|(above) Zac Larraza's game winning goal ended the longest playoff game in Final 5 history|
by Roman Augustovitz
Zac Larraza was wearing a white hard hat after Denver's 4-3, two-overtime triumph over Minnesota Duluth on Friday at the Xcel Energy Center in the Final Five semifinals.
Larraza was the game's unlikeliest of heroes. The fourth-line winger from Scottsdale, Ariz., had not scored a goal in 23 games this season. Yet he ended this 3-hour, 45-minute struggle on a rebound at 8:14 of the second extra session.
He really should have given his hard hat -- awarded after games to the Pioneers' hardest worker -- to the goalie. Sam Brittain faced 70 shots and stopped 67 in the longest game in Final Five history. It went 88 minutes, 14 seconds in ice time.
Larraza? "At most I played about 10 shifts," he said. "I had fresh legs in the overtime."
He scored on his only shot of the game, seconds after linemate Matt Tabrum clanked a shot off the right post.