A 1-1 deadlock pushed past regulation and beyond until nearly seven minutes into the fifth overtime, when Alex Krushelnyski found the back of the net on the Phantoms’ 53rd shot of the night.
Prior to that the Checkers had dominated much of the offensive play, firing 95 shots at Lehigh Valley netminder Alex Lyon and outshooting the Phantoms 54-29 in the overtime periods alone.
After Danick Martel put the Phantoms ahead in the first, it was Patrick Brown who answered for Charlotte in the middle frame, launching a shot from a low angle that beat Lyon on his shortside.
The loss puts Charlotte’s season on the brink as the Phantoms now hold a 3-1 edge in the Atlantic Division Finals.
That was pretty crazy, right? We out-shot them 2-1 and out-chanced them 2-1, so what are you going to do? You give it all you’ve got, and their goalie played absolutely unbelievable and Ned played really well for us. Guys were gassed, you saw it. It was pretty crazy. I don’t even know how many overtimes we went. They gave it all they had, so that’s all you could ask.
Vellucci on fatigue as the game went on
It’s just survival of the fittest I guess. We talk about why you work so hard all year long and all summer long, just to be in the best shape you can be in to play these kinds of games.
Vellucci on the experience
It’s a learning experience really – that’s the best thing I can say for all these young guys. In 25 years of coaching I’ve never went this long. I don’t think I ever went past the second. They gave everything they had and they should be proud of themselves. Again, you’ve got to win four games, they’ve only got three and we’ve got to win the next one.
Vellucci on Nedeljkovic
Everybody wrote him off last year like he wasn’t a good goalie as a rookie, but he’s proven everyone wrong again this year. He’s a heck of a goaltender and heck of a prospect, and he played outstanding for us tonight.
Vellucci on Lyon
I don’t know. He’s in the zone, and we’ve just got to get more traffic. He made some incredible saves where everybody on the bench had their arms up. That’s hockey. A goalie gets hot one night so we’ve just got to find a way to get that tough one on him.
Patrick Brown on the experience
Obviously the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but we had a lot of fun. We worked really hard and Ned played awesome. I’m proud of every single guy in that locker room right now. We battled until the very end. We had a lot of chances, and credit to their goalie and their team because they stuck with it. We’ve got a challenge in front of us now with having to win three games, but I think we’ve got the right group to do it.
Brown on staying in the game
Just stick to your system. It’s who makes the least amount of mistakes in a game like that, and I thought we did a pretty good job even though they came out on top.
Brown on the mood during the game
Pretty exhausted, but we were having a great time. Guys were laughing on the bench, keeping it light, trying to keep talking, singing, dancing – whatever you could do to stay focused. Having the time of your life.
Brown on positives from the game
We played eight periods of really solid defense and created a lot of offense. Maybe a little bit more traffic would be nice, but I thought we played a really solid game there.
Alex Nedeljkovic on losing this game
It’s hard, but that’s playoff hockey. You’re going to have some of those games that seem like they never end. You think it could come down to a funny bounce and a break one way or another, and I guess we kind of broke down in the d-zone there and found the open guy. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we’ve got to move on. We’ve put ourselves in a little bit of a hole now but we’ve got to dig ourselves out of it.
Nedeljkovic on his duel with Lyon
I don’t worry about what he’s doing on the other side. His game doesn’t affect mine because I’m not shooting on him and he’s not shooting on me. I got 50 shots or whatever it was tonight, but unfortunately I couldn’t make that extra save. It is what it is, and Saturday night is do or die now.