LOVELAND, Colo. — The Rapid City Rush and Colorado Eagles appeared ready to play all night. Adam Chorneyko made sure it didn't quite come to that.
After 4 hours, 42 minutes of hockey between two heated conference rivals, the Colorado Eagles seized control of the Turner Conference finals with a 2-1, triple-overtime victory over the Rapid City Rush in a record-setting, classic showdown Thursday at the Budweiser Events Center.
With the third overtime 4:35 old, Scott May and Daymen Rycroft forced a turnover in the Rapid City zone. May found a wide-open Chorneyko swooping between the circles.
The rookie's wrister found the back of the net and ended the longest game in both Colorado's and Rapid City's history. The showdown was the fifth-longest game in Central Hockey League lore.
"I picked it off my skate and saw that open corner, and there's no better feeling than this," Chorneyko said. "I've never been in a long overtime game like this, and to get that game-winner, I'm truly honored to see the boys get rewarded like this."
The epic win gives the Eagles a commanding 3-1 lead over Rapid City in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is set for 7:05 p.m. MDT Saturday at the Rushmore Plaza Civic center Ice Arena.
The crushing loss overshadowed a disciplined game by the Rush and a magnificent performance by Rush goaltender Tim Boron who made a league-record 68 saves.
"The goaltending on both sides was just phenomenal. Some of the saves Timmy made in the first overtime were just incredible, and the chances we had were missed," Rush head coach Joe Ferras said. "It's just unfortunate that one team has to lose, and it's unfortunate how we lost.
"Both (Eagles) goals, we had the puck full control. Obviously, in overtime, we were tired. We turn it over, and it's in the back of the net."
The Rush were that close to their own heroic finish just 35 seconds into the third extra frame when Konrad Reeder's open shot bounced high off the crossbar.
But in a game filled with shots - 131, to be exact - it was the goaltenders that seized the spotlight.
Boron did everything he could to keep Rapid City in the game, including thwarting a Kevin Ulanski penalty shot midway through the first overtime.
Kyle Jones, 1-2 in just four games played this postseason, but fresh with six days since his last start, stopped 60-of 61-shots.
Ulanski's penalty shot came after a stretch through the entire third period and into the first overtime where the referees swallowed their whistles.
Colorado coach Chris Stewart said Boron's left pad save of the penalty shot could have turned the game around.
"We really had them hemmed in, and then we get this penalty shot. When we didn't score, the tide changed and it looked like they were going to put the puck in the net," Stewart said.
Rapid City had a pair of chances to end the game in the second overtime when the Eagles were whistled for penalties, but the Rush could get little started on the power play.
The Rush struck first in the game when Scott Wray found the back of the net midway through the second period off an assist from Riley Weselowski. The goal, on the man-advantage, ensured that Rapid City had a power-play tally for the 16th consecutive contest.
Boron pitched a shutout for 56 minutes, 23 seconds to begin the game until Kevin Ulanski finally found an opening on a blast that deflected off the crossbar, tying the game at 1-all.
The two teams then sent shot after shot at Boron and Jones.
The relatively clean game played by both teams was especially important to Rapid City. Of the 35 goals scored against the Rush in the playoffs, 18 had come on the man-advantage.
The Rush were 1-for-7 on the power play, while the Eagles were shut out on four extra-man attempts.
Brendon Hodge didn't dress because of an undisclosed injury sustained in Tuesday's 7-4 loss in Game 3.
The Rush now face elimination in Game 5 on Saturday.
"This is crushing right now, no doubt about it," Ferras said. "We'll get back, try to rest up and then chip away one by one now."
Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect a correction. Adam Chorneyko's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version.