May 10, 2018
By: Kristi Fulkerson
It was six hours and six minutes from the time the puck dropped in Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Finals to when the game-winning goal was scored. Alex Krushelnyski was the hero for Lehigh Valley who netted his second goal of the postseason 6:48 into the 5th overtime period, leading the Phantoms past Charlotte 2-1. With the win, the Phantoms lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and need one more victory to advance.
Let’s set the scene. The Phantoms edged the Checkers in Game 1 at PPL Center 2-1 on a later power play goal by Greg Carey. Charlotte evened the series with a 6-0 shutout the next night in Allentown, ending Lehigh Valley’s 10-game home winning streak. On Tuesday, the series shifted to Carolina, where the Phantoms took a 2-1 series lead with a 5-1 victory. Then came Wednesday.
Game 4 started just after 7 pm and ended at 1:09 am There are so many jaw-dropping statistics from the game, none more impressive than goaltender Alex Lyon’s 94 saves. I know I’m not the only one who was in awe of his performance, making save after save including 79 straight to win the game. The Phantoms were outshot 95-53 overall and 54-29 across more than 4 overtime periods. Danick Martel scored the Phantoms lone goal in regulation (16:24 of the first) before Charlotte’s Patrick Brown evened the game 6:52 into the second.
Anyone wonder what intermissions were like for the players between all the grueling overtime periods? I’m told: rest, bananas, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and lots of electrolytes. I imagine there were some pep talks in there as well. Kudos to the team and staff on all levels gutting it out ’til the end.
Charlotte and Lehigh Valley played 10+ periods of hockey, 3+ regulation length games in roughly 30 hours. Today, the team was off (as if there was a question on that), but will get back at it Friday to gear up for Game 5 on Saturday. With a win, the Phantoms advance to play North Division champion Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Checkers take Game 5, the series returns to Allentown for Game 6 on Monday.
Stay tuned…more hockey to come. After a win like that, I’d say the Phantoms are on a war path to the Calder Cup. 6 wins down, 9 to go.
The Phantoms franchise now holds the top 2 longest games in Calder Cup Playoffs.
Longest games, Calder Cup Playoffs (by OT played)
1. May 9, 2018 - Lehigh Valley 2 at Charlotte 1 - 86:48
2. Apr 24 2008 - Philadelphia 3 at Albany 2 - 82:58
3. May 30 2003 - Houston 1 at Hamilton 2 - 74:56
4. Apr. 10, 1982 - Rochester 2 at New Haven 3 - 74:08
5. Apr. 4, 1938 - Syracuse 3 at Cleveland 2 - 62:42