THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo
COLUMBUS – The Northview hockey team will bring home the school's first team state title in any sport as the Wildcats knocked off perennial powerhouse Lakewood St. Edward 5-2 in the championship game on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore Cody Estrel scored two goals and both came in the first period when Northview built a 2-0 lead at Nationwide Arena. Junior Drew Crandall and senior Dalton Carter each added goals, while senior Zach Felser had two assists. The Wildcats' Nick LaPlante added an empty net goal with six seconds left.
Goalie Austin Gryca finished off an undefeated senior season with 27 saves. Gryca (16-0-1) was strong and at times spectacular, only yielding one goal.
St. Eds entered the game with a record 11 state titles, while the Wildcats were seeking their first. Northview had finished second four times (2010, 2006, 1990 and 1982).
Sophomore Jacob Koback also had an assist on Estrel's second goal, which was a perfect display of the team's smooth puck movement.
Northview (31-1-3), which finished the regular season ranked No. 2 in the final state poll, wrapped up the season with an 18-game winning streak.
It is the second straight title captured by a team from northwest Ohio and second time in a row that St. Edwards lost in the final. St. Francis de Sales won the first state title in school history with a 2-1 win over the Eagles last year.
The Wildcats' second goal of the contest was a perfect display of the team's skill with smooth puck movement and unselfish play.
St. Eds got two goals from Gabe Lampron. Lampron scored the game winner in the Eagles' 3-2 overtime win over University School in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Eagles finished with a 24-15 edges in shots on goal. But Gryca was perfect in the first and second periods. Gryca made several saves late in the game to protect the three-goal cushion.