Wednesday was another one of those nights where consuming local sports was akin to drinking out of a fire hose.
The Wild and Timberwolves both had 7 p.m. starts, while the Gophers men's basketball team tipped off at 8. All three were home games. All three carried varying levels of intrigue. In order: Wild vs. Blackhawks easily No. 1, Gophers vs. Hawkeyes No. 2 and Timberwolves vs. Raptors No. 3.
A normal person might have picked one of the games to watch — either in person or on TV — and kept tabs on the other two before heading to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour. Some of us, though, are not normal.
One of us used this strategy: Watch the Wild game while recording the other two. Family duties interrupted that plan. By the time things were resettled, there was the third period of the Wild game plus most of two full basketball games to get through — all while managing to stay off the internet/social media to avoid finding out the scores of any of the games.
Usually this type of sports gluttony with Minnesota teams leads to sports indigestion or at least regret. Wednesday was the rare night when all three games were worth watching, even if it meant speeding through parts of them (and still sacrificing some sleep).
In fact, it was one of the best nights of local sports watching in recent memory — two games that went into overtime (one double OT) and a third that was tied in the final minute.
People were still buzzing about all three games well into Thursday, and there was a common theme that permeated each contest: All of them could have been close, disappointing losses if not for some — gasp! — officiating breaks that went in favor of Minnesota teams.
The Wild benefited from a bizarre non-overturn of Zach Parise's tying goal in the second period, where Parise was clearly offside. Then after the Blackhawks went ahead again, Erik Haula's tying goal late in the third was aided by obvious interference by Eric Staal at the blue line that went uncalled.
Without those plays, Wild fans would be a lot more grumpy about the game.
The Gophers probably would have lost if officials had granted the Hawkeyes a timeout or noticed Jordan Murphy was out of bounds when he tied up Iowa's Brady Ellingson with Iowa leading by two points and trying to run out the clock. Instead, the Gophers tied the score and won in double overtime, escaping with a victory that figures to be critical to their NCAA tournament hopes.
DeMar DeRozan was fouled by both Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins while making a game-tying layup with 29 seconds left for the Raptors. No foul was called, denying Toronto a chance to go ahead on a three-point play. Tyus Jones broke the tie with a three-pointer 10 seconds later, and the Wolves prevailed.
Remember these moments the next time you think Minnesota never gets any calls. All three home teams got big ones Wednesday night, helping turn what could have been three close losses into two wins and a key point for the Wild.