River Dragons Take Game 2 of Ignite Cup Finals; Longest Game In FPHL History
Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons win the longest game in FPHL history on Nate O'Brien's point shot past Dillon Kelley 4:04 into double overtime to give Columbus a 2-0 lead in the Ignite Cup Finals.
Columbus' Josh Pietrantonio continued his hot start to the final series when he buried a wrister 1:29 into the first period on a half breakaway over the left wing circle to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead. For the River Dragons captain it was already his third of the postseason.
That goal would stand up through the first 20 minutes, but the second period saw the offenses flow more plentifully. First it was Jonny Ruiz who put one home quickly, just 16 seconds into the middle frame, only to be answered right back on a snipe by Mac Jansen who got his goal 23 seconds later.
Facing a deficit, Elmira pushed hard and got another equalizer as a puck bounced favorably to Tyler Gjurich sitting on the backdoor to slam in for a 2-2 tie at the 11:23 mark of the period.
The River Dragons would re-take the lead on the power play later in the period as Jake Schultz's wrist shot went over Kelley's shoulder and in for a 3-2 lead with 3:51 remaining in the 2nd. However much like the beginning of the period there was a quick response, and it was Ruiz again on a deflection, 14 seconds after the Schultz tally making it 3-3 heading into the intermission.
In the third period, Columbus dominated the shot count (11-5) but both goalies stood tall to keep the score where it was as we headed to overtime for the first time in the series. Even then, 20 extra minutes would not be enough and it would take another overtime period to eventually find the winner.
As Jake Schultz left the puck behind his own net to go for a line change, Nate O'Brien skated it with speed out of his own zone and up the right wing wall. O'Brien played a pass back with Pietrantonio at the faceoff circle and then fired a shot that went through some traffic in front and found twine for the game winner 4:04 into double overtime (which broke the record for the longest game in FPHL history by 38 seconds).
Jared Rutledge gets his second win of the postseason with 34 saves on 37 Elmira shots. Dillon Kelley takes the loss with a 48 save effort.
Columbus now will have three chances to win the Ignite Cup in the Columbus Civic Center on Friday night in game 3 of the series. Puck drop is at 7:35, with pregame coverage starting at 7:00 on WTVM Bounce 9.2 locally and 7:05 on the CRD Network (Radio, YouTube). Tickets available at the Civic Center box office and on TicketMaster.
Three Stars of the Game