Make that lots of free hockey without a winner. Here is a perfect story backing up my theory on why hockey should add the shootout on all levels, if after numerous overtimes move on to a shootout. If the shootout is good enough for the NHL it is good enough for the amateur ranks as well. Championship are made to determine who is the champion of that league, conference or state.
8 OTs fail to decide hockey final
Co-champs declared in Michigan's longest prep hockey game
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PLYMOUTH -- When Tim Hooker scored the tying goal late in the third period of the Division I state high school championship game, little did the Orchard Lake St. Mary's forward realize he was setting the stage for the longest prep hockey game in Michigan history.
Hooker's goal with 1:32 left in regulation Saturday night at Compuware Sports Arena tied the score 1-1 in the title game against Marquette. After three 15-minute periods, the game remained tied, sending it into sudden death overtime.
Each overtime period was eight minutes long. But after eight overtime periods and still a 1-1 tie, Michigan High School Athletic Association officials opted to call the game and declare St. Mary's and Marquette co-state champions. The game ended 4 hours, 15 minutes after it started.
"We were so tired that we were feeling like ordering out some pizzas or something like that," Hooker joked. "We knew how the other team felt. Whoever wanted it more would win. I guess we both wanted it so much."
It was only the fifth overtime state finals game since the MHSAA started hockey state playoffs in 1975. Three of the previous games were in single overtime and only one went into double overtime.
When the game ended after 45 minutes of regulation and eight 8-minute overtimes for 1:49, MHSAA officials reported that it was the longest hockey contest in state history surpassing a recent Sault Ste. Marie-Petoskey game in regional action that lasted 1:32:34, with Sault Ste. Marie winning 2-1.
The MHSAA also said available records indicate that it could be considered the second longest game in national high school hockey history, trailing only an 11-overtime game in 1955 that Minneapolis South won over Thief River Falls, Minn., 3-2.
"I thought it was the best high school hockey game I've seen in my entire life," said Marquette coach Joe Papin, who said he had "mixed feelings" about the MHSAA's decision to stop the game. "But I understand the state's decision in not wanting to see anyone get hurt."
Orchard Lake St. Mary's had defeated Marquette 4-2 in last season's title game. St. Mary's ended the game with a 15-12-3 record while Marquette was 20-5-4. Those records, as posted by MHSAA, included Saturday's game as a tie, although Papin said he considers his team to have had a 21-win season.
"My first instinct would have been to play it out," said St. Mary's coach Brian Klanow. "But the decision was made and it wasn't up for debate. I look at it as a moment in hockey history that my kids and Marquette's kids were a part of."
Marquette, whose lone goal came in the second period from Mike Peterson had a 59-34 shots advantage. Ryan Morley-Stockton had 58 saves for St. Mary's while Jon Nezich had 33 for Marquette.
Orchard Lake St. Mary's was also a part of the longest football game in Michigan state finals history last November losing 46-39 in five overtimes to East Grand Rapids in the Division 3 title game at Ford Field.
Forward Shane Halass was on the football team.
"I rather it go into a shoot-out, but in the end, it's all good," Halaas told the Detroit Free Press. "It's better than if we lost. Everyone goes out a winner. It was different, but we're champions and we get rings."
Marquette had knocked Traverse City West out of the tournament with a 6-2 win in the regional finals at Sault Ste. Marie.
Traverse City Central lost to Division 2 runner-up Midland in the regional finals at Alpena 5-4. That game went four overtimes.