High School Ice Hockey Championship Ends in Tie After Seven Overtimes
Two Ohio high schools will share this year's state ice hockey championship after battling through seven overtimes on Saturday without ending up with a victor.
In the interest of player safety, the head coaches of Saint Ignatius (Cleveland) and Sylvania Northview (Sylvania) agreed with administrators of the Ohio High School Athletic Association to end the 1-1 contest before starting an eighth overtime period. It's the first time in Ohio ice hockey history that two teams will share the state title.
There is no national high school ice hockey rule for ending a game in a shootout. Thus, with players battling severe fatigue, coaches and administrators from both schools collaborated with OHSAA officials following the seventh overtime before declaring the game a tie.
"This is an opportunity to show that wins and losses, even in a state championship game, are not more important than player safety," the OHSAA said in a statement. "Had a player been seriously injured in the eighth overtime due to fatigue, the decision to allow the game to continue would have been seriously questioned more than the decision to end it."
While both teams may be forced to share the title, each squad set a state record of some sort. Sylania Northview goalie David Marsh notched a championship-record 77 saves, while Saint Ignatius set a championship-game record with 78 shots on goal. It was also the longest championship ice hockey game in state history and the second-longest ice hockey game (of any sorts) in state history.
After the game, Saint Ignatius coach Pat O'Rourke told reporters that he would have rather played 1,000 overtimes than have the game be decided by a shootout, according to The Plain Dealer.
"I know my boys would have kept playing," O'Rourke said. "I know their boys would have kept playing too but, at some point, the adults have to step in."
The Plain Dealer captured part of O'Rourke's postgame press conference:
Maybe the players were inspired by the release of the 300 sequel. Regardless, the school administrators involved in the decision to call off the game deserve credit for prioritizing player safety over personal glory.
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