Hockey’s postseason is considered by many who follow the sport as the best part of the season as teams battle fiercely to win games and win titles. Overtimes during the playoffs are sudden-death meaning they go on until someone scores and wins the game for their team.
And sometimes, those overtimes can drag on and drag on, testing the physical and mental endurance of not only the combatants on the ice, but those witnessing it either in the arena or at home.
Case in point, last night. The American Hockey League, which is pro hockey’s version of Triple-A baseball, where the players are not only compete for titles, but also trying to keep their dreams alive of playing someday in the National Hockey League, is currently in the midst of their postseason, where they battle for what is known as the Calder Cup. The teams in Lehigh Valley, PA, and Charlotte, NC, are among those still in contention for it, and those squads battled late, and we mean real late, into the night last night down in Charlotte to get the job done.
According to ESPN, the game between Lehigh Valley’s Phantoms and Charlotte’s Checkers went into the fifth overtime – yes, fifth overtime – and ended early this morning, just after 1 am, with Lehigh Valley winning it 2-1 on a goal by Alex Krushelnyski. The game, the fourth in a best-of-seven series between the two for their divisional championship, now ranks as the longest game ever in the history of the over 80-year old league. The previous mark was set 10 years ago, according to the league.
The Checkers’ parent club is the Carolina Hurricanes while the Phantoms are affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers. Both parent teams’ seasons are over, the Flyers bounced out of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs after a first-round loss and the Hurricanes, well, they didn’t qualify at all, so they just got themselves a new owner and earlier this week hired a new coach and general manager as they look to turn their team around.