The University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team played a whopping seven full periods of hockey on Sunday before scoring in fifth overtime to win the longest hockey game ever played in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association.
The Bisons defeated the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 2-1 at the end of Sunday night's marathon game in Saskatoon to win a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
"I'm pretty tired myself, but probably nothing compared to my players," Bisons head coach John Rempel told CBC News on Monday.
The game went into overtime after the Huskies scored midway in the third period, responding to a Bisons' goal that was scored just 11 seconds into the first frame.
"That's actually the second-fastest goal from the start of a game in Canada West history as well so … it was just one of those games that probably is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Rempel said.
"I think between the goals it was 138 minutes for us of hockey, so it was very surreal."
The winning goal game from the Bisons' Venla Hovi, who scored at the 9:02 mark in the fifth overtime period — just after midnight local time.
The game broke the previous record for the longest Canada West game by almost a full period.
'No road map' for such a long game
Rempel said when a game becomes that long, teams have to rely partly on luck and partly on what's proven to work for them.
"There's no road map for a game like that. It's really a lot of gut instinct, intuition, trying to know what your players are doing, how they're feeling, how they're responding to the pressure, how fatigued they actually are," he said.
"It's a lot of guesswork and you just trust that, you know, all the work and preparation you've done all year can get you through it, and fortunately for us it did."
Rempel said the epic game was exhausting not only for the players involved, but also for fans and the coaching staff.
"I've been in a couple that went into triple overtime, so I did have a little bit of point of reference as a coach … trying to draw in things I remembered saying about seven or eight years ago," he said.
"But as it kept going and going, I was starting to run out of things to say," he added with a chuckle.
Afterwards, Rempel said the players grabbed their post-game meals — which had been waiting for them for 2½ hours — cleaned up, boarded the team bus and were on the road again.
The Bisons advance to the Canada West semifinals against the University of Alberta Pandas, starting with a game in Edmonton on Friday.