Zander Pryor celebrates in front of Northview fans after scoring the game-winning goal against St. John’s in the district championship.
For the fifth consecutive season, a hockey team from northwest Ohio made a run all the way to the state championship game.
Northview showed poise and determination to make it back to the title game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
The defending state champion Wildcats rallied to upset St. John’s Jesuit in the district final, then came back from an early deficit to knock off Olentangy Liberty in the state semifinals.
But the bid at a repeat ended in the final with a 3-1 setback to Shaker Heights.
Northview (27-7-1) represented the district at the state tournament for the fourth time in the last eight seasons. The Wildcats played in the state final four for the third time in the last four seasons.
Senior forwards Zander Pryor and Drew Crandall led the way offensively. Pryor tallied 66 points with 21 goals and 45 assists. Crandall finished with 59 points (37 goals, 22 assists).
Northview junior goalie David Marsh (16-5-1) had six shutouts. Senior Nick LaPlante scored the goal in the title game on assists from Pryor and junior Kooper Carter.
Last season, Northview toppled powerhouse Cleveland St. Edward 5-2 in the final to capture the school's first team state title in any sport.
Northview coach Mike Jones, who is in his fifth season, lost 10 players from the state title team.
“We have nothing to be ashamed off. These kids worked their tails off to get to this spot,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s sweet and sometimes it’s sour. Unfortunately this year is sour.”
Northview finished the regular season ranked fifth in the state poll.
St. John’s (26-8-0) finished the season ranked second. The Titans advanced to the district title game for the third straight season.
St. John’s also won the Northwest Hockey Conference Red Division title with a 9-0-1 record. Senior forward Austin Kelly, the team’s leading scorer, was named the most valuable player of the Red Division.
Junior goalie Mike Barrett (21-7-0) had seven shutouts.
St. John’s Mike Hayes was named coach of the year.
In the NHC White Division, Anthony Wayne won the National Conference title with an 11-0-0 record.
Maumee won the White Division-American crown with a 10-0-1 record.
The Panthers then won the overall title with a 5-4 win against the Generals in the White Division playoff championship game. Sam Molnar also scored the game-winning goal with 2:54 remaining.
Maumee then upset St. Francis de Sales 7-6 in the opening round of the state tournament.
Whitmer forward Nick Rutter was named player of the year in the White Division, while Panthers coach Mark Waddell was selected coach of the year.