COLUMBUS — St. Francis de Sales freshman Brody Pavlica chipped in a rebound midway through the third period Friday to break a 1-1 tie and propel the Knights to a 3-1 victory.
With the state semifinal victory, St. Francis (26-6-1) advances to Saturday’s state championship game for the second straight year against the winner of the second semifinal between Dublin Jerome and the two-time defending state champions, St. Ignatius.
University School goalie Kyle Flatow did his best to keep his team in the game, despite the Preppers being outshot 44-20.
Flatow made numerous saves on odd-man rushes to keep the game tied into the third.
In fact, the senior goalie made a great stop on the doorstep right before the go-ahead goal. The puck trickled back out to the crease, where Pavlica backhanded it into the top part of the net.
Ben Mitchell added an empty-net goal with 4.2 seconds remaining to send the Knights back to the state final.
St. Francis will be looking for some revenge against St. Ignatius if that is indeed their opponent. St. Ignatius has bounced St. Francis from the tournament each of the last two years.
Last season, in the state final, St. Ignatius scored 10 seconds into the game on the way to a 5-1 win and a second straight state championship.
St. Francis last won the state title in 2015, when the Knights defeated Lakewood St. Edward 3-1 in the final.
March 9, 2018
@ Nationwide Arena, Columbus
41st OHSAA State Ice Hockey Championships
St. Francis de Sales 3, University School 1
SF — 0 – 1 – 2 — 3
US — 0 – 1 – 0 — 1
FIRST PERIOD: Scoring — None. Penalties — George Brinn, University School (Tripping) 6:55; Nathan Shelnick, St. Francis (Too many men) 8:20. SECOND PERIOD: Scoring — 1, University School, Andre Berglund (Adam Alt) 5:53. 2, St. Francis, Ben Mitchell (Matthew Snyder, Nick Coward) 12:38 (power play). Penalties — Trip Gorman, University School (High Sticking) 11:22. Ben Mitchell, St. Francis (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 15:00. THIRD PERIOD: Scoring — 3, St. Francis, Brody Pavlica (Jay Ostrander, Hunter McKie) 7:49. 4, St. Francis, Ben Mitchell (Nick Coward) 14:56 (empty net). Penalties — Reid Anderson, University School (Tripping) 11:17.
Shots on goal: St. Francis 8 – 18 – 18 – 44. University School 8 – 6 – 6 – 20. Power plays: St. Francis 1 for 3, 5 shots. University School 0 for 1, 1 shot. Goalies: Jacob Coward, St. Francis (20 shots, 19 saves). Kyle Flatow, University School (43 shots, 41 saves). T: 1:17.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter@bymattsexton.