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After battling through three periods and seven overtimes, Saint Ignatius and Sylvania Northview are declared Co-Champions of the 37th Annual State Ice Hockey Tournament. Deven Stover's buzzer-beating 3-pointer sends the Basketball 'Cats to the Sweet 16.

By Eddie Dwyer, 03/08/14, 12:00AM EST


Columbus, Ohio - In what will go down as one of the most dramatic and test-of-time discussed Championship Games in the history of Ohio High School Ice Hockey, Saint Ignatius and Northview battled for three periods and seven overtimes on Saturday afternoon and evening before Ohio High School Athletic Association Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D., announced to the crowd in Nationwide Arena that the game would end in the 1-1 tie and both schools would be designated as OHSAA State Champions for the 2013-2014 season.

Here is the official release from the OHSAA: "After the seventh overtime, the head coaches, school athletic administrators and OHSAA administrators had a lengthy discussion. Many players on both teams were
seriously fatigued and neither coach or school administrator objected to ending the game before the eighth overtime began.

By national rule, there is no shootout procedure in high school hockey.

While the decision is being questioned by fans, the OHSAA commends the coaches and
school athletic administrators in reaching this decision together without conflict.

This is an opportunity to show that wins and losses, even in a state championship game, are not more important than player safety. 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."

From the Corner: Saint Ignatius (30-4-6) and Northview (17-13-2) had already set the state record for the longest Championship Game before the game was called and were about to tie Ohio's all-time record, regular season or postseason, of eight overtimes (2007 Solon versus Aurora).

The Ice Cats came out of their locker room and onto the ice for what they thought would be an eighth overtime. Northview did not come out of its locker room.

Northview, which was defeated by Saint Ignatius, 4-1, in the March 2010 State Championship Game and lost two and tied one in three regular-season meetings with the Ice Cats this winter, got a State Championship Game record of 77 saves from its big-hearted and gifted senior goalie David Marsh. Marsh totaled 41 saves in the seven overtimes.

Saint Ignatius, which spent most of the seven overtime periods at Northview's end of the ice, only to be turned away by Marsh, tied the score 7 minutes and 15 seconds into the third period on a goal by senior forward Danny Brogan off an assist from senior forward and captain Beck Schultz.

Northview took a 1-0 lead 6 minutes and 42 seconds into the first period on a lamp lighter by senior wing Jacob Koback off helpers from senior wing Cody Estrel and junior center Josh Koback.

Saint Ignatius head coach Pat O'Rourke '90, who was treated to 31 saves from his sophomore goalie Dylan McKeon, made it clear in the post-game interviews that he had no objections to the OHSAA's decision.

Saturday's Co-Title is Coach O'Rourke's second State Championship. A Scott Pick-coached Saint Ignatius team also brought home a state crown in 2000. The Ice Cats were making their sixth state final four appearance this weekend.

Northview won the state championship in 2012 and was a state runner-up in 2013, 2010, 2006, 1990 and 1982.

Here is more on the "epic" battle on the ice between the Wildcats from Saint Ignatius and the Cats from Northview.

As he met with the media following Saturday's seven-overtime, will-tester against Northview in the OHSAA State Championship Game at Nationwide Arena, Saint Ignatius Head Hockey Coach Pat O'Rourke described what just took place as "Crazy, insane."

"We were involved in a six-overtime game a couple of years ago against St. Eds," said Coach O'Rourke. "It was a District Final and we lost that one. So I kind of knew some things about lack of gas and stuff I wish I didn't.

"Both teams played great," Coach O'Rourke continued. "I think we had the better play a little bit, we outshot them (78-32). But their goaltender (David Marsh) was outstanding. We probably wouldn't be sitting here as co-champions if we had a better shooting percentage today. It's something we'll never forget and kind of a weird ending, but I understand the rationale (in ending the game) totally and trust Dr. Ross completely that it was a basic issue of player safety at some point."

Coach O'Rourke added that he was told the 101 minutes (three 15-minute periods and seven 8-minute overtimes) that Saint Ignatius and Northview went at it were just four minutes off the national mark of 105.

"We kicked around the idea of going another overtime or two, but ultimately we were looking out for the students," Coach O'Rourke said. "Like I said, if we made shots earlier it wouldn't have been a problem."

When the question came up about the game moving to a shootout format, Coach O'Rourke answered politely, yet emphatically. "I would rather play 1,000 overtimes than see it come down to a shootout," he said.

Under the national rules that the OHSAA abides by, the game could not have gone to a shootout.

It's a team sport," Coach O'Rourke said. "I know my boys would have kept playing. I know their boys would have kept playing too, but, at some point, the adults have to step in."

St. Ignatius' Danny Brogan and Dylan McKeon emphasized that despite the disappointment they felt the moment the decision to end the game was announced by Dr. Ross, they realize it was the right decision.

As the good-natured Brogan said, the Ice Cats set out to be state champions this winter and they accomplished that goal.

"Obviously, it was a great game to be part of," Brogan said. "Right now, I think it stinks (ending in a tie), but in the long run it was probably what was best for all of us."

Coach O'Rourke supported an aspect of the game that this corner felt was overlooked because of the play of Marsh, and that was the outstanding job McKeon turned in again.

"It can't be lost in all of this," the veteran coach said with a wide smile.


*Coach Sean O'Toole's fourth-seeded Varsity Basketball Wildcats (20-6) rode a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer by smooth sophomore guard Deven Stover to a 67-64 victory over third-seeded Berea-Midpark (21-4) in Saturday's Division I District Championship Game at Midview.

Deven tossed in 25 points, including a 4-for-5 effort on 3-pointers, in leading Coach O'Toole's team to Thursday's Regional Semifinal match up with West Side rival St. Edward (22-2) at the University of Akron. The tip off from James A. Rhodes Arena will be 7 PM.

Thursday's game will mark the third meeting this season between the Wildcats and the Eagles. St. Edward won on the Eagles' Coach Jim Connors Court, 61-34, on Jan. 18 and Coach Eric Flannery's team rallied to a 73-70 overtime victory at Sullivan Gymnasium on Feb. 8.

Saint Ignatius started strong against the Titans from Berea-Midpark, a team that defeated the Wildcats, 70-61, on Jan. 24 in front of a packed house on Bagley Road.

The Wildcats moved to an early 22-2 lead and led, 23-7, after the first eight minutes.

Coach Duke Barther's Titans came storming back and won both the second and third quarters, 20-12 and 18-12. Berea-Midpark's outstanding senior guard Alex Brown finished with a game-high 29 points.

It was a see-saw battle in the fourth quarter, before Stover stepped up big with his game winner. Deven was 6-for-9 from the field, including his four 3-pointers, 9-of-12 from the free-throw line, grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists.

Saint Ignatius also benefitted from 10 points and 4-for-5 shooting from the field by senior forward and captain Isiah Barbra, 17 points and 7 rebounds from 6-7 senior post and captain Eric Black, 9 rebounds from senior forward and captain David Black, Eric's twin brother, and nine points, seven assists and 4-of -6 shooting from the field by senior point guard and captain Danny Bova.

The 'Cats hit on 22 of their 39 shots from the field, an effort that included 6 hits on 10 3-point attempts, and they were 17-of-28 from the charity stripe.

*Note: The corner will be previewing Thursday's Regional-Semifinal match up with St. Edward this coming week.