CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’ll be very familiar territory for the St. Ignatius Wildcats this weekend, as the four-time defending state hockey champs head to Columbus again, in hopes of making it a 5-peat.
The Wildcats will square off with Gilmour Academy at Nationwide Arena on Saturday at noon, with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship game. St. Ignatius beat the Lancers, 2-1, earlier in the season.
For the Wildcats, it’s the “Drive for 5”. Two wins away from a record-5th consecutive state hockey title.
“We have good people, good kids with good families, and that helps a lot,” head coach Pat O’Rourke said prior to Tuesday’s practice. “As for the ‘four in a row’ stuff, we don’t get caught up in that. We’re thinking about Gilmour. Once you look ahead, you get caught.”
Greg Langermeier is the captain of this team, and one of 15 seniors who will be closing out their St. Ignatius careers this weekend.
“There’s a lot of emotions,” Langermeier said. “There will be a big crowd this weekend.”
Uh, maybe not. Not with the new restrictions because of coronavirus. But the Wildcats won't be fazed.
“We just want to play the game,” O’Rourke said. “Maybe they’ll televise it for the fans. It’s always better to have fans ... it’ll be a little strange ...but whatever we have to do to keep people healthy, fine.”
They're heading South with a ton of momentum, coming off of a 9-0 win over arch-rival St. Ed's, another tremendous program, and another reminder of just how powerful Ignatius has become.
But along with that success comes great expectations, and a pressure on the seniors to not be the class that failed to get the job done.
“I think we’re all thinking about it,” senior right wing Matt Sullivan said. “To win the fifth in a row, that would be awesome to do. We really want to finish the job for everyone who came before us.”