The Olentangy Liberty High School hockey team lost to defending state champion Sylvania Northview 4-2 in a state semifinal March 8 at Nationwide Arena.
Northview, ranked fifth in the final state poll, improved to 27-6-1 and advanced to face Shaker Heights (27-7) in the championship game at 7 p.m. March 9 at Nationwide Arena. Fourth-ranked Shaker Heights defeated Rocky River 4-2 in the other semifinal March 8.
Eighth-ranked Liberty, which finished 26-6-5-1, led 2-0 after the first period. The Patriots struck early, as senior forward Kyle Horner scored 2 minutes, 1 second into the game with assists from senior forward Ethan Hollingsworth and junior forward Chris Bergamesca. Senior forward Noah Allmaras scored the second goal with 7:18 left in the period with assists by junior defenseman Nick Kouskouris and sophomore forward Brock Rumbaugh.
“We came ready to play,” coach Jack Hoogeveen said. “We got the first two goals, and perhaps that woke (Northview) up a little. We knew they would come back and they showed us they were in the game as well.”
Northview tied the game at 2 with second-period goals by forward Drew Crandall and forward Zander Pryor and took a 3-2 lead with 5:15 left in the third period on a goal by forward Nick LaPlante. On the go-ahead goal, freshman goaltender Cam Perry was screened by Wildcats forward Xavier Sudlow.
Pryor added an empty-net goal with .7 of a second remaining.
“Our kids didn’t give up and they have a lot of heart and will,” Hoogeveen said. “We just weren’t able to get in that tying goal.”
Perry finished with 19 saves and Northview goalie David Marsh had 18 saves.