LOVELAND, CO – There have been many facets to Darryl Bootland‘s game which have come out over the course of his career. Pest, hard-working, and physical player are just three that come to mind.
But in the dying minutes of Sunday, there was another trait which emerged. Overtime hero.
Bootland scored 2:31 into the third overtime to give the Colorado Eagles a 5-4 win over the Utah Grizzlies, tying their best-of-seven Western Quarterfinal Series at one game apiece.
The series heads to Utah for games on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
T.J. Syner opened the scoring 7:53 into the contest, tipping home a Phil Pietroniro shot. From there, Colorado would score the next three goals in rapid succession to take control of the game 3-1 in the middle stages of the opening period. The three goals in 90 seconds for Colorado would spell the end of the night for Utah’s game 1 starter, Mark Owuya. He allowed three goals on five shots.
With Ryan Faragher in net, the Grizzlies began chipping away at the Eagles lead.
Grizzlies defenseman Connor Hardowa narrowed the Eagles lead to one when he took a feed from Barry Almeida and put it by Eagles netminder Kris Lazaruk at 4:58 of the period. Minutes later, Syner had a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot, but was denied. That was the second attempted penalty shot this postseason, both have missed.
The action picked back up again early in the final period. Just forty seconds in, Ryan Hayes scored to tie the game at three as he buried a shot from between the faceoff circles after receiving a nice pass from Almeida, who recorded his second assist of the game.
Colorado would regain the advantage just 3:14 later, as Bootland notched his first goal of the night found the back of the net behind Faragher. But, during a four-on-four situation, Charles Sarault scored his first goal of the playoffs at 7:18 of the period to even the game at 4.
Each team had power-play opportunities during the overtimes, but were not able to convert.
Ryan Faragher took the overtime loss, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced. On the other side, Kris Lazaruk won his first ECHL playoff game, turning aside 40 of 44 shots.
The game is the second-longest in Grizzlies history, was the 19th triple overtime game played in Kelly Cup Playoffs history and finished as the 16th longest in ECHL history. It was also the first triple overtime game played since last year’s Eastern Conference Final game 7 between the South Carolina Stingrays and Toledo Walleye.