COLUMBUS — Northview ran out of puck luck on Saturday night as the Wildcats' bid for another thrilling comeback and a second straight state championship fell short.
Northview couldn't seem to catch any breaks in a 3-1 setback to Shaker Heights in the state title game.
Northview trailed 1-0 early before senior Nick LaPlante tied it in the first period. But Shaker Heights scored late in the first period and never trailed before a crowd of 2,348 at Nationwide Arena.
“Obviously it's disappointing,” LaPlante said. “Some of the pucks didn't bounce in. But we gave it our all. It's unfortunate things didn't go our way but we will keep our heads high.”
The Wildcats (27-7-1) were looking to defend their 2012 title after rallying for wins in the district final and state semifinal.
Shaker Heights (28-7-0) captured its fourth state championship and first since 2001.
“That's a good hockey club we played,” Northview coach Mike Jones said. “We didn't play the Little Sisters of the Poor. We have nothing to be ashamed off. These kids worked their tails off.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Northview falls short
Senior Zander Pryor and junior Kooper Carter assisted on LaPlante's power play goal. Sophomore Ian Clement provided a perfect screen in front of Shaker Heights goalie Eric Sterin.
Northview goalie David Marsh was strong in the second and in the third to keep the Wildcats in it and the junior finished with 20 saves.
“He showed up and that's what we needed him to do,” Jones said. “He got us to this game and kept us in there.”
The Wildcats had a two-man advantage for 1:21 late in the game but couldn't beat Sterin (25 saves).
“Sometimes it's puck luck,” Jones said. “Sometimes you get bounces and other days you don't.”
The Raiders added a power play goal for some insurance with 9:13 left.
“We couldn't ever breathe a sigh of relief,” Shaker Heights coach Mike Bartley said. “We knew they came back against St. John's and they have players that can take the puck to the net. There top two lines are very dangerous.”
Northview outshot Shaker Heights 26-23. But the Wildcats fell behind just as it did in the state semifinal before rallying to win.
Two odd man rushes ended in first-period goals for Shaker Heights.
A Northview turnover resulted in a solo breakaway for Shaker Heights and the Raiders took a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Greenberg got free and scored on a slap shot just 3:02 into the game.
But Northview then went on a power play just 38 seconds later and the Wildcats struck right back. LaPlante scored on slapshot from just inside the blue line to make 1-all at the 4:51 mark of the first.
But a two-on-one breakaway resulted in Shaker Heights' second goal. The Raiders went up 2-1 with 2:22 left in the first. John Longman scored his 42nd goal when he got free with Connor Siwik.
Northview's Zack Galecki nearly scored on a rebound four minutes into the second, but was stopped and also injured on the play.
Moments after Drew Crandall's shot from down low went wide, Xavier Sudlow tipped two shots just wide for the Wildcats.
In the third, Northview had a power play 37 seconds into the third, and Crandall nearly scored. The Wildcats had several good chances but Sterin made two good stops.
Following a big hit by Clement, the Raiders had a shorthanded breakaway and Marsh made a great save with 10:56 left. But Clement went to the box and the Wildcats killed off 1:48 of a 5 on 3 advantage.
Shaker Heights then had its third goal initially disallowed but the ref ruled it good after a review as the Raiders took a 3-1 lead with 9:13 left.
During a two-man advantage, the Wildcats peppered the Raider net with pucks but couldn’t get one past in the net.
Moments later Caleb Rau was robbed on a solo breakaway by Sterin.
Jones, who is in his fifth season, lost 10 players from the state title team.
“Sometimes it's sweet and sometimes it's sour,” Jones said. “Unfortunately this year is sour.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.