Pat Biewald played a large role in clearing the front of the net as the Broncos (3-9-2 SHL) tried to create traffic in front of Hentz.
The win is the Wolves’ third over Barrington in four tries this season. The only loss came in a shootout.
“I love playing against Barrington,” Buresch said. “Especially when it is at [Barrington Ice Arena] because the fans always make it fun and it’s nice to play in a place with an exciting atmosphere sometimes.”