With just 66 seconds to go, Sheffield Steelers looked destined to lose their second game in Scotland in the space of five days when they found themselves trailing hosts Dundee Stars 2-0.
But, less than two minutes later, Tom Barrasso’s players were rampaging across the ice to grab hold of forward Justin Buzzeo, whose goal 38 seconds into overtime had earned them a special come-from-behind win.
While the Steelers were understandably beside themselves, there will have been a huge dollop of sympathy elsewhere in the building for the Stars, particularly for their head coach Omar Pacha, who finally looked destined to end his wait for a first win over the Steelers as a coach at the 29th attempt.
But it wasn’t to be, the remarkable 3-2 victory seeing the Steelers remain in sixth place in the standings, denying Dundee the chance to go above them.
Afterwards, Steelers’ head coach Barrasso reserved praise for netminder Matt Climie – given the start ahead of Jackson Whistle – who turned away 34 of the 36 shots fired on his goal.
“Our goaltender was outstanding” said Barrasso. “Matt gave us every opportunity to find our game.
“As a group we have tried to develop the mentality of ‘stay in the fight’ – even when things are not going smoothly, keep working and driving forward with our game.
“While it is not orthodox to score two 6v5 goals to tie a game, it should give us confidence moving forward that it is possible if we stay in the fight.”
Despite being outshot 15-5 in the first period by a Stars team taking a six-game winning streak into the game, the Steelers went into the first period break on level terms, although the deadlock was finally broken when Francois Bouchard fired past Climie on the power play at 37.56.
Bouchard doubled his team’s advantage at 52.41 and, with just over a minute remaining, the Stars seemed home and dry.
But, with Climie pulled, Buzzeo halved the deficit at 59.54 before – just 36 seconds later – Ben O’Connor equalised, with Rob Dowd picking up an assist to take his points tally in the EIHl to an impressive 500.
That then took the game into overtime where Buzzeo quickly struck again.
“It’s one of the most heartbreaking losses I’ve been involved in,” said an understandably downbeat Pacha. “It hurts a lot. The guys were excellent for 58 minutes or so.
“But they pulled their goalie and just outworked us for those two minutes and won the battles. We weren’t tough enough, we weren’t physical enough and we weren’t desperate enough to get the job done.
“It is a hard one to swallow, but there are still so many posivies for us to take over thise recent run of games. We’ve still picked up 13 points out of 14 and I’m confident that if we carry on playing like we have done recently then we will win a lot more games than we lose.”