In what can only be described as a sublime plot twist, two Connecticut girls hockey teams were named co-state champions after two 5-on-5 overtime periods, with many claiming that the teams were kept from deciding a single champion so that two boys teams could take the ice to compete for a conference champion.
As reported by the Hartford Court, ESPNW and a handful of other sources, the Connecticut girls hockey state championship game between Simsbury and East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor was declared a tie after the two teams were still knotted at 2-2 following two overtime periods at Terry Connors Rink in Stamford. The teams had competed both overtimes with 5-on-5 lineups through both overtime periods and expected to continue playing, but were instead told that the game would be ended in a tie.
The two teams lined up on opposite blue lines and then took a group photo, with one team holding the commemorative state title plaque and the other squad donning medals.
The decision to end the sport’s signature game in Connecticut has led to a wide variety of recriminations. Some have blamed the Fairfield Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC), or at least representatives of its hockey division, which was preparing its own boys hockey conference title game immediately following the girls game. Game officials have even admitted that it was determined before the first puck of the girls game was dropped that the contest would not continue beyond two overtime periods.
You can hear the final moments of the contest in the Tweet below.
Unfortunately, that was not communicated to the coaches of the two teams until the second overtime period was just moments away. The coaches hardly had time to adjust their strategies, let alone prepare a defense for why the game should have continued, though both insisted that the regulations they had been sent before the playoffs stipulated that 5-on-5 overtime periods would be played until a winner was determined. You can see those allegedly agreed-upon regulations directly below via the Twitter account for CT HS Hockey.
Obviously that’s not what happened, which has left both teams disappointed with the final result.
“I think (Simsbury Girls Hockey) Coach (Paul) Melanson put it best. We all felt like we lost and we won,” East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor girls hockey coach Frank Usseglio told the Courant. … “I don’t think anybody really thought about what would happen if the game was unresolved, how long would it go? There was no real discussion about it before the game. I think that’s what rankles people the most. My guess is if everyone had known it would be only two overtimes going into the game, you wouldn’t have had all the frenzy over this. People would have understood.”