Colgate persevered with a 4-3 victory in an epic quadruple-overtime battle on Friday night to avenge Dartmouth’s double overtime win in the first game of last year’s ECAC playoffs.
Raider forward Kyle Wilson scored 1:05 into the fourth overtime period to finally defeat Dartmouth in the ECAC quarterfinal at Thompson Arena Friday night. The game was the third longest in NCAA history, 8:05 away from the NCAA record for longest game.
“It was an unbelievable game,” said Colgate coach Don Vaughan. “I was really proud of the way we competed tonight. Both teams left it all on the ice. It’s just too bad someone has to lose a game like that. The kids really put forward an effort that I haven’t seen in a long time, on both sides.”
Having 60 minutes of a scoreless tie broken a minute into overtime sounds exciting, but routine. This time, however, a grueling 3-3 game preceded that tremendous length of inaction.
Hugh Jessiman had two goals and Lee Stempniak had three assists to lead the Big Green and embellish the score sheet, but Wilson’s lone goal-not the prettiest-was the memorable one.
“That’s the type of goal that’s going to end it,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet of the scrappy final tally. “I thought we played a really strong game. We were off for a while, we had finals, but we got the rust off and we’ll be back to play tomorrow night.”
The longest game in Division I hockey history was on March 8, 1997, when it took four overtimes and 129:30 for Colorado College to score the only goal in the second game of the WCHA first round playoff series against Wisconsin.
Before the myriad of overtime periods, the standout feature of this game was the importance of special teams play. While sudden death saw just one penalty handed out, regulation was full of whistles. The Raiders scored on two of their eight power play opportunities, while the Big Green cashed in on two-of-six Colgate infractions.
Dartmouth senior co-captain Trevor Byrne put a rebound shot through traffic and past Colgate netminder Steve Silverthorn (50 saves) to put the Big Green up, 3-2, at 10:05 of the third period.
Just when the Big Green gained control of the game, the Raiders’ Ryan Smyth tied the score at three with a rebound goal, and memories of overtime went storming through the Thompson Arena faithful.
In the opening game of last year’s playoffs, Dartmouth won 5-4 at home, on a goal by current assistant captain Pete Summerfelt in double overtime. That contest used to be the longest in school history before 65:04 of scoreless hockey ensued after Smyth evened the score.
Two 20-minute overtime periods could not appease the hockey gods this time around, so the game raged on to an uneventful third overtime period before the fourth overtime swayed the vote in Colgate’s favor.
All throughout the goaltenders were busy. Dartmouth attempted 109 shots, landing 53 on target while Colgate tried 108 (68 on target). In the overtimes, Boucher pumped his saves total to a whopping 65.
“Colgate shoots a lot from the outside,” Gaudet said of the high saves/shots total. “I think the grade-A opportunities were two-to-one us.”
The Raiders will look for the upset sweep tomorrow night at 7 p.m. while Dartmouth needs a win to extend its season.