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BGHW hockey dominant in preparation for run through state playoffs

By Bob Narang (Pioneer Press), 01/30/18, 9:52AM CST

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BGHW's Gavin Spahr celebrates after scoring against PREP on Thursday in Rolling Meadows. BGHW won the game 5-1. (Brian O'Mahoney/Pioneer Press)

T

he BGHW hockey team is about as hot as can be.

The Stampede, who draw players from Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Wheeling, recorded a 5-1 win against PREP on Thursday at the West Meadows Ice Arena in Rolling Meadows.

PREP includes players from Prospect, Rolling Meadows and Elk Grove.

Forward Paul Kruchten scored two goals to lead the Stampede past PREP. The Stampede (37-14-2) have posted a 22-2-1 record in their last 25 games, coach Chris Waters said.

 

"We're having a really good season," Waters said. "Everybody gets along, plays well together and we have good chemistry. That's the biggest difference this season."

The Stampede own numerous quality wins, most notably a 2-0 victory against Glenbrook North. They also tied New Trier Green 4-4.

"Those games showed we can compete with the top teams on a daily basis," Waters said. "That was the first time we beat GBN."

Most of the players come from Buffalo Grove and Hersey, and the Stampede have taken the Illinois High School Hockey League by storm this season. BGHW is 21-3-2 in the IHSHL North Central Champions division despite losing six key players from last season's team.

Connor Kelly, a Buffalo Grove senior, leads the team with 57 goals and 35 assists. Eric Kurpiewski, an Arlington Heights native and Hersey junior, has scored 35 goals and dished out 22 assists. Buffalo Grove senior Gavin Spahr has 18 goals and 20 assists.

After playing club hockey for the first two years of high school, Kelly is in his second year in the BGHW program.

"Connor is our captain, somebody we rely on a lot on the ice," Waters said. "He's a big kid and a hard worker. Eric is really fast and one of the fastest players that I've ever coached. He just blows by people, and he's really developed a lot this year and become one of the top players in our league.

"Gavin is a big boy. He hustles a lot, and we rely on him for being a physical presence and scoring. He leads our power play a lot and is a great shot."

Waters said the Stampede played a tough schedule this season to prepare for a shot at winning the Blackhawk Cup in March. He cited the development of sophomore goalie Evan Wurzbacher.

"Our goal is to win a state tournament every year," he said. "It seems realistic when we are the No. 2 seed for the tournament. We have played a very hard schedule among the teams in our bracket. I don't think anybody can beat us. We have a lot of good players, a good young goalie in Evan.

"Having a young goalie is tough in our conference, but he's risen to the occasion in almost all of our big games. He's been very important for us this season."

Bob Narang is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

Twitter @Pioneer_Press