Nobody lost — and two teams were declared winners — after a marathon, seven-overtime high school ice hockey state championship game in Columbus, Ohio.
Cleveland St. Ignatius and Sylvania Northview fought through regulation and seven overtimes tied 1-1 on Saturday. David Marsh had a championship-game record 77 saves for Northview (17-13-2) in the longest title game in state history. Dylan McKeon had 31 stops for St. Ignatius (30-4-6).
Then, according to the sanctioning Ohio High School Athletic Association, both head coaches, school administrators and the OHSAA decided the game at Nationwide Arena would end in a tie because of concerns about player safety for the two worn-out teams.
"We were noticing kids struggling getting on and off the ice, kids helping other kids get their legs over the boards and kids that were cramping up," Dan Ross, the commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, told The Dan Patrick Show on Monday.
Ross said he approached by an athletic director, who said that students were having problems staying hydrated after playing the equivalent of more than two games.
"We had two good coaches and two good administrators," Ross said. "I think with high school rules dealing with safety and the (importance) of health, and I think everybody put their heads together and tried to make the right decision for the health and safety of our kids."
There is no shootout procedure in Ohio high school hockey. Ross said that the governing body would explore different solutions, but he didn't believe coaches would want to adopt the shootout rule.
Ross admitted, however, that in hindsight, he would have considered suspending the game and completing it at a later date — possibly a week later — but that, too, could create complications with teams and fans having to travel long distances to Columbus.
Still, despite the unpopular resolution, Ross came away impressed with both clubs.
"It was the best high school hockey game I think I've ever seen," Ross said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.