By D.J. Wanberg
The Naperville area high school hockey season came to a close Thursday night. Naperville Central may be out of it, but the future looks bright for next season.
Naperville Central lost to Barrington 5-1 in a second-round Blackhawk Cup game at The Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville.
The Redhawks had a strong first period and took a 1-0 lead, but could not repel a Broncos' onslaught of five unanswered goals.
With 14 players expected back on the Central roster for the 2008-09 season, the Redhawks' future, like the other Naperville area teams, is bright.
And the teams will aim to end a mini-drought of no Naperville area squad getting past the second round of the Blackhawk Cup since the 2005-06 season.
The quarterfinals of the Blackhawk Cup are shaping up to be memorable as the first through sixth seeds remain.
On Saturday, top-seeded and defending state champ Glenbrook North takes on No. 8 Fenwick at 1:20 p.m. and No. 5 St. Rita battles No. 4 Stevenson at 3:15 p.m.
The winners advance to a 6:40 p.m. semifinal contest on Tuesday.
On Sunday, No. 2 New Trier Green plays No. 10 Prairie Ridge at 5:15 p.m. Barrington, the No. 6 seed, takes on No. 3 Loyola Gold, who sent home No. 19 St. Viator 8-1 in the late game on Thursday night., at 7:10 p.m.
The winners meet on Tuesday at 8:35 p.m. If the seeds hold up, a New Trier-Loyola Gold matchup on Tuesday could be the top highlight of the games up at The Edge with the teams having an obvious long history of playing each other.
The winners on Tuesday advance to the state title game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the United Center. The game will be televised on Comcast Sports Net on a delayed basis.