In what started as an afternoon game at 2pm at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on a pleasant Victoria, BC afternoon turned into a marathon game that lasted five hours and 49 minutes until a winner was finally crowned. With the game knotted up at 2-2 and with Everett leading the series 3-2, we jump to the fifth overtime period where the game-winning goal was finally found.
Cal Babych, son of former NHL defenceman Dave Babych, broke into the Royals zone all alone, and he beat Royals goalie Griffen Outhouse to end the game and series after 151 minutes and 36 seconds of play. In reaching that chronological mark, the Silvertips and Royals set not only the WHL record for the longest game on record, but also set the CHL record for the longest game! The previous WHL record was set at 136:56 in a game between Kamloops and Kootenay in 2003 while the previous CHL record was set at 146:36 by Hull and Victoriaville in 1999. It took Babych five minutes longer and, in doing so, set the record for a new mark.
Babych was a busy guy in this game as he opened the scoring for Seattle 6:31 into the second period. Regan Nagy responded for Victoria just 1:11 later when he redirected a long shot past Carter Hart to tie the game up. Victoria would take the lead before the end of the period when Jared Dmytriw deflected a point shot past Hart while on the power-play with 3:16 to go in the second period.
Silvertips captain Noah Juulsen would tie the game at 2-2 in the third period when his long shot deflected off a Royals defender and made its way past Outhouse just 1:36 into the frame. From there, both goaltenders went bananas as they turned aside all shots for the remainder of the third period and the next four-and-a-half periods. As seen above, Cal Babych's game-winning and series-winning goal came at 11:36 of the fifth overtime period. Carter Hart made 64 saves in the win while Outhouse stopped 72 shots in the loss - an incredible stat that ends his playoff run.
What makes this a little more historic from Cal Babych's perspective is that these goals scoring in this game were the first two playoff goals in the WHL in his 15th WHL playoff game. That's a heckuva way to notch your first and second goals, and congratulations are in order for Babych, his Everett Silvertips teammates, and the majority of the 4613 fans who spent nearly six hours watching this incredible game. When asked how they kept going for as long as they did, exhausted Victoria Royals forward Carter Folk told Cleve Dheensaw of the Times Colonist, "Gatorade... salt...."
Everett advances to meet the Seattle Thunderbirds next Friday in what should be an epic series between these two rivals. Victoria, unfortunately, will clean out their lockers after an incredible series. As all playoff games do, a winner had to be crowned. It might have taken a little longer than one would have expected, but both teams deserve some kudos for making some incredible memories on this day.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!