Anyone still awake?
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms defeated the Charlotte Checkers in the fifth overtime by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday night – er, Thursday morning – to take a 3-1 series lead in the Atlantic Division Final.
Alex Krushelnyski’s goal 6:48 into the fifth overtime, over six hours after the game started, ended the longest game in AHL history, eclipsing the old record set in 2008 by the Philadelphia Phantoms and Albany River Rats – the Carolina Hurricanes’ old minor league team – when the Phantoms’ Ryan Potulny scored 2:58 minutes into the fifth extra period.
Alex Lyon was the star of the game. He made 94 saves on 95 shots, putting him second all-time for saves in a single game in AHL history. Michael Leighton holds the record with 98 saves in a losing effort for the River Rats in that five-overtime game in 2008.
Colin McDonald threw a shot on net that was stopped, but Cole Bardreau gloved it down, circled the net, and fed Krushelnyski in front for the goal.
Celly hard, boys, you deserve it!
Both regulations goals were scored yesterday. Danick Martel scored late in the first period to put the Phantoms up 1-0, and Patrick Brown scored early in the second period to tie it.
It was incredible to watch. The players on both teams were exhausted, missing grade-A scoring chances and losing their footing after every swift movement. At the end of the fourth overtime, Charlotte’s Julian Gauthier missed two great chances in front, shooting it wide of Alex Lyon’s glove.
Lyon was gassed, but he stood on his head dozens of times during the overtime periods. He also got a bit fortunate for saving a shot that bounced of the stanchion and was kicked out from his legs.
Nonetheless, this was Lyon’s night. At multiple points, he had to take a knee when the play went down the other end of the ice just to take a quick breather. The amount of fatigue a netminder has to deal with is much higher than position players in a game like this. Not only did Lyon play every minute of the game, he did so while facing at least a dozen shots in each full overtime period.
Samuel Morin seemingly re-injured his knee in first period, meaning the Phantoms had to play with five defensemen throughout the remainder of the game, making this accomplishment all the more impressive.
At the 2:59 mark of the of the fifth overtime, the game seemed to get a bit quicker. That was because there was a countdown followed by loud cheers in the Bojangles Coliseum. The game was officially the longest in AHL history.
And the Phantoms won the longest game again.
The Phantoms can close out the series with a win in Game 5 in Charlotte on Saturday.
Photo by Heather Barry/Sons of Penn