The Dublin Jerome High School hockey team was a victim of a couple bad breaks during a 4-3 overtime loss to Olentangy Liberty in the district final March 2 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The third-seeded Celtics, who were seeking their first district championship, finished 27-9-3. The top-seeded Patriots improved to 26-5-5-1 and advanced to play defending state champion Sylvania Northview in a state semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday, March 8, at Nationwide Arena.
The state final is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at Nationwide Arena.
Jerome lost in the district final for the third consecutive year. The Celtics lost to Liberty 3-2 in double overtime in 2011 and lost to Olentangy Orange 3-2 in quadruple overtime last season.
"Liberty got a couple of good bounces in this game and we didn't catch many breaks, but there are no excuses for this loss," coach Pat Murphy said. "The bottom line is we had plenty of chances to score more goals and we didn't finish them. Give Liberty credit because they took advantage of their opportunities."
Liberty scored its second goal late in the first period when the puck deflected off an official and directly to forward Ethan Hollingsworth, who was alone in front of the net and lifted a shot over the left shoulder of goaltender Connor Willette.
The Patriots' second break occurred during a Jerome power play in the third period.
Moments after defenseman Sam Franklin rang a shot off the left post, forward Chase Rose poked the puck past Liberty goaltender Cam Perry for a goal that would have tied the score at 3 with 11 minutes, 8 seconds remaining.
However, after a lengthy discussion between the officials, the goal was waved off because one of the officials had blown his whistle before the puck had crossed the goal line.
Jerome took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Franklin just one minute into the game and went ahead 2-1 on a goal by forward Jeff Davison later in the period, but the score was tied at 2 entering the second period.
Liberty took a 3-2 lead when forward Brock Rumbaugh scored on a power play with 2:24 left in the second period, but the Celtics answered with a power-play goal by forward Tommy Parizek with 6:05 left in the third period.
Patriots forward Noah Allmaras scored the winning goal 3:33 into overtime by tipping a rebound past Willette.
"We spent more than half of the second period in the penalty box, but we generated a lot of great chances in the third period," said Murphy, whose team outshot Liberty 12-4 in the third period.
"We put ourselves in position to win the game, but we just couldn't bury that one last goal that we needed. I felt good going into overtime because we had out-chanced them throughout the third period and I felt like we were on the verge of scoring again."
Willette finished with 18 saves.
"Dublin Jerome's a great team, but our guys played with a lot of heart and gave a great team effort," Liberty coach Jack Hoogeveen said. "We had the will to go to the net and score."