By the time the puck dropped Wednesday night, the American Hockey League’s Charlotte Checkers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms (affiliates of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers respectively) were probably already tired, as they’d played the third game of their second-round series the previous night (Lehigh Valley won that one 5-1). And then, they wound up playing almost three complete games, with the Phantoms finally scoring the overtime winner on an Alex Krushelnyski one-timer from the slot at 6:48 of the fifth overtime period:
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 10, 2018
But the Phantoms got there thanks to goalie Alex Lyon, who made an astounding 94 saves on 95 shots, a franchise record. That was the second-most in the AHL’s history, with the old record coming from Michael Leighton with 98 saves in a losing effort from the Albany River Rats back in the AHL’s previous longest game, which ended 2:58 into the fifth overtime back in 2008. (Interestingly enough, the River Rats were then the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, and they were playing the then-Philadelphia Phantoms, who later became the Lehigh Valley team.) And, also amazingly, the Phantoms did this despite playing most of this game with only five defenseman after an early injury, and did so despite being outshot in every single one of the first seven periods:
Lehigh Valley has been outshot in every single period tonight (up to 89 shots faced and counting) and they're still in it with less than 3 minutes to go in quadruple OT. Alex Lyon is the MVP of the entire playoffs. All of them. Everywhere.
— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) May 10, 2018
They managed to tie the shots 6-6 in the final overtime, with Krushelnyski’s shot equalizing that count and proving the winner. And while Charlotte goalie Alex Nedeljkovic was impressive too, stopping 51 shots, Lyon really stood on his head in the win. Now, he and the Phantoms can hopefully get a little bit of sleep. Fortunately, they have a couple of days off now before Game 5 on Saturday.