COLUMBUS — The upstart and gritty Northview Wildcats ran smack right into a nicely-oiled device Friday as top-ranked Cleveland St. Ignatius rolled to a lopsided 7-zero win in an Ohio High School Athletic Association nation hockey semifinal game at Nationwide Arena.
St. Ignatius (26-10-0), the three-time defending state champion, jumped out of the gate quickly, seizing a four-zero lead after one period. It added an electricity-play purpose within the 2nd and tacked on extra goals in the 0.33.
“That’s probably now not the begin you want, for positive,” Northview coach Steve Elliott said. “There were a little little bit of nerves playing towards a group that has been right here 3 years in a row. It’s tough to play from behind towards a crew as sturdy as them. But as we’ve accomplished all year, there was zero stop. We played all the manner to the very last horn.”
Northview (thirteen-15-6), the No. 10 team within the nation, had 9 of its eleven photographs in the final two durations. It had earned a spot inside the very last four for the 12th time in program records; the group captured country titles in 2012 and 2014 and returned to the country semifinals after a 4-yr absence.
The former time the teams met in Columbus, in 2014, it was a sport for a long time. They went toe-to-toe for seven overtimes earlier than it turned into declared a tie with the score 1-1.
But on this one, it became all St. Ignatius, which outshot Northview 28-11, including 12-2 in the pivotal first period.
St. Ignatius will play Dublin Jerome (35-three-0) within the state championship sport at 11 a.M. Saturday. Jerome has become the first Columbus-place crew to develop to the very last, beating University School 3-2 in additional time within the other semifinal.
St. Ignatius train Pat O’Rourke credited Northview for its speed and physicality.
“We’ve played them a couple of times down here,” O’Rourke stated. “They constantly paintings difficult and are available at you in waves. They play hard. They like to hit. It’s right Toledo hockey. It’s speedy-paced and tough-hitting.”
Northview sophomore goaltender Tyler Clem, who finished with 21 saves, become busy early as a large and supportive student section loudly cheered the younger goalie’s every store.
Junior Cam Kurtz scored two times within the first, along with the first one 4:09 into the sport. Clem already had made two massive saves before Kurtz beat him low.
St. Ignatius then scored dreams 29 seconds apart to grab a three-0 lead. It took a 2-zero lead on a rebound goal from Alex Bilardo after the first shot hit the post.
Eric Galauner gave St. Ignatius a 3-0 lead, then Kurtz scored again to put his Wildcats up 4-0 with 4:13 left inside the first.
A couple of massive hits were doled out by Northview’s Jake Ruehle early in the duration and through Jimmy Roberts late.
Senior Justin Baden had both of Northview’s first-length shots. Baden, one among seven seniors, posted a team-high three shots on aim.
“We’re brothers. We got here in here and fought. I’ll continually remember the fact that. I’m so happy with the lads,” Baden stated. “It changed into splendid to look all that guide.”
Northview had electricity-play possibilities inside the 2d. It generated some stress with the primary guy benefit, getting two photographs on aim.
Bilardo scored his second of the game, on a power play with 2:45 left inside the second, to make it five-0. Charlie Erbs scored with 10:13 left in regulation, and Pat Eppich had a shorthanded intention with five:55 remaining.
Senior goaltender Benny Savarino finished with 11 saves for St. Ignatius.
Northview senior captain Trevor Klee finished the season with eleven desires and 18 assists for 29 points.
“It was without a doubt nice to come back go into reverse right here. These boys are everything to me. I’m proud of them,” Klee stated.
Senior Alex Miller stated his group fought to the end.
“We went in with an excellent mindset,” Miller stated, “and I would not take it back for whatever. I love them a lot. This one hurts.”
Elliott, in his 1/3 yr on the helm of the storied program, stated the help from the community and student body turned into second to none.
“They are widely known throughout the country of Ohio as one of the most powerful student sections inside the nation,” he said. “They get consistent accolades from the Ohio High School Athletic Association as ‘The North,’ as they name themselves. That is what you find if you have a school community group. People want to rally round it. The North continually represents. It’s pretty unique.”
Northview performed in 14 games that resulted in a tie or have been decided via one purpose. It crowned St. John’s Jesuit 4-2 to win a district name March 1.
St. Ignatius, which performed directly one team from Ohio for the duration of the typical season, is in search of its 5th kingdom name in six years. The crew additionally gained the championship in 2000 and 2010.
Elliott said his team fought through adversity at some stage in the season.
“Our 19 younger guys have achieved it the proper manner as a public college,” he said. “They are a group of young men that all stay within 5 miles of every other. They’re gambling in a Catholic school global, and that they represented our college, our network, and their parents with the person, fee, and admire.”