ROCKY RIVER - The game went well into that time when a break - lucky or otherwise - rather than talent was going to determine the outcome.
Either that or the teams were going into overtime after playing 45 minutes without a goal.
But it was Olmsted Falls that got the break. Buddy Gerus was the recipient of it, with just 12.2 seconds left.
Gerus scored the game`s only goal as Olmsted Falls defeated host Rocky River 1-0 in the championship game of the Rocky River Classic on Monday.
Gerus managed to get a stick on a crossing pass from Jason Kolar and then watched the puck slip past Pirates goalie Austin Blackwell.
"It`s indescribable," Gerus said of the game-winner. "Jason just threw that puck at the net. At that point anything could have happened."
But nothing had, up to that time, except a lot of great play by the goalies. Blackwell came up with 21 saves. Patrick Butterfield, his Olmsted Falls equivalent, was even stingier, turning away all 34 shots that came his way.
"I tipped the puck and it went between the goalie`s legs," said Gerus, a senior forward. "I was surprised. Both teams had so many better chances to score."
The victory raised Olmsted Falls` record to 4-1. Rocky River is also 4-1. Â The teams meet again Sunday in a White West division game at Quicken Loans Arena.
"I expected a couple of goals out of (Rocky River), with their size and strength," Olmsted Falls coach Brian Thompson said. "With our offensive talent, I was expecting a couple of goals out of us."
The Bulldogs and the Pirates had met in the first round of the tournament Friday evening, with Rocky River coming away with a 7-2 win.
"They were on a different level from us that night," Thompson said. "The game was over after one period, because of the pace they set.
"We held them in the first period tonight. In the second and the third they came flying at us.Â The way Patrick stepped up in those periods was the difference in the game. That`s the kind of effort we need from him all year."
The Pirates took 14 shots in the second period and 13 in the third. Butterfield halted a one-on-one against River`s Bence Toth at 8:40 of the second period. The Pirates` Todd Hendricks failed to put the puck in the net on an open shot in close with a little under five minutes remaining in the second. Butterfield deflected Matt Garibaldi`s point-blank try at 6Â½ minutes to go in the third.
Gerus was named the tournament`s Most Valuable Player after scoring eight points in the five games.
"The leadership Buddy shows on and off the ice was the reason." Thompson said. "Dave Turner had a few more points but the way (Buddy) controlled play, the way he won face-offs, and all the other little things that don`t show up on paper got it for him."
Turner also assisted on Gerus` goal.
The Bulldogs` best chance at break the deadlock came at 3:31 of the second period when sophomore Hayden Jones had a one-on-one against Blackwell. Jones saw his shot bounce off Blackwell`s left shoulder.
Olmsted Falls 1, Rocky River 0
Olmsted FallsÂ Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 - 1
Rocky RiverÂ Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0 - 0
FIRST PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties â€“ none.
SECOND PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties â€“ none.
THIRD PERIOD: 1. OF, Buddy Gerus (Jason Kolar, Dave Turner), 14:48. Penalties â€“ OF, Buddy Gerus (hooking), 2:59; RR, Bence Toth (roughing), 4:51.
Shots on goal â€“ Olmsted Falls 8-7-7 - 22, Rocky River 7-14-13 - 34. Goalies â€“ OF, Pat Butterfield (34 shots, 34 saves); RR, Austin Blackwell (22 shots, 21 saves). Power-play opportunities â€“ Olmsted Falls 0 of 1, Rocky River 0 of 1.