Sudden death overtime in hockey is exciting, especially when it's with a championship on the line. But sometimes it's not very sudden as the games can go on and on without a goal before it's finally decided.
Even rarer is when sudden-death overtime ends without a goal but that's what happened in the Ohio state hockey championship game on Saturday. In the tournament final, Sylvania Northview and Cleveland St. Ignatius came away as co-champions after playing to a 1-1 draw after three regulation periods and seven -- SEVEN! -- scoreless overtime sessions.
Just before they could begin the eighth OT, coaches and school administrators from both sides had seen enough. In the interest of player safety, the game was called over and the two schools shared the title, the rare case of everybody winning when nobody won.
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.
It might not sit well with everybody but it's tough to really argue against the decision. Professional athletes would have a difficult time playing an 11th period, let alone high school athletes. The players were frustrated when the decision was made but said afterward it was a good call. Hey, at least they all left as champions.
What's rather amazing, though, is that Northview was able to keep the game tied at 1-1 through all those overtimes. Their goalie David Marsh faced 78 shots on the day, stopping 77 of them. Of course that is a record in the state. The final shot total? It was in St. Ignatius' favor by a 78-32 margin. After the first period Northview had 24 shots on goal ... in nine periods.
You can see a little more on the game including some photos from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.