An epic six-overtime game between Bemidji and St. Cloud Tech in the Section 8AA quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at Nymore Arena in Bemidji finally ended after 111 minutes, 58 seconds of play when Tech's Ryan Heaton scored a tip-in goal at 2:58 of the sixth OT.
The first sudden-death overtime was eight minutes long and the second was the standard-length 17-minute period. The OT periods alternated between eight and 17 minutes the rest of the way until Heaton's deciding goal.
The game is believed to be the second longest in state history, behind only a seven-overtime game between Champlin Park and Coon Rapids in 2000 that had an elapsed time of 115:59.
Largely responsible for the standoff were goaltenders Allen Patten of St. Cloud Tech (56 saves) and Axel Osborn of Bemidji (58 saves).
"I have never seen a game that was so evenly matched. We traded scoring chances all night long," St. Cloud Tech coach Neil Andruschak said about the game that started at 7 p.m. and ended, by Andruschak's best estimation, at 11:30 p.m."It wasn’t even a question of who wanted it more, both teams wanted it bad.
"It was just a question of who was going to get the bounce."
Patten was awarded the game puck, but later gave it to Andruschak.
"He looked at me, then handed me the puck and said, 'Coach, I think you need this puck for your first playoff win,' " Andruschak said. "It was just unbelievable."
The puck has since been wrapped in white tape, on which is written the date and score of the game, along with other pertinent details, such as the noteworthy fact it went six overtimes.
"That puck is going in the trophy case," Andruschak said.
St. Cloud Tech, the No. 5 seed, travels to Moorhead on Saturday, Feb. 27 for a 7 p.m. game against the No. 1 seeded Spuds.
"I don't care who we play, we know it's going to be a dogfight," Andruschak said.
Read the Bemidji Pioneer article recapping the game here (log in required).