Photo via Utica Comets
It took seven periods, over 126 shots, but only three goals to end game one of the Western Conference semifinal between the Oklahoma City Barons and Utica Comets on Thursday evening.
The game was going to be an epic defensive battle with the Barons stocking the quiver, and the Comets notoriously stout. But the real showstopper would be the battle between starting goaltenders. Richard Bachman vs. Jacob Markstrom was one for the ages as both stopped 60+ goals with 20 or more of those shots coming past regulation. Remarkable.
Seventeen minutes into the game the Utica Comets would score the games opening goal after some feisty back-and-forth moments from both squads. It was a curious goal, in hindsight, because it was only shot number six that Bachman had faced. The next fifty or so he would stop.
The Barons were running red hot, yet safely protecting their zone, when the first period came to an end. Things would really fire on all cylinders past the second period.
Early in the second period, Kellen Jones would score his second post season goal on a fabulous breakaway of sorts. He would beat Markstrom, and the teams would be even after 22 minutes of hockey.
From that point forward the Barons and Comets would each suffer a pair of penalties, but neither team was willing to budge on the PK or breakout on the PP.
Regulation would wind down with the teams steadying themselves, and both goaltenders hunkering down.
Through three scoreless overtime periods neither team was able to score even on three power play opportunities for the home team and two for the away team. The goaltenders, playing out of their minds, would enter the fourth overtime period, having played 120 minutes of hockey, hoping for a victory.
Curtis Hamilton, on the first shift of overtime, would punch in his first point of the AHL postseason. It caught Markstrom off guard, and it caused me to soil my fruit of the looms.
The Oklahoma City Barons would defeat the Utica Comets in game one as the puck finally snuck through the arm of Jacob Markstrom after three overtimes, plus a few seconds. The historic four overtimes would be one for the record books.