The great thing about playoff hockey is that you never know when the game will end.
When Belarusian sides HK Gomel and HC Neman Grodno dropped the puck at 7 p.m. local time Wednesday night, little did they know they were about to make hockey history.
After 169:04 of play, Krystian Dziubinski was the overtime hero for Neman Grodno as they took Game 5 their Belarusian Extraliga series, 2-1. The six overtimes needed to determine the winner made it the third-longest game in hockey history, according to the IIHF.
By comparison, the longest overtime game in NHL history took place in 1936 with the Detroit Red Wings topping the Montreal Maroons 1-0 after 116:30. The longest game in hockey history happened in 2017 when Storhamar Ishockey edged Sparta Sarpsborg 2-1 in the eighth overtime after 157:14.
Here’s how the Dziubinski’s goal sounded at nearly 2 a.m. local time:
Gomel goalie Maxim Lubski ended the night with 67 saves, while Grodno’s Maxim Gorodetski stopped 78 shots.
“We all understood that it is also very difficult for goalkeepers to work for nine periods,” Dziubinski told the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation website. “In the moment with the goal, I thought that a strong shot is the best thing to do in this situation. Not trying to outplay the goalkeeper with his hands, not going one-on-one, especially since the Gomel defender was already approaching me. I played from a simple one, and everything worked out!”
Tough reminder for losing coach
It was another unpleasant overtime experience for Gomel head coach Sergei Stas. Back in 2015, while a player for Gomel, his team lost a playoff game in the sixth overtime after 165:11. As you could imagine, he had some thoughts about coming out on the losing end again.
“In some ways, it’s a bit of a mockery of the game,” he said via IIHF.com. “Maybe it would be worth putting a limit on how much overtime we play. Instead of going on for six periods, perhaps we need to think up some kind of shoot-out. Finishing at 2am is just…”
The teams don’t have long to rest. They had to travel back to Grodno for Game 6 Friday night with Grodno holding a 3-2 series lead.