TRAVERSE CITY — It can be argued that Monday’s historic hockey game between Traverse City West and the Bay Reps deserved to have two winners.
That has really only happened once in Michigan history, when Marquette and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s were declared co-state champions in the 2008 Division 1 final that lasted eight overtimes with no winning goal.
But in a playoff game prior to the state finals, that wasn’t an option.
So, the game went on. And on. And on. And on.
It wasn’t until the seventh eight-minute overtime — when West’s Nick Schultz found an open Erik Anton, who converted — that the Division 1 regional marathon at Howe Arena was decided. West 2, Bay Reps 1.
“I thought the game was intense before it even started,” Titans senior captain Jake Saxton said. “We knew we would have to play at our best to beat them. It was the perfect playoff game.”
The Titans thought they had won it in the first minute of the seventh overtime when Saxton ripped a slapper that clanged off the crossbar and post. The goal judge lit the red lamp, but the referees didn’t agree, and wouldn’t count it.
“When I scored what looked like the game-winner, but got waived off, it gave me a flash back from last year’s playoff game,” Saxton said. “I knew that the puck went in despite the ref’s call, but we had to move on and score again, which Erik was able to do. It was one of the best games I have ever played in. I am very proud to have made history with this team.”
In last year’s regional game, the Reps won 5-4 in overtime after West had a goal waived off with 1:44 left in regulation. Zach Hill went on to score the game-winner less than a minute into the first extra period.