By Chris Langrill
The Idaho Statesman
DAYTON, Ohio — There’s nothing more exciting for hockey fans than an overtime game in the playoffs.
One score and the game is over.
But, while it’s fun for the fans, it’s excruciating and draining for the players on the ice, both physically and mentally.
The Idaho Steelheads defeated the Dayton Bombers 2-1 in double overtime in Game 4 of the Kelly Cup Finals on Tuesday night at the Nutter Center to take a 3-1 series lead. It was the second-longest game in ECHL Finals history.
Steelheads players admitted the game took its toll.
“The toughest part is just keeping your mind there,” Steelheads forward B.J. Crombeen (pictured) said. “Once you get tired you can start making mistakes pretty easy, so you just try to stay focused and stay talking to the guys.”
Steelheads forward Lance Galbraith joked that he was ready for a little rest after Tuesday’s win.
“I want to go back to my hotel room and sleep for a day,” Galbraith said.
Crombeen and Galbraith don’t mind being involved in extracurricular activity on the ice normally, but that goes by the wayside when two teams have played almost five periods.
“You just skate by (the other team’s players),” Galbraith said. “You don’t want to get in there, you don’t want to get involved. You’ve got to save all your energy to try to win the game.”
Steelheads coach Derek Laxdal said the complexion of the game changes in overtime.
“There’s so many highs and lows in overtime,” he said. “You have to stay focused and you have to stay at an even keel. Our guys did a good job of that tonight, and they stayed disciplined.”