No wonder St. Lawrence’s Robin Carruthers said he was stiff for two days after the longest hockey game in NCAA Tournament history.
“I remember it was an early game,” he said in 2012, “but it didn’t end until after 6 p.m.”
It was worth the wait for St. Lawrence.
Carruthers scored 3:53 into the fourth overtime on March 26, 2000, giving the Saints a 3-2 victory against Boston University in the East Regional final.
The sports moment judged the greatest in school history also sent the Saints to their ninth, and most recent, Frozen Four.
In the regional final, freshmen goalies Derek Gustafson of St. Lawrence and BU’s Rick DiPietro combined for a record 149 saves. DiPietro’s 77 saves remain the NCAA Tournament record and the most in any collegiate hockey game since 1965.
Gustafson’s 72 saves are second in NCAA Tournament history. The previous single-game tournament record was 62 by Providence’s Chris Terreri against Boston College in 1985.
“It was like we would alternate overtimes,” Gustafson said in 2012. “It seemed like they’d really take it to us in one overtime and we would answer in the next period.”
Goals by Brandon Dietrich late in the first period and Jack O’Brien early in the second gave St. Lawrence a 2-0 lead. BU rallied to tie with a pair of power-play goals, and both goalies combined for 74 saves in the first three overtimes.
Gustafson made two game-savers in overtime. He stopped a shot by Jack Baker in front of the goal 5:50 into the first overtime and denied Carl Corazzini’s breakaway with 9:21 remaining in the second overtime.
Carruthers scored the game-winner on an assist from Jim Lorentz. DiPietro stopped Carruthers’ first attempt but he jammed the rebound between DiPietro’s legs.
“I’m now 34 years old and I scored my share of goals,” Carruthers said in 2012. “But that’s probably by far the No. 1 goal I’ve ever scored.
“After the initial dog pile on the ice, everyone was pretty exhausted in the locker room,” Carruthers said in 2012. “But we had almost two weeks before the next game so we had some time to enjoy the win in the buildup to the Frozen Four.”
The Saints lost to Boston College 4-2 in the national semifinals.
“In retrospect, it was certainly a very special game and one of my favorite memories,” head coach Joe Marsh said in 2012. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for the BU program and I think Jack Parker is one of great coaches in our game.
“So, for us to play in that game, in that atmosphere, against a team with the status of the BU program was very special and I feel fortunate to have been a part of it.”
On the cover and above: St. Lawrence winger Robin Carruthers scores the winning goal against Boston University’s Rick DiPietro during the fourth overtime of the NCAA East Regional final on March 26, 2000, in Albany, N.Y. The Saints’ 3-2 victory ended the longest NCAA hockey tournament game ever. (Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Quinnipiac and Radford
• Tuesday: Rensselaer (RPI) and Rhode Island
• Wednesday: Rice and Richmond
• Thursday: St. Bonaventure and St. Cloud State
• Friday: Saint Joseph’s and St. Lawrence