Mariners file protest with MHL
YARMOUTH, N.S. – Talk about a bizarre ending to a hockey game.
© Tina Comeau/TC Media
The Summerside Western Capitals celebrate a 5-4 shootout win over the Yarmouth Mariners in a wild and bizarre finish to the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) game on Saturday night.
Yarmouth Mariners’ fans were still celebrating their team’s 5-4 victory in a shootout, the three stars of the game had been announced and both the Mariners and Summerside Western Capitals had either left the ice or were skating off.
Connor Donaghey – who scored the winning goal with 7.6 seconds left in a game with the Miramichi Timberwolves a week earlier – looked to have been the Mariners’ hero once again, having scored the winner in the shootout.
But as the Mariners’ celebration theme song played and fans started to empty the Mariners Centre on Saturday night, something happened.
And the mood in the stands and on the Mariners’ bench quickly went from jubilation to disbelief.
The officials called both teams back onto the ice and placed the puck at centre ice, indicating that the shootout still wasn’t over.
“What is happening?” yelled people in the stands, both confused and angry.
To the packed house they were certain the Mariners had won the shootout, and the game, since none of the Summerside shots had gone in, including one that they saw hit the crossbar.
The only problem was the officials were saying the shootout was still tied because that Summerside shot by Thomas Stavert had gone in.
As the fans booed and yelled at the officials, the shootout continued, this time with a missed shot by the Mariners by former Capital Justin Rasmussen, followed by a Summerside shot by Alex Bradley finding the back of the net.
Now it was the Summerside team celebrating the 5-4 victory.
Can you say, “What the heck?,” because it’s what the fans were saying in the stands. Not only were they angry, they couldn’t believe what had just happened.
The Mariners immediately filed a protest with the league following the game, saying that video shot during the shootout – the entire game was videotaped – clearly shows that Summerside did not score in their three attempts in the shootout. The team is forwarding a copy of the video to the league.
Mariners head coach Laurie Barron called it the strangest ending to any hockey game he’s ever coached or been involved in.
“I played four years of junior and I’ve coached for 20-plus years, and I’ve never seen anything like that.” Mariners head coach Laurie Barron
“I played four years of junior and I’ve coached for 20-plus years, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said.
Asked about the officials’ explanation as to why the teams were called back to the ice, “They said it was a goal, the one that hit the crossbar,” Barron said about the third Summerside shot.
“Just looking at (the video) it’s clearly not a goal. We’ll send the video in, we’re just unsure what the rule is or if they can overturn it.”
If the result stands, the Mariners get one point for the tie at the end of regulation, but Summerside gets two points for winning the game.
Barron said that what seemed to be lacking in how the shootout ended was common sense.
“Generally when someone thinks they scored, they argue,” he said, but he noted that didn’t occur in this case, given that both teams were leaving the ice – one celebrating, the other, it seemed, accepting defeat.
Although when fans continued to question the outcome, speaking with Summerside team staff after the game, the story from the Summerside bench was that they had scored during the shootout. They said they couldn't understand why the Mariners and fans were celebrating, or why people were starting to empty the rink.
Yet even with the way the game ended, Barron said it didn’t erase the fact that the Mariners let a 4-0 lead slip away. Yarmouth’s four goals – three in the first and one at 6:52 in the second – had been scored by Colin Campbell, Nicklas Lindstrom, Josh Desmond and Justin Rasmussen.
Summerside scored four unanswered goals, which included three in the second period off the sticks of Thomas Stavert, Malik Johnson and Issac Jay to close the gap to 4-3. The tying goal came with 34 seconds left in the third period – scored by Maxim Pitre – after the Capitals pulled goalie Alex Kelly for the extra attacker in the final minute.