This might not be the most coherent, articlate blog post of my career because it’s 2:30 a.m. and I got home from Victoria about an hour ago. It’s not often a 2 p.m. matinee turns into an eight-period game and you have to rush to make the 9 p.m. ferry. But it happened Sunday.
So yes, the Everett Silvertips took five overtimes to beat the Victoria Royals 3-2 in Game 6 to eliminate the defending Scotty Munro champions 4-2 in the first round of the WHL playoffs.
Should have tweeted these earlier, but things happen. Like rushing to the ⛴ and inconsistent wifi over int'l waters. pic.twitter.com/nONko2dXuo
— Jesse Geleynse (@JesseGeleynse) April 3, 2017
If anything this game was a microcosm of how tight the Western Conference competition was during the season. Only 20 standings points separated the top-seeded Tips from the eighth-seeded Royals, the smallest 1-8 differential in the 14 years Everett has been a franchise.
The three regulation periods kept with the general theme of the series as Everett scored first, Victoria answered in short order and later took the lead before Everett came back to tie.
Then the goaltenders took over.
There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe the performances turned in by Griffen Outhouse and Carter Hart. Both were excellent in regulation and became sublime in the first overtime.
And the second. And the third. And the fourth.
Following OT No. 4 the game had reached a level of absurdity where it seemed destined that no one would score. It took a breakaway from late-season acquisition Cal Babych to put an end to it when he collected a loose puck at Everett’s blue line, outraced three Victoria players and deposited the game-winner past Outhouse.
Cal Babych scores in quintuple overtime to end the longest game in CHL history and advance the Everett Silvertips to the 2nd round. pic.twitter.com/GXuRIww2xP
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) April 3, 2017
After the game head coach Kevin Constantine remarked how role players and non-stars often step up and can become difference-makers in the postseason. He pointed to last season when third-line winger Brandon Ralph scored four goals in nine playoff games after tallying just five in 55 regular-season games. On Sunday it was Babych who assumed that role.
The Turning Point
How about in January when Tips general manager Garry Davidson listed then-Coquitlam Express forward Cal Babych, who was let go by the Vancouver Giants after playing three games at the beginning of the season?
1. Everett G Carter Hart:
The Tips netminder saved 64 of the 66 shots he saw, including all 41 he saw in overtime.
2. Victoria G Griffen Outhouse: The Royals netminder saved 72 of the 75 shots he faced, including 44 of 45 in overtime.
3. Everett F Cal Babych: The late-season pickup scored Everett’s first goal and followed with the game-winner about four hours later.
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