SYLVANIA — The late-game heroics of Luke Johnson showed up again Saturday night. Tied 2-2 with 1:27 left in overtime, the Bowling Green High School junior found the back of the net and the victory.
His golden goal sent the Bobcats to the district semifinals.
“There’s no better feeling than scoring the OT winner. I’m just grateful to have done it four times already this season, so nothing better,” Johnson said.
The forward’s goal capped off an improbable comeback in which the Bobcats were down 2-0 to Perrysburg in the waning minutes of the second period.
“There’s not a whole lot of words to describe it. We once again have fought through adversity and found a way to get the job done. This team is just so resilient,” Bowling Green coach Connor Rogowski said. “We find a way.”
Johnson sparked the comeback, scoring with seconds left in the second period. Shane Cassin came up clutch as well, netting the tying goal with 7:59 left in the third period. Neither team scored for the rest of regulation.
For nearly two-thirds of the game, it looked like Yellow Jackets would exact revenge on their loss to the Bobcats in the regular season finale.
Both teams were scoreless after the first period. The Yellow Jackets got on the board first with a goal midway through the second period.
Perrysburg extended the lead with less than two minutes in the second period with a power play goal from Chase Nitschke. The senior’s goal came from just inside the blue line. From that point, the Bobcats quickly began their comeback.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these kids,” Perrysburg head coach Kevin Fisher said after the game. “We’ve got seven seniors that came here four years ago, built this thing up. The result tonight hurts but it doesn’t change any of their accomplishments and what they’ve done in their career. They’re leaving this program in great shape. I just really hurt for them.”
The Bobcats head coach Jamie Ruffner died in January of cancer.
“I can imagine he’s up there right now just losing his mind,” Rogowski said. “I know he’s proud of us. I know he’s watching us. I know he was there with us for that goal.”
Johnson expressed a similar sentiment.
“He’s always going to be watching over BG hockey no matter what, and I feel like he was there with us tonight during the game. This one goes out to him,” he said.
The Bobcats advance to the district semifinal on Friday at 7 p.m. BG faces the winner of St. Francis and Southview. The Knights are ranked second in the state in the latest coaches poll.