An offensive flurry during the second period by Cleveland St. Ignatius proved to be too much for the Dublin Jerome High School hockey team to overcome March 9 in a state semifinal at Nationwide Arena.
The Celtics, making their second state tournament appearance, gave up three second-period goals and lost to the Wildcats 6-1.
Trent Belli scored the lone goal for Jerome, which finished 29-7-3.
St. Ignatius’ Bain Kurtz tied the record for goals in a state semifinal with four, as the two-time defending state champion Wildcats improved to 29-9-1 and advanced to play Toledo St. Francis in the state final at 2 p.m. March 10 at Nationwide Arena.
St. Francis beat Hunting Valley University School 3-1 in the other semifinal March 9.
“I don’t think we played our best today and Ignatius is a strong team,” Celtics coach Pat Murphy said. “Our second period wasn’t very good. We had five shots on goal after two periods and we made some mistakes defensively that we never make. … They made us pay for it today.”
With 7:49 left in the second period, a shot by Kurtz bounced off of goaltender Harrison Graff and into the net to give St. Ignatius a 2-0 lead. It appeared that Mic McCaffrey scored on a rebound but the goal was credited to Kurtz.
Just 1:07 later, Eric Lile scored off a pass from Aedan Conway to give the Wildcats a 3-0 advantage.
Jerome answered 24 seconds later with Belli’s goal, which was assisted by J.P. Weaver and Brian Wheeler. The Celtics nearly scored again a few minutes later on the power play, as a shot by Evan Shea hit the post.
Less than two minutes later, Kurtz scored on a breakaway to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 4-1 with 2:19 remaining in the period.
St. Ignatius, which added goals by Alex Bilardo and Kurtz in the third period, outshot the Celtics 35-16.
“I felt like (our) goal got the crowd back into it,” Belli said. “It was pretty unfortunate we couldn’t (cut it to 3-2).”
St. Ignatius took a 1-0 lead with 5:13 left in the first period when Kurtz’s wrist shot went over Graff’s shoulder. The goal came just 30 seconds after Jerome killed a penalty.
Graff finished with 29 saves.