The first of two OHSAA District Semi-Final games was played on Tuesday night at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center in Brooklyn, Ohio, as #1 St. Ignatius faced off with #5 Holy Name.
It was an admirable performance from Holy Name, as the Green Wave were under duress much of the night, and Ignatius pulled away late in the game to win 5-0 to advance to the District Final.
It was an intense atmosphere from the start, as the two rival fan bases were rowdy and rambunctious in a packed house.
St. Ignatius was on the attack for the first six minutes, but Holy Name goaltender C.J. Balodis withstood a barrage of shots to keep the game scoreless.
Holy Name went on the power play six minutes into the game and although they could not score, it took some pressure off the Green Wave defense for two minutes.
Just under a minute after Ignatius returned to full strength, Bain Kurtz made it 1-0 in favor of the Wildcats 7:21 into the period.
Holy Name held their own in the period, despite being under fire most of the frame. The Green Wave did not commit a penalty in the entire period, which was crucial to keep the game close, and Ignatius would lead 1-0 at the end of one period.
Balodis made 22 saves in the period.
Ignatius came out of the gate aggressive to start the second period, as Cam Gerard added onto the Wildcats’ lead to make it 2-0 just 29 seconds into the frame.
Right after the goal, Holy Name went on the power play for the second time, but could not take advantage.
Ignatius struck again at the 6:52 mark of the second period to make it 3-0, as Benjamin Rechin came through for the Wildcats.
The Green Wave committed their first penalty of the game with just under six minutes left in the second period, but Holy Name’s defense made it through unscathed and the score would stay 3-0 heading into the third period.
4:36 into the final frame, Connor Koehnke added to the lead to make it 4-0 in favor of Ignatius.
After that fourth goal, Holy Name pulled Balodis, who had to work extremely hard all night, and Ryan Madden came in to relieve him of his duties.
Balodis finished with 57 saves on the night.
The Wildcats would strike again 30 seconds later, as Aidan Spellacy made it 5-0.
There was no love lost between the two rivals, as a few Wildcats and “Namers” got into it with just three minutes remaining, sending one player from each side to the penalty box.
Ignatius goaltender Dylan McKeon was not under much stress, as most of the game was played in Holy Name’s defensive zone, but the Wildcat netminder earned the 14-save shutout win with the 5-0 victory.
Holy Name’s great tournament run comes to an end after three impressive wins over Brooklyn, Elyria Catholic, and Rocky River prior to the loss to Ignatius.
With the win, Ignatius moves on to face the winner of Wednesday’s Semi-Final match between #2 St. Edward’s and #3 Padua in the District Final on Saturday at 1 PM for the chance to go to the final four in Columbus.
Fans can listen to the St. Ed’s vs. Padua game live on Allsportscleveland.com at 7 PM on Wednesday night.
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