“It’s Not the Worst Thing”: St. Ignatius Coach Talks State Title Tie
CLEVELAND – Back at home, St. Ignatius hockey coach Pat O’Rourke’s voice reveals a lot about his weekend.
He’s hoarse from yelling so much at the state’s high school hockey championship game.
But the tone of his voice doesn’t sound like a man whose team was just named a state champion in Columbus.
“It’s not the worst thing,” O’Rourke said quietly, before adding, “eventually, we’ll come around to having a parade or a rally at school.”
St. Ignatius battled Sylvania Northview through three periods and seven overtimes on Saturday to a 1-1 tie.
Before the eighth overtime, both coaches huddled quickly with their athletic directors and state athletic officials.
“They were talking about maybe having a team forfeit and that certainly wouldn’t be right after playing ten periods of hockey,” O’Rourke said. “So they basically called it a tie, and awarded the title to both teams.”
St. Ignatius, which dressed more players, had its team back out and ready to start the next overtime period.
Coach O’Rourke agreed to the decision to name co-champions, but still had to go tell his players.
He said his players were disappointed, but he added that it’s hard to disagree with “player safety.”
That was the reason given by the Ohio High School Athletic Association in announcing the tie.
In a release that acknowledged that some fans questioned the call, the OHSAA said had a player been seriously hurt due to fatigue “the decision to allow the game to continue would have been seriously questioned more than the decision to end it.”
The decision set up a surreal scene, where both teams took photos with the championship trophy, but neither team was celebrating.
Northview’s goaltender, David Marsh, stopped an incredible 77 shots in what was the longest championship game in history.
It’s not the longest game ever. Aurora beat Solon 2-1 in eight overtimes back in 2007.
And, in case you’re wondering, there is a national rule against deciding high school hockey games through shootouts.
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