The CCHA officiating crew of referee Michael Lacina, referee Brian Aaron, linesman Eric Froberg and linesman Ryan Gordon made a horrible call Saturday when it took away the game tying goal from the Northern Michigan University hockey team in a loss to Ferris State.
It was late, it was disorganized and in my opinion, an extremely poor interpretation of a rule that allowed the men in stripes to cover their butts and hide from a scolding by over-protective CCHA and NCAA officials.
It's better to be safe and throw a guy in the box rather than risk having to say, "I'm sorry," to the boss.
That's not what this column is about, however. It's about you.
Yes, you - The Fan - because the only thing worse than a bad call, is listening to fans whine, cry and scream bloody murder for a week saying their team got screwed.
Whether you root for the Wildcats or Huskies, Packers or Lions, Hematites or Miners, that kind of mentality is ignorant, short-sighted and pointless.
It's downright annoying.
Coaches don't believe refs dictate games and neither do players, so why do you?
Don't believe me? Listen to what NMU senior Justin Florek said following the Wildcats' 3-1 loss on Saturday.
If anyone had a right to be bitter, it was Florek after he was sent to the penalty box for roughing. The call came after the Marquette native made what I, along with others, thought was a perfectly good hockey hit on a Bulldog hard along the boards. He then sent a pass to senior Andrew Cherniwchan, who juked FSU netminder CJ Motte to bury a shot in the back of the net.
The officials convened, determined Florek made an illegal hit prior to the goal, and disallowed it.
Go ahead Justin. Be bitter.
"It's one play in the game," Florek said. "We had so many different chances and a couple breakdowns. It could have went either way. That one play doesn't determine a game. It's the whole game."
Florek is right. The Wildcats had plenty of chances to take over the game, but they failed to show up in the first and second period.
Even in the third period, even after the referees "screwed" the Wildcats - your words, not mine - Northern had three quality scoring chances right on the doorstep of Motte, but on all three occasions, NMU failed to get a shot on the FSU keeper. The inability to pull the trigger had little to do with the Bulldog defense, either, or the refs.
It was all the Wildcats.
You know what else led to the Wildcats' loss, yet had nothing to do with the men with the whistle?
Defense, specifically, the penalty kill.
Both goals Ferris scored Saturday were due to the Wildcats inability to finish, with the Bulldogs scoring in the final five seconds of a power play and the final five seconds of a period.
Junior forward Matt Thurber got beat on the penalty kill and icing by NMU in the final second of the first gave Ferris a faceoff in the Wildcat zone.
"We iced a puck that we didn't need to ice and then we miss a face off clean to the side and they made it count," Kyle said.
Let us not forget to give credit to Bob Daniels' Ferris State Bulldogs, either. They are leading the CCHA and fourth in the PairWise for a reason.
So the next time you think the refs screwed your team out of a win, take a step back, save your middle fingers and F-bombs, and do what the coaches and players do - take a look in the mirror and look at the game as a whole.
Save your disappointment for your team for underperforming and allowing one play to dictate the outcome of a game.
Get mad at your team for making 20 mistakes, rather than the one or two the referees made.
It's what Kyle and the 'Cats are doing this week.
"I thought the penalty was on the other team, but anyway, that's what it is. That's not why we lost the game," Kyle said. "We lost the game because in the first period, we gave them a power play goal on a breakdown there. We took a couple of bad penalties and were real spotty with our energy."
Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252.