>Gophers Screwed Out of WCHA Championship
tUMD 6, UMTC 4
In what has become a disturbing trend in college hockey recently, the Minnesota Gophers were once again denied their rightful wins by the shameful officiating of Don Adam, Timm Walsh, Jarod Moen and Jeff Schultz.
Friday night, the Bulldogs scored when goaltender Kent Patterson made a save on Justin Fontaine, but forward Nico Sacchetti kicked the puck into the net. Head Coach Don Lucia was disgusted with the call.
“That was a terrible call. The puck was kicked into the net. It should have been reviewed and overturned. A puck cannot be kicked into the net,” Lucia told reporters after Friday’s game. When reminded that the rule does not apply to defensive players, Lucia merely continued, “It was kicked in, it should have been waved off. Or called goaltender interference. A player was interfering with the goaltender’s ability to make a save. It doesn’t matter who. We should have had a power play.”
The game ended in a tie, instead of the win the Gophers clearly earned.
On Saturday, the Gophers went down 3-0 before battling back to put the game within one. First-round draft pick and high school superstar Patrick White appeared to score the game winning goal, when the beleaguered Sacchetti was called for goaltender interference and the Bulldogs were awarded a power play. Assistant Coach John Hill commented after the game.
“This call changed the tone of the game. If we had been awarded this goal they earned fair and square, they would have gone on to score again, and then we would have had a power play goal, followed by a shorthanded goal, and then two more even strength goals. The refs are the only thing standing in the way of us scoring those goals. The goaltender needs to make the save, regardless of what other players might be interfering. It’s part of hockey. The Bulldogs got that power play, and that’s what caused us to be shut out by Anchorage last weekend. In fact, I think the officiating in this game prevented us from sweeping North Dakota a few weeks ago. If not for this weekend series, we would be on top of the league standings. I will be writing up a formal complaint to the league.”
The Bulldogs won 6-4, with Mike Connolly scoring five goals. Young assistant coach Grant Potulny commented on Connolly’s performance.
“I don’t know that any of those goals can count. The Bulldogs were using illegal players. I mean, Connolly isn’t even an American. The way I see it, the real score last night was 4-0.”
Even Athletic Director Joel Maturi was incensed. “We pay good money for these wins, and we’re getting ripped off.”