Notre Dame, Ind. - Records went by the wayside over the course of almost six hours Friday night and into Saturday morning at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
After 151 minutes and 42 seconds of hockey, Massachusetts emerged a 4-3 winner over Notre Dame in a Hockey East first round playoff series. It marked the longest college hockey game in NCAA history and only the third to reach five overtimes.
Quinnipiac and Union played 150 minutes and 22 seconds on March 12, 2010, in an ECAC quarterfinal game.
“I’m awfully proud and happy for our guys,” Massachusetts head coach John Micheletto said. “I think as a coach when guys do it the way they’re supposed to do it despite the adversity and the emotion of all of it, you like them to be rewarded. That’s important. That’s the satisfaction part of it from a coaching standpoint.”
Shane Walsh delivered the game-ending goal for Massachusetts (11-21-2) at 11:42 of the fifth overtime, beating Irish goaltender Cal Petersen for the first time in hours.
Petersen set the NCAA record for saves in a single game with 87.
RPI’s Dick Greenlaw previously held the record with 78 saves against Boston University on Dec. 14, 1965. Massachusetts goalie Steve Mastalerz approached that mark with 75 saves of his own in victory, including 57 in the overtimes.
“He did everything he could possibly do,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said of Petersen.
Notre Dame (15-17-5) managed to take a first period lead despite being outshot 16-7 when Sam Herr scored his 11th goal of the season at 9:39. Petersen turned away all 16 Massachusetts shots on goal.
But Steven Iacobellis spurred Massachusetts in the second period with two goals while Troy Power added another after the Irish took a 2-1 lead at 9:19 on a goal from Vince Hinostroza, his ninth of the season.
Not quite three minutes later Iacobellis scored his first, a power-play goal at 11:42.
Steven Fogarty followed at 14:24 for with a power-play goal of his own to give Notre Dame a 3-1 lead, although it was short lived. Iacobellis scored again at 15:39. Power then added another power-play goal with two seconds remaining in the period after Austin Wuthrich went off for hooking to bring the Minutemen back into a 3-3 tie at the second intermission.
“We put ourselves in a bad position though in the first two periods,” Jackson said. “I thought we gave them an opportunity to do what they did. They played well. They played with a level of desperation that helped them win the game.”
Regulation ended with the 3-3 tie that wouldn’t be broken until almost 1:30 a.m local time when Walsh scored.
“Definitely with them winning it’s even more frustrating,” Notre Dame defenseman Robbie Russo said. “We had a bunch of chances and so did they. Cal played great again. But it just felt like the puck was never gonna go in.”
Between those goals came four overtimes and change, multiple intermissions, plenty of fluids and some food for players. Both teams will reconvene at the Compton Family Ice Arena at 7:05 p.m. tonight for the second game of the series.
“We’ll push things back a little bit (this) morning,” Jackson said. “The important thing is they try to get out of here as quickly as possible and get some sleep. It’s gonna be hard probably to fall asleep for a few hours. Hopefully they get a good eight hours.”