DENVER — Five overtime periods was certainly not the night Fort Collins goalie Sam Simon was expecting, when he took the net for the Lambkins in the CHSAA state hockey championship in early March.
"No chance, I didn't think it would go that far, no way. It was kind of crazy," he said.
He also didn't expect to tie a national record with 84 saves, but the rest of the world took notice. Simon received congratulatory tweets from ESPN hockey analyst John Buccigross, local hockey teams, Denver media members, and of course the team hosting the CHSAA Frozen Four.
"I think the Avs tweeted, I think that was pretty cool. I saw that the next morning," he said. "I got kids from Chaparral that were hitting me up to tell me congratulations and stuff. My grandma's friends telling me all about this stuff and sending me the papers and stuff, so that was pretty neat."
Simon acknowledged the valiant effort from his opponent Trey Hirschfield, who recorded the shutout with 36 saves. Going toe-to-toe with another great net-minder in the house that Patrick Roy built, it's a memory he'll keep with him forever, even if the 85th shot was the one he wishes he could take back.
"I just wanted to give my team a chance to win and I knew it would come down to whoever would make the first mistake, me or Trey, and I ended up making the first mistake there."
Valor Christian's Evan Pahos put the puck past his pad in the fifth overtime to end the more than three hour contest.
"I was like 'aw dang, they scored.' and then I saw him throwing his pads everywhere and I was like, I guess they really won," he said "We made it this far, we made it through five overtimes. You can't really do much better than that against a team like Valor."
It was a surprising reaction to dropping a state championship game, but that's the easy-going and mature mindset of a man who shoulders the loss for his team.
"I mean, then it hit me of course, after that. Then I got emotional of course. Then it hit me and I was like, ah man. That was a save I could make, and I know that. Those were saves I was making all night and I just happened to not save it."
Simon said it was a moment he'll never forget. His Lambkins team entered the locker room in silence, but head coach Dylan Strom kept the team in good spirits.
"Coach talks to us and says, we made it to the state championship and we took Valor and [George] Gwozdecky to five overtimes. At the end of it all, it was a really fun night, and realizing that was probably the best part and realizing what we did was pretty special."
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