I heard from a friend in Knoxville more details about last night's officiating debacle...and its aftermath.
First, let's back up to Kyle Johnson's first goal of the season (congrats, Kyle!), a goal which gave the Snakes a 3-2 lead. Play continued after Kyle's shot went in and ricocheted right back out. It apparently hit the crossbar but one of the refs immediately signaled "goal" and, even after the goal judge, who didn't light the lamp, rendered his "no goal" opinion, the goal was awarded to Kyle and the Snakes. Controversy #1.
Now to the travesty at the end. Regarding the penalties assess: Andrew Loewen, at worst, could have been given a two-minute delay penalty for knocking the net off, though I still say at this juncture that's a no-call. If you go back to a recent game in Knoxville, Andrew knocked the net off countless times. The nets there aren't anchored by marsh pegs, which extend down into the ice to anchor the net firmly. The net going off its moorings is a fact of life in Knoxville. There's no way in the world to justify the ref choosing that moment to cite Andrew for this when there was no evidence he intended to knock it off.
Jerome Bechard was given the two-minute delay penalty in error. He amazingly was not given a gamer or abuse of officials or any of the 'big' penalties...yet. But expect a hefty fine and attention-getting suspension. Sources tell me that JB went to the officials' lockerroom last night to continue making his point. One source said he actually went INTO the lockerroom. This is a huge step from what I've seen many times...coaches hollering as the refs go by or even hollering at the their lockerroom door.
Never miss a local story.
This sets a very dangerous precedent and should and will be dealt with severely by the league. Rinks employ different types of security, a fact which has been debated over the years. See: Moor, Daryl...Huntsville. Bill Coffey called one level t-shirt security, which some rinks have.
My pal Paul Ezell is a Columbus police officer in full uniform, gun, handcuffs, nightstick, the whole nine yards in addition to years of experience. Though soft-spoken and friendly, Paul takes charge of those refs and NOBODY gets near them. Then he takes care of me...lol.
I have been near the Knoxville lockerrooms, along with many others in the league, but I honestly don't remember what type of security they have. I'm NOT blaming Knoxville security for this breach of conduct. I'm just saying that, with t-shirt security manning a number of rinks for financial reasons, this puts the refs in danger and also presents the possibility of a lot of highly-charged individuals being in close quarters. It's just plain dangerous.
This situation was all Jerome's responsibility. He was beyond livid at the way officiating at the end of the game was botched and the fact that the refs determined its outcome. Sorry, Snakes fans, there is still absolutely no excuse for entering the refs' lockerroom. We'll see Jerome in the stands for several games, I'm sure.
The other problem the Cottonmouths could be facing is a fine and suspension for Tory Allan. Ya'all remember last night I said that two players were way too close to the refs to suit me? Well, Tory was one of them. My source said that Tory made contact with one of the refs at the end of the game. Another huge no-no.
The referees write a report after each game. This one should be a doozy. As of this moment, Pointstreak remains unchanged. I'll keep checking on it to see if additional penalties are added.
We've not heard the last of this situation.