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After seven overtime periods, hockey coaches from St. Ignatius and Sylvania Northview agreed to share the state title as the OHSAA final ended in a 1-1 tie on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
Ohio High School Athletic Association commissioner Dan Ross announced the decision prior to what would have been the eighth overtime period, citing player safety. The decision came much to the displeasure of fans and players as the crowd booed and chanted, "Let them play!"
St. Ignatius players threw down their equipment before lining up to shake hands with their opponents.
During the postgame news conference, St. Ignatius player Danny Brogan and goalie Dylan McKeon said despite the frustration they felt in the moments after learning of the decision to end the game in a tie, they knew it was the right decision. They said they still feel they accomplished the team's goal at the beginning of the season, which was to win the state championship.
The game holds the distinction of being the second-longest in the history of the OHSAA, and the longest at the state final four. The longest game was an eight-overtime affair between Aurora and Solon on Feb. 18, 2007.
Coach Pat O'Rourke of St. Ignatius and coach Mike Jones of Northview both said they ultimately agreed with the call, although they considered trying to play one or two more overtime periods prior to the final decision.
When asked if he thought the game should have gone to a shootout, O'Rourke said he'd rather play 1,000 overtimes than see it come down to a shootout. Per a national rule, the game could not have been decided by shootout, anyway.
"I hate shootouts. It's a team sport," he 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."
Jones said he did not think it would have been appropriate to continue, as several players on both teams were dealing with cramps and struggling to stay hydrated.
The decision is not unprecedented. In 2008, the Michigan High School Athletic Association called a tie in the Division I final after eight overtimes between Marquette and Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
St. Ignatius outshot Northview 37-20 in regulation and continued to be the aggressors on offense in overtime. Northview was only credited with 12 shots on goal through the seven overtime periods while St. Ignatius added another 41 to the team's total during that same time for a total of 78 on the day.
Northview goalie David Marsh set a record for most saves in a state final with 77. McKeon saved 31 of 32 shots he faced for St. Ignatius.