Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports Columnists

February 26, 2014

James Cook: Long game; lifetime memories

Monday’s seven-overtime regional game at Howe Arena certainly will be the stuff of legend in local hockey lore, but it may have earned even loftier status.

The grueling thriller won 2-1 by Traverse City West over the Bay Reps co-op team also may be the fifth-longest game in United States high school hockey history.

It took 103 minutes and 33 seconds before a winner was declared in a contest that ended at 11:13 p.m. after an initial 7 p.m. puck drop.

The contest is the second-longest in Michigan history, behind only the 2008 Marquette-Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Division 1 state championship game that officials ended after eight overtimes when they declared both squads state champs.

That game was 109 minutes long, thanks to 15-minute periods in regulation, compared to today’s 17-minute versions. Monday’s game was just shy of that, but had something the Marquette-Orchard lake game didn’t: One winner.

“It was an extremely memorable game,” Titans junior forward Ryan Fernandez said. “I won’t have a game like that for the rest of my life. It was a great game to play in, but once it hit five overtimes I was chuckling in my head because this hardly ever happens in the sport.”

After four overtimes, the teams played 4-on-4 instead of 5-on-5. It still went almost three full overtimes, even with the more wide-open game.

“At a couple points, I was like, ‘Man, when is this ever going to end?’” TC West coach Jeremy Rintala said. “In fact, the refs actually talked to us and said if this goes to midnight, we have to stop.”

The longest game in high school history was in a 1998 league tournament quarterfinal in Darien, Conn., between rivals Wilton and Ridgefield that went to a 10th eight-minute OT after 45 minutes of regulation for 125 minutes of hockey before Wilton won.

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