Ryan Potulny’s first goal of the playoffs, 2:58 into the fifth overtime, ended the longest game in American Hockey League history, lifting the Philadelphia Phantoms past the Albany River Rats, 3-2, at the Times Union Center.
Potulny scored on the Phantoms' 101st shot of the game, beating Rats goaltender Michael Leighton with a 15-foot wrist shot from the slot and ending the game at 12:39 this morning after 142 minutes and 58 seconds. Leighton finished with an AHL-record 98 saves.
“You can’t ask any more than what they gave,” Rats head coach-GM Tom Rowe said. “You hope you get that break. It’s frustrating for those guys in there because they worked so hard. In a game like this, you hate to see anybody lose, but somebody has to. We were hoping it was them.”
The Game 5 victory gave the Phantoms a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, which continues Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. Albany, which had never trailed in the series, needs to win to force a decisive Game 7 on Tuesday, also at the Wachovia Center.
“We still have a chance to win the series,” said center Kiel McLeod, who scored both of the Rats’ goals, his first two of the playoffs. “We made it a little harder on ourselves, but we’ve won in that barn before. It’s a matter of executing and winning a couple games.”
Rookie defenseman Michael Ratchuk started the winning play in his own end, skating the length of the ice before having the puck poked off his stick in Albany’s zone. It went right to Potulny, whose shot sailed over Leighton’s right shoulder.
“It went straight in,” Leighton said. “The game was really slowing down. Guys weren’t taking too many risks. That’s the way it goes. In overtime hockey, you never want to give up a goal on an odd-man rush. It was probably frustrating for both teams. It doesn’t matter how many shots they get. We obviously have to take the loss, and now we’ve got to regroup and win two games in Philly.”
The previous AHL record for longest game was 134:56 set in Game 2 of the 2003 Calder Cup finals, where Hamilton beat Houston,
2-1, on May 30, 2003. The Aeros, who included Rats winger and Cohoes native Marc Cavosie, went on to win the championship.
Leighton’s total saves are an unofficial AHL record, suprassing the 83 by Hamilton’s Ty Conklin in that game. The league does not officially keep those records.
Albany shattered previous franchise marks for most shots allowed and taken, as well as most saves in a game. Frederic Henry had 41 in a 2-0 win over Rochester on April 17, 2000.
The Rats’ previous longest game lasted 97:55, a 3-2 double-overtime loss to Hamilton on April 1, 1999 which knocked them out of the playoffs.
Jared Ross scored both of the Phantoms regulation goals, including the equalizer with 4:47 left in the third period, and goalie Scott Munroe finished with 65 saves. Munroe also had the secondary assist on the winning goal.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win it,” Rowe said. “Their goalie came up with great saves, and they jumped on a mistake. It wasn’t really a mistake. Everybody was so dog tired out there. I mean, they were dead. They deserve a lot of credit for the way they battled.”
The Rats failed to convert on three power-play chances in the third overtime, managing just two shots in the six minutes.
For the fourth time in the series, Albany got on the board first. McLeod was alone to bang in a rebound of Cavosie’s shot that bounced out to the edge of the right circle 2:57 into the second period.
As they did in Game 4, the Phantoms answered back fairly quickly, getting the short-handed equalizer from Ross at 7:41. Ross tried a centering pass to Kane that deflected on goal off the skate of Rats defenseman David Cornacchia. Leighton reached out to cover the puck but Ross kept coming and was able to scoop it out and around into the net.
Albany cashed in on its sixth power-play chance of the game to retake the lead with 2:46 left in the period. Cavosie stickhandled out of the right corner and sent a pass to the left point. Brett Carson cranked a one-timer that McLeod redirected in front for his second goal of the series.
Philadelphia turned up the pressure in the third period, outshooting the Rats, 14-3, Ross again scoring the equalizer. Kane kept the puck alive along the right-wing boards and sent the puck in front, where Ross got his stick on it before Albany defenseman Steve Ward and tip it under Leighton with 4:47 remaining.
Philadelphia 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 — 3
Albany 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 2
First period — None. Penalties — Angelidis, Alb (roughing), :43; Carson, Alb (cross-checking), 1:28; Kane, Phi (interference), 6:05; Powe, Phi (roughing), 6:51; Ross, Phi (tripping), 11:55; Bellemore, Alb (hooking), 14:49.
Second period — 1, Albany, McLeod 1 (Cavosie, Petruzalek), 2:57. 2, Philadelphia, Ross 2 (Kane), 7:41 (sh). 3, Albany, McLeod 2 (Carson, Cavosie), 17:14 (pp). Penalties — Greentree, Phi (high-sticking), 6:22; Guenin, Phi (cross-checking), 16:54; Zingoni, Phi (slashing), 17:26.
Third period — 4, Philadelphia, Ross 3 (Kane, Ruzicka), 15:13. Penalties — DeSantis, Phi (slashing), 5:31.
First overtime — None. Penalties — Jensen, Alb (goaltender interference), 10:07.
Second overtime — None. Penalties — None.
Third overtime — None. Penalties — Philadelphia, bench (too many men, served by Zingoni), 5:16; Petruzalek, Alb (hooking), 9:12; Ruzicka, Phi (boarding), 13:54; Kalinski, Phi (slashing), 17:00.
Fourth overtime — None. Penalties — None.
Fifth overtime — 5, Philadelphia, Potulny 1 (Ratchuk, Munroe), 2:58. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — Philadelphia 9-15-14-20-17-12-12-2— 101. Albany 15-14-3-11-6-5-11-1 — 67.
Goalies — Philadelphia, Munroe 3-2 (67 shots-65 saves). Albany, Leighton 2-3 (101-98).
Power-play opportunities — Philadelphia 0 of 5. Albany 1 of 10.
A — 1,809. T — 5:38.
Referee — Frederic L’Ecuyer. Linesmen — BJ Ringrose, Jim Briggs.