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Bulldogs nip Aeros in Calder Cup classic

HAMILTON, ON … The Hamilton Bulldogs have defeated the Houston Aeros, 2-1, in the longest game in American Hockey League history.

Michael Ryder’s goal at 14:56 of the fourth overtime period evened the best-of-seven Calder Cup championship series at one win apiece. Game 3 is Wednesday night in Houston.

The winning goal was scored at 1:03 a.m. EDT on Saturday morning, nearly six hours after the game began.

Hamilton’s Ty Conklin and Houston’s Johan Holmqvist were heroic between the pipes. Conklin stopped 83 of 84 shots, while Holmqvist turned aside 79 of 81 Bulldogs attempts. Conklin stopped all 58 shots he faced in sudden-death overtime, and the netminders survived a combined eight power play chances in OT alone.

Ryder opened the scoring 3:32 into the first period, and Hnat Domenichelli answered at the 10:15 mark. The game was scoreless for the next six-plus periods.

A crowd of 10,419 – the largest in the AHL this postseason – attended the game at Copps Coliseum, with many still around at the end.

The game surpassed by 48 seconds the previous longest game ever in the AHL, and was longer than all but five NHL games ever played.

Longest games, Calder Cup Playoffs (by OT played)
1. May 30, 2003 – Houston 1 at Hamilton 2 – 74:56
2. Apr. 10, 1982 – Rochester 2 at New Haven 3 – 74:08
3. Apr. 4, 1938 – Syracuse 3 at Cleveland 2 – 62:42
4. Apr. 14, 1953 – Cleveland 2 at Pittsburgh 3 – 61:46
5. Apr. 11, 1985 – Nova Scotia 4 at Maine 3 – 60:17