When Massachusetts forward Shane Walsh scored his 13th goal of the season, he helped his 12th-seeded Minutemen team to a 1-0 series lead over Notre Dame in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.
Generally, that would be a headline stealer, but instead it became the postscript to the game as the real story happened 79 seconds earlier.
When the game clock at Compton Family Ice Arena at Notre Dame read “8:37” and the period read “8,” Friday’s five-overtime playoff game between these seemingly mismatched teams became the longest in the history of college hockey, surpassing Quinnipiac and Union’s tilt from 2010.
When Walsh scored, he ended a game that had lasted 151 minutes, 42 second of elapsed game time and 5 hours, 55 minutes of real time. The two sides helped decimate not just the Hockey East tournament record book but also the NCAA records.
Notre Dame goaltender Cal Petersen, less than a week after making a career-high 55 saves against Boston College, shattered that mark, finishing the game with 89 saves, 11 more than the previous NCAA record. His UMass counterpart and winning goaltender Steve Mastalerz made 75 saves, including 57 saves in overtime alone.
“The same mannerisms and same demeanor they had early in the game, they had all the way through to the end,” veteran referee Scott Hansen said of the goaltenders. Hansen, fellow referee Terrence Murphy and linesmen Joe Ross and Marc Sullivan officiated the marathon.
“You have to commend both of them for their efforts last night,” Hansen said.
Speaking of officials, that quartet could be as fatigued as the players on the ice given that they never got to take a shift off and had to skate up and down the ice throughout the entire affair. One resource on the Internet ballparked that an official will skate nearly five miles in an average game. A five-overtime game, by that logic, could result in more than 12 miles of skating for the men in stripes.
That said, Hansen, when reached via phone on Saturday morning, said he felt pretty good.
“The legs feel pretty good,” said Hansen. “It’s a long night, but being in a four-man system, we were able to motor through it. It wasn’t as bad as people thought it would be.”
Hansen, though not at liberty to say who will be officiating Saturday’s Game 2, said there are backup officials who he said will cycle into the crew. There isn’t a complete second crew — two referees and two linesmen — in South Bend for the weekend, however, so some officials will have to work again on Saturday night.
Hockey East coordinator of officials Dan Schachte confirmed that the original crew scheduled for Saturday — referees Hansen and Kevin Shea and linesmen Ross and Sullivan — will work Game 2.
Besides the fatigue of the players, coaches and officials, there were also three radio announcers who called the game for the schools. Darin Pritchett, voice of Notre Dame hockey, works alone and Friday was no exception.
For more than six hours, he aptly filled the airwaves for the Irish.
In the other radio booth, Cody Chrusciel and Brock Hines called the game for UMass. While they had each other to lean on throughout the game, unlike Pritchett, both of them had improbably long days, having flown to South Bend from different destinations earlier in the day.
Hines said he flew in from Hartford, Conn., a pretty uneventful, early-morning flight that required a 3 a.m. wake-up call on Friday. Chrusciel also was awake at 3 a.m., but he was coming from calling a Thursday afternoon UMass women’s basketball game in the Atlantic 10 tournament in Richmond, Va.
Chrusciel drove through snow to get to Dulles International Airport on Friday morning, barely made his flight and got to South Bend in time to set up and get on the air.
“Had he missed that flight, I don’t know what I would have done,” said Hines, the color analyst.
On Saturday, fewer than 18 hours after Walsh scored the game-winning goal, the teams will play again, Notre Dame with its season on the line. Probably the biggest question will be how fatigue and depth will factor.
But if both teams can maintain the level of play each had throughout the overtime, the fans will be entertained.
“If you brought me into a room to watch the game tape and asked me which of the overtimes was the fifth overtime, I’d have probably said the first or second,” said Hines. “The skill level late in that game was absolutely incredible.”