How many periods? Ramsey wins longest ice hockey game in state history to win Big North Cup
It was the seventh period of hockey between Ramsey and Northern Highlands and Alex Diamond could no longer feel his legs.
It made sense considering he had been playing for over three hours, something no high school hockey player in New Jersey had ever attempted. Luckily for the Rams, their captain was able to muster enough energy to produce a historic shot.
In the fourth overtime of the Big North Cup Final at Wayne’s Ice Vault, Diamond managed to get a briefing on Jake Barone’s point, then scored the goal which luckily ended the game and gave to Ramsey a 2-1 win over Northern Highlands, No. 19 in the NJ.com Top 20, in the longest game in state history.
The puck didn’t end up going where Diamond had planned it, but in the end everything went well.
“I’ve never been into something like this,” Diamond said. “It’s crazy. I don’t feel my legs or my body at all anymore. I told these guys it would be worth it if we were champions at the end. Everyone’s been trying tonight and now. we’ve got one hell of a trophy to take back to Ramsey. It was well worth it. “
“It was funny, our coach said not to shoot from the glove side. He had a very good glove. I did not want. I guess it just happened. I was just in disbelief because I thought this kid was perfect. He pretty much was.
Last year, the NJSIAA changed its rules for the tournament finals to allow the winners, ending previous rules which limited matches to a 15-minute overtime, after which a tie was declared, producing co-champions .
After the initial 15-minute overtime this time, Ramsey and Northern Highlands played seven-and-a-half-minute overtime with 4v4 hockey until a goal was scored.
There isn’t much else in the sport that equals the adrenaline rush of a sudden death hockey game with a championship on the line. The rule change allowed these high school players to live. something they will never forget as long as they live. In a year without a state tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, this game was able to replicate that and more.
“Maybe I should check my blood pressure,” Ramsey coach Jeff Mills said. “It’s just a great feeling. The kids from both teams played wonderfully. It’s just a great way to play for a championship. You have the top two teams playing four overtime. We all had fun on the bench and between periods. It was great.”
The goal throughout the game for Ramsey was to continue wearing down the Northern Highlands as the shots quickly stacked up against stellar freshman Daniel Moor, who was like a Mack truck standing in front of goal for the major part of the match and ended up with an incredible 57 saves. The Rams weren’t frustrated that all of their shots didn’t lead to goals knowing the Northern Highlands would eventually crack.
Diamond is not only an extremely talented player – he ended his senior season with 15 goals and 20 assists – but he is also a huge leader of the team. It was Diamond who pissed off the Rams heading into fourth overtime. “Burn the boats” is his favorite motto.
“It basically means we’re with our backs to the wall and we have to do whatever it takes,” said senior Justin Bello. “He always says this motto and that’s what we did tonight. It’s period seven and we continue. He’s a great leader. Every person on our team has helped to exhaust this team. It was our goal the whole game to wear them out. Every person on our team contributed to this victory.
About three hours earlier, the Northern Highlands took a quick 1-0 lead when Joe DaLoisio scored an assist from Vincent Capano just over three minutes into the game. Diamond responded on a power play with a point goal to tie the score 1-1 with just 18 seconds left in the first period. In a match that lasted seven periods, the teams were only called on one penalty each.
It was the second meeting between the two teams this year, as Ramsey managed to get revenge for a 1-0 loss on February 17. hard to imagine that even a state tournament would have allowed his season to end on a more memorable note.
“It was just a perfect team performance,” said Diamond. “Everyone stuck with the game plan. We all participated and did what we had to do physically and mentally. This is how we are champions. I’m so proud of each of these guys. That was our goal at the start of the season. Whether states or not, we wanted to be champions. “
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