Fenwick downs OPRF, wins Hruby Cup

by Lauren Recchia January 16, 2024

Game two of the Hruby Cup series between Fenwick and OPRF’s boys hockey teams did not disappoint fans who braved the cold to attend.

The Friars (23-25-0) got past OPRF with a 3-2 victory in overtime Sunday night at West Meadows Ice Arena, as defenseman Joe Krzak launched a shot from the left side with 2:08 left to play in the extra frame.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Krzak said. “I owe it all to [forward] Will Pabst, he gave me the puck and set me up for a great opportunity. As soon as he passed it, I knew I was going to go up. I was waiting for someone to go after me, and I took the time and went up in the zone and ended up burying it.”

The Huskies (8-21-3) got on the board early, as defenseman Griffin Wesley notched a goal in the first shift of the game. OPRF extended their lead with another goal from Wesley from the right side with 13:43 left to play in the third period.

Oak Park and River Forest’s Joseph Kahn (11) tries to clear the puck from his zone against Fenwick’s Arden Tantaro (9) during the Paul Hruby Cup at West Meadows Ice Arena Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 in Rolling Meadows. | Steve Johnston

“[Wesley] scoring that goal right away for us was huge,” said Huskies head coach Mike Murphy. “It was fantastic to get up on that team. This was our Super Bowl, and even though we lost, for our guys to have the class and character that they did was huge.”

Fenwick answered with a goal from forward Christian White from the right side with 8:31 left to play in the third period, and with 6:01 left to play the Friars tied it up on a goal by forward Johnny Sena from the left side to knot the score up at 2-2.

“I told the boys that it was time to work [in the third period],” Krzak said. “I understand that we didn’t have the best first or second period and that’s OK, but that’s why it’s a three-period game and it gives you the ability to come back. It was nice.”

OPRF goalie Cole Jackson notched 34 saves for the Huskies, including 18 in the first period, keeping his team in it until the end.

Fenwick’s Harrison Sramek (21) takes a shot on goal against Oak Park and River Forest during the Paul Hruby Cup at West Meadows Ice Arena Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024 in Rolling Meadows. | Steve Johnston

“[Jackson] played amazingly,” Murphy said. “He kept us in it, we played our best hockey in all three periods.”

With the victory, the Friars secured their second Hruby Cup win in a row, after winning game one of the series previously. Fenwick head coach Nick Fabbrini and the rest of the Friars team were proud to take the trophy home in what is always a very competitive rivalry series.

“It was a great game with a great crowd,” Fabbrini said. “We had a great student section even though we played away from Oak Park. That’s what high school hockey is all about. Coach Hruby has done so much for hockey at both Oak Park and Fenwick, and for the whole Oak Park community. Anytime you get to pay homage to a local legend like that, it’s great for the program.”

The Huskies were also proud of their great start to the game and how they’ve been continuing to build this season.

“I’d love to win some more games, but this year was really about making sure we have a good culture,” Murphy said. “We really did a good job of that; the kids have been on their best behavior. For them to be in that emotional situation in this game and still carry themselves the way that they did, it’s a mature and under-control program we have right now.”