Minnetonka's road to a record third consecutive Class 2A girls' hockey state tournament title took a full game longer than planned.
The Skippers clinched the crown by defeating Hill-Murray 3-1 on Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It was the Skippers' second action of the day.
Their 4-3 semifinal victory against Lakeville North lasted a record six overtimes and 113 minutes and 29 seconds. The game ended at 1:02 a.m. Saturday in front of an estimated 500 diehard fans. ESPN ran a short segment on Saturday morning's SportsCenter including a graphic of the game's notable statistics.
Three records were broken: duration of game, shots on goal in an overtime game (63 for Minnetonka) and saves by a goaltender (59 for Lakeville North's Cassie Alexander).
Amy Petersen was credited with the game-winning goal at 4:29 of the sixth overtime after Laura Bowman's shot deflected off her and past Alexander.
"It hit me right in the chest," Petersen said.
The placement was fitting as both teams led with their hearts.
"You feel terrible that a team had to lose that game," Minnetonka coach Eric Johnson said.
After giving up two first-period goals, Alexander overcame self-described "shaky" play to become the Panthers' rock. Second-guessing kept her awake until 4 a.m. Her body reminded her of the grind later in the morning.
"I thought I knew what pain was until now," Alexander said. "I have bruises on both shoulders, my hips, my legs. I have blisters all over my feet. Walking to and from the locker room was probably the hardest part."
Minnesota State High School League associate director Craig Perry, who manages the boys' and girls' state hockey tournament, said at 1 a.m. he wondered how long play should continue.
Vendors helped get sports drinks, chocolate milk and fruit snacks to the teams. The medical staff was on hand outside the locker rooms.
Chad Shikowsky, an 11-year official working the game, said players were never fatigued to the point of risking injury. He said he will see both teams' "elation, tears and flushed faces for a while."
In the television broadcast booth, two-time Olympian Krissy Wendell said she and others on the telecast "had to keep announcing that it was still live TV." Wendell was told the ratings at 1 a.m. were better than when the game started about 9 p.m.
Wendell, who guided Park Center to the 2000 state championship, said the semifinal game helped the tournament create a wider buzz.
"It gives the tournament some credibility," Wendell said. "Sometimes you hear people say there's always a clear-cut winner. That game showed it's not always the case. That was a good game."
Said Johnson: "We wanted to extend the season one more week after the section playoffs. We didn't know that meant we would play three games in one night. I've never seen or been a part of anything like it."