It’s not on the list of sports administered by the UHSAA, but ice hockey has a long tradition in the state.
And it only takes a small amount of conversation with Viewmont coach Roger Barrus for it to come out.
The Vikings won the Division 1 affiliated state title Tuesday night by beating Murray 5-2 in the championship contest.
“In 1978, ’79, we won two championships back then. So we went almost 40 years without one. In 2014, that was when we were coming back,” said Barrus, who now has won three with Viewmont.
“Hockey is one of those sports where, if you’re in it, you’re in it for life,” Barrus said. “Kids are in it and their kids are in it. It’s always been here, but a lot of people don’t understand it.”
Barrus’ son Cody put the final touches on the title game when he put in an empty-net goal with 1:45 to play.
It was the third time that Viewmont defeated Murray this season — once in the regular season and once earlier in the playoffs. Murray, the defending state champs, needed a victory Tuesday to force a winner-take-all contest.
But Viewmont got off to a quick start when Garrett Zeidler rebounded a shot from teammate Cole Phillips and put it in for a 1-0 lead less than six minutes into the contest.
Austin Adams scored on an assist from Ryan Berrett to double the lead just before the end of the first period.
Murray got a goal from Daxton Nielson to make the score 2-1 a minute into the second period. Viewmont got back the two-goal spread midway through the second when Ethan Tanner sneaked in a shot from the right of Spartans goalie Mike Richins.
Murray’s Stu McKenna cut the Spartans’ hole to one with 6:05 remaining, but Viewmont responded on a two-man breakaway when Matthew Holmes found the back of the net with 3:27 left.
“This means everything to us. We’ve been working hard all season, and I’m glad it paid off,” said Phillips, a Vikings senior. “Pretty big deal. Viewmont is always supportive, especially when we make a championship game.”
VIEWMONT 5, MURRAY 2
• The Vikings’ five goals come from five different players. Only Ethan Tanner is part of more than one as he assists on the first goal and scores the third.
• Viewmont wins its third state championship since 2014 under coach Roger Barrus.