SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — History took place at Messa Rink on Friday as Union and Quinnipiac needed five hours and 57 minutes (150 minutes and 22 seconds of actual game time) to decide the winner of the first game of the ECAC quarterfinals.
A little more than a minute into the fifth overtime, it became the longest game in the history of NCAA college hockey, breaking the record set by Union and Yale on March 4, 2006, in which the Bulldogs topped the Dutchmen, 3-2, in a game that lasted 141:35.
The game ended at 1:03 a.m. EST.
Quinnipiac’s Greg Holt was the hero as his goal with 9:38 remaining in the fifth overtime ended the epic contest.
“My guys wanted it,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. “In the d-zone we were excellent.”
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Union head coach Nate Leaman. “Outside of the second period we carried the game.”
The Dutchmen had the upper hand the first frame as they outshot the Bobcats 19-7, and controlled the play on the boards and in the faceoff circle. But, they were only able to come out the period with a 2-1 lead.
Union’s Stephane Boileau scored the first goal of the game 7:13 into the period when he wristed a bad angle shot past Quinnipiac goaltender Dan Clarke, who lost sight of the puck and was caught out of position on the play.
A little over two minutes later, Quinnipiac’s Jeremy Langlois was called for tripping in the offensive zone to put Union on the power-play. It didn’t take the Union power-play unit long to capitalize on their opportunity as they netted the second goal of the game just 17 seconds into the man advantage.
The goal was initiated by Union’s Jason Walters who rang a shot off of the left post from the point. The puck then trickled behind Clarke where Mario Valery-Trabucco knocked the puck into the net, extending his point streak to nine games and his goal scoring streak to six games.
Who would have thought that Union, who came into the game with the fifth ranked offense in the nation, would be shutout for the next six and half periods?
Quinnipiac cut their deficit in half when Scott Zurevinski ripped a slap shot from the right circle past Union netminder Keith Kinkaid 6:59 left in the period.
The second period was a different story as the Bobcats manhandled the Dutchmen, outshooting their opponent 11-1, and tied the game at two goals apiece.
Quinnipiac’s tying goal came on the power-play 1:29 into the period. Just 30 seconds into the power-play, Holt beat Union defenseman Shawn Stuart down the right boards and passed the puck to Langlois, who was streaking to the front of the Union net. Langlois received Holt’s pass and put the puck into the back of the net.
This would be the last goal for a very, very long time.
The Bobcats received back-to-back man advantages late in the frame, but they were unable to beat Kinkaid and the Union penalty kill.
The final frame of regulation was a scoreless one, leaving the game tied at two and the shots tied at 27.
Union got the best opportunities of the period. First, with about six minutes into the period Quinnipiac’s Russell Goodman was assessed a five minute penalty for boarding. The Bobcat penalty kill was stellar though as they killed the penalty and only allowed two shots while getting two shots of their own.
The second big chance for Union came with under two minutes left in regulation when Eric Lampe was penalized for hooking and taking down Walters. But, once again Quinnipiac was able to stymie the Union attack and send the game into overtime.
The first overtime was uneventful, but the second overtime was a wild affair as each team had many great scoring opportunities. The highlight of the frame came when Valery-Trabucco saved the game for his team when he was able to knock a loose puck away from an empty net after Kinkaid dropped his stick behind the net on a Quinnipiac dump, which redirected the puck into the crease.
In the third overtime, Union’s Jon Lareau had point blank shot but Clarke was able to knock it aside and send the game into a fourth overtime.
By the fourth overtime players on both sides were noticeably out of gas and the play slowed down.
It looked like Union was going to end the game when Wayne Simpson went down on Clarke on a breakaway, but Clarke was once again up to the task as he made one of this 73 saves on the night.
“It’s great we got to win,” said Clarke. “Staying calm is the biggest thing.”
Holt’s goal came less than two minutes later as he fired a shot from the bottom of the left circle that beat Kinkaid short side.
“I was just trying to get the puck to the net,” said Holt. “It went right underneath his arm.”
The Dutchmen and Bobcats will faceoff again tomorrow at Messa Rink for Game 2 of their series.
“Tomorrow night’s another game,” said a disappointed Leaman. “We’re playing for our season tomorrow.”
“We’ll see what happens,” said Pecknold. “My guys are pretty jacked right now.”