The varsity high school ice hockey teams at St. Ignatius and Sylvania Northview both entered Saturday's Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus looking to be crowned the state's best.
After combining to play what is sure to be remembered as one of the most heralded games in Ohio prep ice hockey history, both teams accomplished their goal in the most unpredictable manner.
With the game tied 1-1 after seven overtimes, OHSAA administrations and coaches and administrators representing both schools agreed to end the contest, declare it a tie and crown the two squads as co-champions.
Player health and safety were the reasons cited for the unusual result, which was announced just before the game's eighth overtime was scheduled to begin.
"Many players on both teams were seriously fatigued and neither coach or school administrator objected to ending the game," the OHSAA said in a prepared statement while announcing the decision on its Web site. "Had a player been seriously injured in the eighth overtime due to fatigue, the decision to allow the game to continue would have been questioned more than the decision to end it."
By national rule, there is no shootout procedure in high school hockey.
The game marks the first time that the OHSAA has recognized co-state champions in ice hockey. St. Ignatius earned its program's third state title while Northview claimed its program's second state championship.
Even before its surprise ending, the title tilt was already headed for the history books. St. Ignatius set an OHSAA state ice hockey championship game record for shots on goal by one team with 78. Conversely, the 77 saves by Northview's David Marsh also set a new state championship game benchmark.
The game, which lasted several hours, set the record for the longest title game in OHSAA state ice hockey history and finished as the second-longest OHSAA ice hockey game of all-time.
Northview senior Jacob Koback netted the game's first goal 6:42 into the first period. St. Ignatius senior Danny Brogan recorded the game-tying score 7:15 into the third period.
The game's attention-grabbing ending earned the contest air time during a Saturday night edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter."
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