COLUMBUS – In the first four-on-four overtime in OHSAA state ice hockey history, it took just 54 seconds to determine a winner.
Robby Engoglia took a pass from Tommy Nook between the circles and buried it behind Grant Powell to give University School a 3-2 victory in double overtime Thursday in the first of two semifinals.
After the seven-overtime game two years ago, the OHSAA changed the rules for overtime. After one eight-minute, five-on-five overtime, the remainder of the overtime periods are played four-on-four.
That first four-on-four session didn’t even last a minute.
Nook skated around the net and slid the puck into the slot for Engoglia. He buried it and the celebration was on.
“Tommy was taking the puck wide, using his speed,” Engoglia said. “We talked about it all game. He came around threaded the needle, found my stick, I shot it, closed my eyes, and it went in.”
University School Head Coach Andre Lacroix said his team’s chemistry set up the game-winning goal.
“The guys know each other so well,” Lacroix said. “Tommy saw the opportunity to go behind the net and Robby came in late, because he knew what Tommy was going to do. When Tommy came behind the net, he just didn’t throw the puck away. He knew where Robby was.
The game wouldn’t have gone to overtime if not for the stellar work of Powell. He made save after save, including two big ones in the third period.
The first came on a shot that got behind Powell. Somehow, he reached behind him and with the butt end of the stick, cleared it before it could creep across the goal line.
Then, Powell faced a two-on-one. He went post-to-post to rob the shooter and keep the game tied at 2.
In total, he made 38 saves on 41 shots faced.
“We should have finished the game before then,” Lacroix said. “Guys were coming to the bench saying, ‘I can’t believe he made that stop.’ Their goalie played unbelievable.”
University School goalie Alec Silver also had a strong game, finishing with 24 saves on 26 shots.
“Alec made some great saves too when it was 2-1,” Lacroix said. “It could have gone the other way.”
A season-long strategy helped the Preppers when the game went to four-on-four overtime.
“Our plan was to put three forwards in the second overtime with one (defenseman),” Lacroix said. “We play that way during the season. Even when we have a penalty, I put three forwards and one D all the time. We go for it.
“The other team is always on the defensive because they don’t know what’s going to happen. We try not to shoot the puck down if we don’t have to.
University School will play St. Ignatius 2 p.m. Saturday for the championship. The two teams are both members of the Great Lakes Hockey League. This will be their fourth meeting of the season.
The first two were 4-0 shutouts for Ignatius, but in the most recent meeting in the championship of the Cleveland Cup, the Wildcats needed a late goal to seal a 5-3 victory.
Lacroix didn’t seem too interested in talking about his game plan for Saturday’s final to the assembled media.
“We’re going to change our system,” Lacroix said. “I’m not going to tell you. We have a practice (Friday). The media is not invited. We’ve got to change our system for the game on Saturday. We’re going to need to play better on Saturday.”
Thursday, March 10, 2016
@ Nationwide Arena, Columbus
University School 3, Dublin Coffman 2, 2 OT
D – 1 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 2
U – 1 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 3
FIRST PERIOD: Scoring – 1, Coffman, Luke Babner (Cam Fiorita, Michael Aman), 11:27. 2, University School, Alex Hoyen (Zach Goetsch, Henry Ettinger), 14:13. Penalties – None. SECOND PERIOD: Scoring – 3, University School, JD Clemens (Ryan Gorbett, Zach Goetsch), 0:34. 4, Coffman, Kyle Talebi (Ryon Malas, Mathew Riley), 10:06. Penalties – Michael Aman, Coffman (Roughing) 1:24; Ben Heller, University School (Tripping) 8:47; Zach Goetsch, University School (Tripping) 13:17. THIRD PERIOD: Scoring – None. Penalties – Cam Fiorita, Coffman (Holding) 4:32; Michael Aman, Coffman (Interference) 10:43; Mark Megerian, University School (Interference) 13:24; Michael Aman, Coffman (Roughing) 13:24. OVERTIME: Scoring – None. Penalties – Zach Goetsch, University School (Roughing) 2:44; Kyle Talebi, Coffman (Roughing) 2:44. DOUBLE OVERTIME: Scoring – 5, University School, Robby Engoglia (Tommy Nook), 0:54. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal: Coffman 5 – 12 – 5 – 4 – 0 – 26. University School 10 – 9 – 13 – 8 – 1 – 41. Power plays: Coffman 1 for 2, 5 shots. University School 0 for 3, 6 shots. Goalies: Coffman, Grant Powell (41 shots-38 saves). University School, Alec Silver (26 shots-24 saves). T: 2:11.
Matt covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.