Lindsay Projansky watched hockey on TV and was instantly hooked on goaltending -- by the pads.
"I thought they looked really cool," she said.
But the first time she tried the position, she admits, "I hated it."
Projansky, though, stuck with it -- and on March 24 at the United Center, she anchored the co-op Lake Forest girls team to the state championship. Projansky stopped 12 shots as the Scouts skated past Fenwick 2-0 for the team's second title in three years.
"It was really exciting," Projansky said of the shutout win, which was played in front of about 2,000 fans. "I think we played a more defensive game. We blocked a lot of shots."
The Lake Forest win avenged last season's 1-0 state championship game loss to New Trier.
"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."
Projansky's hockey season isn't over. She was one of two goalies chosen out of 30 that tried out to represent the Central District (Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska) at the prestigious Pittsburgh High School Showcase this month. The Central District team opens play Thursday against Team New England. Projansky's team then plays Team Pacific, followed by Team Rocky Mountain. The championship game will be played Sunday.
Projansky's Lake Forest team also featured players from Libertyville, Deerfield and Woodlands Academy. Goalie Samantha Schechter and forward Theresa Shanley also attend Stevenson.
Bridget Roche scored at 8:39 of the first period, unassisted. Chandler Scocco (Caroline Knop assist) added the insurance goal at 9:34 of the second period.
"I was expecting to be back here, and I think most of the players on the team were as well," said first-year Lake Forest coach Liz Zorn, who captained Cornell's hockey team as a senior during the 2009-2010 season. She was assisted by Laura Danforth, who also skated for Cornell, and Sarah Gilbride, a junior on the Lake Forest College team.
"We were more of a team this year (than last year)," said Projansky, a traditional butterfly-style goal. "I'm quick, but small, so I come out of the net a lot."
Projansky also played for the Chicago Young Americans U16 team this season and she was a CYA state champion last year.
"It's a real big privilege to play on the United Center ice. That was neat," said Projansky, who previously played travel baseball in Buffalo Grove. "I think hockey helped me more for baseball than baseball for hockey. Being a goalie helped my fielding, or if I wanted to play catcher."
Lake Forest went 11-2-1 in Metro play this season, finishing 3 points behind league champion New Trier. Projansky allowed only 5 goals in 5 league games.
Her older brother, Jared, 17, a junior, was the leading scorer for Stevenson. He had 26 goals, 10 assists in 23 Scholastic League regular-season games, which was fifth-best in the league. He had 5 power-play and 4 game-winning goals. His season was highlighted by a 4-goal, 1-assist game last November against the co-op Rockford Icemen, who skated past the BG/H/W Stampede 2-1 in overtime for the Combined Division state championship at the United Center.
Jared, though, didn't attend the state championship games at the United Center. He was still too upset that the Patriots had been eliminated from the state tournament by Benet, 2-0, in the Sweet 16.
Jared and Lindsay were teammates at both the pewee and bantam levels.
"I think he really helped me because he was my biggest critic," she said. "If I did something wrong, he would tell me, whereas other people might not say anything."
Lindsay went to about 20 Stevenson games this season.
So what about goalie pads?
"They're still cool to pick out, she said, smiling.