Snead scored a power-play tally at 11:09 of the second period to break a scoreless tie in the first game. Adam Thanasiu and Tim Hurst earned assists on the play, putting Northview up, 1-0.
The Wildcats padded the lead as Pizza scored what turned out to be the game winner at 14:40 to extend the lead to two goals.
“It gave you so much adrenaline right away,” Pizza said about the crowd at Nationwide Arena. “Just the feeling out there made me want to play so hard. After a few shifts the butterflies went away.”
University goaltender Brian Tighe kept the Preppers in the game, making 15 saves in the first period, many of which were spectacular, finishing with 25 saves on the evening.
“The worst lead in hockey is a two goal lead,” Northview head coach Jim Cooper said. “Obviously you’d rather have it than not have it.”
In the third period, University’s Patrick Germovsek scored on the power play off a feed from Brad Stefanski to cut the lead in half, but the Preppers would get no closer.
“This team has been amazing,” Cooper said. “We’ve been very businesslike. Our situation tomorrow will be pretty much the same. It was total chaos at the end of this one, so I don’t how it can get any more intense or draining.”
While the first semifinal at Nationwide Arena was a defensive struggle, the other was an offensive explosion as Upper Arlington was defeated by Padua Franciscan, 7-4.
Upper Arlington got on the board first when Blake Greiner scored the first of his two goals at the 2:57 mark. But Padua took a lead it would never relinquish as Ryan Saunders, Zak Kusek and Mike Stokar scored in a span on 1:21 to take a 3-1 lead.
“It was a great experience to come and play where the Blue Jackets play,” Saunders said.“It was just awesome. Tomorrow we have to capitalize on our chances.”
Upper Arlington’s Nick Paraskos lit the lamp at 13:15 to cut the lead to one, but Padua scored the next three goals, two in a span of 12 seconds, extending the lead to 6-2. The Golden Bears’ Casey Christensen and Greiner scored to make it interesting at 6-4, but Saunders scored again 5:44 into the third period to close out the game.
Saunders, Kusek and Stokar led Padua with two goals each while Aaron Richnavsky finished with a goal and two assists to lead the Bruins.
Greiner finished with two goals and Christensen had a goal and three assists to lead Upper Arlington.
“It was a great hockey game, and I think we made a good showing and hopefully Columbus Hockey with continue to grow,” UA head coach Jay Graham said. “But I can’t say enough about this season. This is the best UA (Upper Arlington) team and the farthest we advanced in school history. We felt we competed with the best in the state.”
UA’s Matt Loveland finished with 29 saves, including 20-of-21 in the third period, despite surrendering seven goals, five of which were scored on the first eight shots. Padua’s Chase Coleman earned the win, stopping 20-of-24 pucks.
“Tomorrow night we have to play the best game we’ve played all season,” Padua Franciscan head coach Doug Hauser said. “We just want to come off the ice and say we played the best game we played all year.”