TRAVERSE CITY — It seemed like a matter of time.
Nico Saco made sure time didn't run out.
Saco's goal 2:28 into the second overtime gave Traverse City Central a Division 2 playoff-opening victory Monday over Grand Rapids West Catholic at Howe Arena.
It was a game that Central dominated, but mostly trailed. The Trojans outshot the Falcons 70-15. And West Catholic blocked another 33 shots.
After Friday's rally from a 6-2 second-period deficit against Sault Ste. Marie for a 7-6 overtime victory, Monday's decision might have been even more of a surprise.
"I don't need any more, to be perfectly honest," Central coach Chris Givens said. "That was something. Their goalie was phenomenal. We must have had over 100 (shot) attempts. I've never seen a team block so many shots. They blocked everything. We couldn't get anything through from the point — power play, even strength, it didn't matter. They did a really good job of blocking shots."
Saco was able to lift a shot high on one of the few rebounds West Catholic goalie Adam Rooney allowed to give No. 3-ranked Central (23-3) the win and the first of what Trojan fans hope are six postseason victories.
"When Cam (Givens) passed it to me, I was trying to look for an opening and I passed it to Cooper (Macdonell)," Saco said. "It didn't go in for him, so I settled the puck, saw an opening on the glove side and went there."
That set off a mad rush by Central's bench onto the ice, while Rooney sat on his back in the net and four Falcons skaters slumped to the ice around him.
"It was a big relief," Saco said. "I don't know if we should have been that close. But it was still a really close game. They played hard. Just to win it and keep going in the playoffs feels great.