Longest game anyone can recall still talk of the GTHL


It was a hockey game that started on a Monday and ended on a Wednesday.

It's their last year of minor hockey and the boys on the Steetsville Tigers and the Mississauga Jets seem intent on squeezing out every moment they possibly can.

Earlier this week, the teams played a record six overtime periods in Game 1 of the Greater Toronto Hockey League Midget AA city final.

According to the GTHL's manager of hockey operations Peter Kourtis, it`s the longest game anybody can remember.

"I can't find anywhere in GTHL history that can tell me we've gone longer than that," Kourtis told CBC Sports.

"You have two really good teams, the kids know each through growing up, school, playing other sports together so it's a great city final. Unfortunately only one team will go to provincials."

The two teams finished first and second in the league standings and have played close games all season. But nothing like this.

The game started at around 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday night - and just kept going and going and going.

By midnight, five overtimes had been played and the score remained knotted at 2.

"I give the kids a lot of credit, they had an intermission every two periods and we were jumping into the dressing room, breaking up power bars for them to chew down and the game was getting late," said Frank Russo, whose son Alexander plays for the Jets. "You could tell it was draining them."

Russo said the quality of play remained high even as the game wore on.

"It was exciting. It was nerve-racking," he said.  "Whenever you see your son jump over the boards, you're kind of hoping he could be the hero and whatever happens please don't [make] him be the dud."

1 OT washed into another

For the players, one overtime washed into another in what became uncharted hockey territory.

"Everyone was just kind of looking at each other thinking, 'when is this going to end?'" said Tigers player Luke Buckler. "Everyone was nervous that it was going to be a lucky bounce or something that was going to end it. Nobody wanted to lose because we had played for so long."

"It was almost surreal, the guys were in a state of disbelief," said Streetsville Tigers head coach John Robillos said.  "There was no reason to rehash to game plan; it was lighthearted in the dressing room between periods. Everybody was just enjoying it. We all knew we were part of something special."

There would be no loser that night. With the arena staff ready to go home and the players exhausted, the two teams reconvened two nights later to complete Game 1.

Thankfully, the game didn't end with a bad bounce or a cheap goal. Both sides agree, Buckler's winning goal five minutes into the sixth overtime was a beauty.

"I picked up the puck in my own end and then I chipped the puck past the defenceman and then I looked to my left and I didn't see anyone except for somebody on their team skating back," Buckler recalled. "So I pulled the puck back and went around him and then shot it in the top corner."

After nearly nine periods of hockey, it was a devastating loss for the Jets players.

"Yeah, I made a bad pinch and they came back two-on-two, the guy shot it and it went in," said Jets defenceman Alexander Russo. "It just sucked but we had to regroup quickly because we had to play the next game right away."

That`s right. After completing the record-breaking game, the ice was flooded and the two teams immediately played Game 2 of this series.

The game went to overtime, of course. Just one extra period this time. The Jets evened up the series with a 2-1 win.

And no matter who goes on to win this series, Robillos said that seemingly never-ending Game 1 will endure.

"My hope is it`s a memory for life, it's that historical, its big for the kids," he said. "I hope they will remember it fondly."

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