Junge excelling in Trevs’ net
In this Dec. 8 photo, New Trier goalie Jack Junge blocks a shot by Loyola's Michael Blasucci (10) during the first period. | Judy Fidkowski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 25, 2013 12:24PM
Jack Junge is different than a lot of elite golfers, who often have a carefully-devised plan for each hole on the course.
He’s also different than a lot of hockey goalies, who increase their odds of making saves by playing the angles and crafting a plan for every scenario.
“I’d say I’m more reactionary than calculating,” said Junge, a talented New Trier sophomore who is both an elite golfer and a talented hockey goalie at New Trier. “I like to take a situation and react to it. I don’t really plan stuff out ahead in hockey and I golf the same way. You can plan out as much as you want, but if you can’t hit the shot where you’re looking to hit it, your plan is done for.”
It’s no surprise, then, to learn that Junge had no master plan in mind for either sport at the start of this school year. As a freshman, Junge played at the JV level in both sports — which meant no state tournament experience in golf and playing at the lowest level among New Trier’s four hockey teams.
His sophomore year has played out much differently.
In October, Junge shot a 71 and tied for first with Deerfield’s Ian Kelsey at the weather-shortened Class 3A state tournament. More recently, Junge’s play in net has earned him a chance to be the No. 1 goalie for New Trier Green — New Trier’s top squad.
“Making the Green team was another big accomplishment,” Junge said. “After being on JV last year, I would’ve been happy if I’d just made the Blue team.”
New Trier coach Bob Melton, however, knew about Junge’s talent coming into this season.
“That’s (a) big jump going from JV to varsity at New Trier,” said Melton, adding, “But I really saw something in him last year. I watched a lot of the JV games and knew our goaltending position was wide open this year. Now, I see confidence in him. He’s relaxed and he has really played well lately.”
In 12 Scholastic League games, Junge has posted an impressive 1.83 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. The recent uptick in Junge’s game kicked in during a tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., in early January.
A few of the saves he made there even brought his teammates on the bench out of their seats.
“That tournament was really fun because the teams we played were just so good,” Junge said. “In our league, we don’t get very many games like that, where the puck is in our zone the whole time. So, I had a good opportunity to show to my teammates and (coaches) that I could make those kinds of saves.”