WEST DUNDEE – The hockey matchup between the D-155 Predators and Crystal Lake South had everything – a crosstown rivalry, thrilling goals, a stirring comeback, a family divided on each side and even a little rough stuff to further rile up the packed rink Sunday night at the Leafs Ice Centre.
What it did not have was a winner.
South played an inspired third period and erased the Predators’ three-goal lead, but that was how it stayed as they finished with a 3-3 tie in their Illinois High School Hockey League game.
It was a tie that, given the situation, the Gators may have felt a little better about after the final period.
“It’s like a win,” South coach Rich Perillo said. “When you’re down three, and there’s one period left, and we score three? Yeah, it feels more like a win.”
The Predators, who draw players from Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge, outplayed the Gators (16-12-3 overall, 8-4-2 IHSHL) for the first two periods. Brennan Kelly slipped between two defenders and flipped a shot past Gators goalie Garrett Brayden in the first period for the lead.
Kelly then assisted on Sam Gentges’ goal for a 2-0 lead, and the Predators’ Ben Letto scored a short-handed goal in the second to make it 3-0.
“It was a crazy game,” Kelly said. “We got a bunch of fans from Prairie Ridge and Central, and a lot of South fans came, too. We got the lead, and they came back. It’s rough, but they’re a really good team. I played with a lot of these guys since I was young, and they’re just all really good players.”
South defenseman Evan Jewson leaped off the ice to catch a puck, dropped it and rocketed a shot past Predators goalie Seth Frankowski for the Gators’ first goal, early in the third period.
It provided the necessary spark, as forward Michael Helm scored 42 seconds later from behind the goal line.
“It was a rebound, the goalie came out a little bit,” Helm said. “I was trying to hit it off his back, and somehow it went in. That just explains this game. It was a crazy game, crazy atmosphere, very fun.”
South’s Midas Bacidore scored with 4:28 remaining, and Brayden turned away some tough third-period shots to keep the Gators tied.
Adding to all that was Mike and Dominic Tanzillo playing for the Gators and their father, Frank, on the Predators’ bench as assistant coach. The Predators (11-5-3, 7-4-3) thought they had a late goal, but it was waved off because the net was dislodged from its moorings.
“We played well,” Predators coach John Lenzi said. “We picked it up in the middle part, but we may have gotten a little comfortable with a three-goal lead. We have a very good, solid team. We’re in a lot of tight games. This league is very competitive.”