Andrew Cole got a hand on the puck, just not enough.
The puck slipped past Cole, crossed the goal line, thus ending the storybook season for the BG/H/W Stampede, a mix of players from Buffalo Grove, Hersey and Wheeling.
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Rockford defeated the Stampede 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in the Combined Division state championship game at the United Center.
"The puck went up off my glove and rolled off the tip, then bounced in (the net)," said Cole, a junior who attends Buffalo Grove.
Andy Cropp, a sophomore, scored at 6:48 of overtime off a pass from center Ethan Turnipseed, a junior.
"It was a good game, a clean game. Good teams capitalize on mistakes, and we made a few. Still, we had a great season, with a great group of kids," said BG/H/W head coach Bob Wagner, whose team finished 40-7-2.
"I thought we had control of that game but just couldn't close it out. That's how hockey goes.
"I think the kids gave 100 percent. If we play them 10 times, I think we'd beat them six times. But we only got to play them once, and they got the bounce on us. I'm proud of the kids; they worked their butts off."
Added BG/H/W senior defenseman Mason Vamvakos (Hersey): "At the last second, we changed the play and we weren't ready. We weren't really set up and the referee dropped the puck.
"Everyone on the team played their hearts out, played 100 percent. I feel like we deserve better."
After a scoreless first period, the Stampede struck at 14:01 of the second period as sophomore Patrick Myers (Hersey) scored, assisted by junior John Cappuccitti (Hersey) on the power play.
"I think we were dominating them the first two periods," Vamvakos said.
Added Myers: "This is not the outcome that it should have been. I think we came into the game knowing we could win, but in the end it just didn't bounce our way. I don't think we wanted it as much as they did in overtime."
Cole stopped 26 shots, including 5 in overtime.
"This (is) such a heartbreaker," Cappuccitti said. "When they scored, I was like, no way, you've got to be kidding me. We played so well; we dominated the game.
"It was a heartbreaker."
Rockford goalie Emerson Colarossi made 17 saves, including 6 in the third period, but only 1 in overtime.
"We looked real nervous for the first two periods, but beared down," Colarossi said. "This was an amazing experience.
"At the beginning of the (season), everyone said we were going to win state, that we were going to prove that last year was a fluke, and I think we proved that tonight."
Rockford won 15 consecutive Combined Division state championships before falling to Waubonsie Valley last season. The Icemen finished 16-21.
"It was a big year, a big step for our team," Cappuccitti said. "I think we have a very good chance of coming back here next year, and I hope we see Rockford, because I want to beat them, real bad."
Rockford's Jonathan Pirrie tied the game at 1-1 with 12:43 remaining in the third period, beating Cole on assists from Austin Larson and Ted Schwebke.
Rockford's Cropp clenched the game-winning puck in his right hand about 30 minutes after leaving the ice while talking with the media.
"I'm speechless; that probably was the best experience of my life," Cropp said of scoring the game-winner. "It ran through my head a thousand times before the game, but I never thought it would actually happen."
Rockford coach Tim Mattila said the Stampede "played really well" and added that his club "looked nervous the whole game."
"They're a good hockey team, no question about it," Mattila said of the Stampede. "I thought we looked terrible for two periods. This wasn't a typical Icemen game."
The Icemen practiced for the United Center experience at the BMO Harris Bank Center, "and I think that helped, especially for our goaltending because the depth perception is different in arenas like this (as opposed to smaller rinks,)" Mattila said.
BG/H/W senior center Cody Turcotte (Buffalo Grove) was the last Stampede player to leave the locker room -- and he still had tears in his eyes.
"I didn't tie up my guy on the faceoff, and he got through and made that pass," leading to the goal, Turcotte said. "If I tie up my guy, he can't make that pass.
"It's frustrating enough to punch a wall. I'm in a very bad mood. This is the game I wanted; I wanted to lift that (state championship) trophy. There are no words to describe this feeling; I wish I could describe it, but I can't.
"We had the game in our hands. It was ours to lose, and we did."
The Stampede will lose eight seniors, but four of the team's top six forwards are returning, "so we'll be a strong team again next season," Wagner said. "I expect, and hope, to be here next year. No reason to think we won't be back here next year."
Bridget Roche scored at 8:39 of the first period and it proved to be the game-winner as Lake Forest defeated Fenwick 2-0 to capture the Girls High School Hockey State Championship on Sunday at the United Center.
Roche's unassisted tally was followed by a goal from Chandler Scocco (Caroline Knop assist) at 9:34 of the second period.
Lake Forest goalie Lindsay Projansky stopped 12 shots.
"It was really exciting," Projansky said. "I think we played a more defensive game; we blocked a lot of shots."
The Lake Forest win avenges last season's 1-0 state championship game loss to New Trier. Fenwick's Frances Flores made 16 saves.
"I think we were more prepared than last year," said Projansky, a sophomore at Stevenson who lives in Buffalo Grove. "To win the state championship, especially at the United Center, is so exciting; it's a great feeling."
Green wins Red:
Senior Brian Enriquez scored twice in a five-minute span of the second period, leading No. 2 New Trier Green to a 5-3 win over No. 1-ranked Glenbrook North for the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship (Red Division), played at the United Center.
He capped the 3-goal hat trick with :02 remaining to play into an empty net.
New Trier's Andrew Koch, a senior, scored the game-winner at 8:28 of the second period, and Koch had assists on 3 other Green goals. John McNally also scored for the Trevians.
Ryan Slovis, Ryan Maksimovic and Nicholas Day each scored for the Spartans.
This was New Trier's 11th hockey state championship and its second in three years. The Trevians (54-14-1) were 4-0 against GBN this season.