Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sure, We Had Knives Around

Goalie fight!! (Chris Rutsch photo)

A day after trouncing the Lowell Devils, 6-1, in a road game on Friday, the Hartford Wolf Pack manhandled the Norfolk Admirals at home on Saturday, 5-1, in a game where fighting broke out on no less than seven different occasions. 18 fighting majors were handed out, along with 5 game misconducts and over 200 minutes in penalties.

I'm guessing that the take down in Norfolk this morning is along the lines of, "We toughed it out all night against a good team on the road and stood up for ourselves admirably," but no way. Norfolk came into last night's game with the best record in the AHL (39-14-4-1, 83 pts.), and with ten players on their roster in double-figures in goal scoring, but were pounded up-and-down the ice the entire game by the Wolf Pack, in nearly every category.

Dane Byers put the Pack on the board first, on a nice shot that looked like it skipped past Admirals goalie Corey Crawford, and then Lauri Korpikoski sent home a rifle shot from the left hand side that almost punched a hole in the net and made it 2-0. Korpikoski has turned up his game a lot as of late, setting aside his former puck-hogging ways to become more of a set-up man within the offense (something like 10 assists, along with 3 goals, in his last 10 or 11 games), while continuing to forecheck well and play his usual solid game defensively.

Carl Corazzini scored for Norfolk midway through the second period to make the score 2-1, with Kris Versteeg causing two Wolf Pack players to fall down in his wake as he juked his way up the ice to set up the goal. For a while it almost looked like this game might follow the pattern of the last game against Norfolk in Hartford this season, when the Wolf Pack also took a 2-0 lead in the first period but wound up losing the game in overtime. But then Nigel Dawes ended that doubt quickly, scoring at the 16:18 mark of the second period to make it 3-1, which is when all hell broke loose.

Dawes goes after Craig MacDonald (Chris Rutsch photo)

Just as Dawes raised his arms to celebrate the goal, Norfolk's Craig MacDonald took a chop at Dawes from behind, Dale Hunter-on-Pierre Turgeon style. Dawes immediately spun around and started hammering away at MacDonald, wrestling MacDonald to the ice. While the other players were pushing and shoving each other, Al Montoya skated down from his end of the ice and threw his gloves and helmet down near the right face-off circle, challenging Corey Crawford to a fight. Knowing they'd be ejected, Montoya and Crawford went at it.

Montoya v. Crawford (Heather and Chris Rutsch photos)

Hugh Jessiman scored two minutes later to make it 4-1 Hartford, Jessiman's first goal for the Pack since the opening night of the season. Ryan Callahan's set up was the whole story here, as Callahan drew the defender in with a beautiful spin move to his backhand side and then slid the puck over to Jessiman.

Jarkko Immonen finished off the scoring for the Wolf Pack 10 minutes into the third period, on a nice pass from Korpikoski, but not before more fighting broke out. First, Dane Byers squared off against Jordan Hendry about a half-minute before Immonen's goal, with Hendry showing how much he fights like a girl. Then, a couple of minutes later, another major brawl broke out when Ryan Callahan started to duke it out with a Norfolk player (I think it was Danny Richmond), followed by almost every skater on the ice pairing up for their own bouts. Lifetime goon Reed Low started a fight with Corey Potter, which really wasn't fair, but Potter stood his ground well and Low ended up getting ejected for instigating and secondary altercation. A bunch of the players ended up in a big pigpile, and then just as all of the fights were winding down, Dave Liffiton suddenly jumped after Adam Berti, with both Berti and Liffiton getting ejected.

I think this was when Jim Schoenfeld started yapping over the glass divider at Norfolk coach Mike Haviland, which went on for almost a full minute and was pretty amusing. At one point it looked like Schoenfeld told Wolf Pack assistant J.J. Daigneault to step away, so Daigneault might've been putting in his two cents also.

Dale Purinton (5) and Dave Koci (3) (Chris Rutsch photo)

Norfolk's David Koci fought three times in this game, though he was charitably only given a roughing minor for his third fight (against Francis Lessard), avoiding the automatic suspension that I believe comes with three fighting majors in one game. Koci and Lessard dropped the gloves 1:04 after the opening puck drop, with Lessard doing most of the damage despite Koci trying to claw at him several times during the fight with his fingernails (ironic, because Koci supposedly spent the rest of the game trying to call out Purinton and Lessard as "chickens" or something). Koci and Purinton fought in the second period, with Koci getting a misconduct after he tried to toss around one of the linesman in order to get at Purinton after the fight was over. Purinton gave a couple of Rick Flair-like "Whooo!"'s after that one, once again playing up to the crowd as he skated to the penalty box, which seems to be a new wrinkle of his.

Lessard and Koci had the last fight of the game, although each player only received roughing minors (a double-minor in Lessard's case). Koci made Lessard skate at nearly full speed around the length of the rink in order to start things off, with Lessard then losing his balance with the first punch he threw as the fight ended up pretty much just being a wrestling match.

Lessard - Koci pt. 1 / Byers - Hendry

Potter - Low / Jessiman - Fraser
(Chris Rutsch photos)

Al Montoya was given the first star of the game, coming out onto the ice to throw a t-shirt into the crowd while wearing flip-flops and shorts.

Darius Kasparaitis skated during pre-game warmups but didn't play, and Brad Isbister is said to be on his way down from New York in time to play agaisnt Bridgeport later this afternoon.

I'm hoping to have a link to some video by the end of the day.

UPDATE 3:24pm - Until I can find something better, these YouTube videos will have to do for now:

Fan video #1 (4:03) - Screaming girls soundtrack
Fan video #2 (2:00) - Pantera soundtrack

UPDATE 8:54pm - The Wolf Pack Booster Club site has put up some TV picture-quality videos of some of the fights from last night's game (that's Montoya throwing a haymaker in a still shot from one of the videos, below). Either click on the picture below, or click here to go to the videos page.

Click to go to video page


Blogger Brushback said...

Here's an article about a fight that Al Montoya had while at Michigan two years ago:

Goalie Leads Fight In Penalty-Laden Game

with 13 seconds remaining in the second period, Montoya got tangled up with Broncos junior Daryl Moore. The forward skated away after a small scuffle, but Montoya wasn’t done with him yet. Montoya came from behind and pulled Moore to the ice in a fashion that would have made Hulk Hogan proud.

“He just poked me and said a couple of things,” Montoya said without really disclosing what occurred. “I think I tripped. I’m not sure.”

As the referees were trying to restore order on Michigan’s side of the ice, the skirmish escalated further when Michigan forward Eric Nystrom — the captain with an eye-for-an-eye mentality — confronted the Broncos netminder Daniel Bellissimo. Nystrom glided towards the Broncos goalie and the two exchanged words and a shove to the delight of the 4,000-plus in attendance. Even with all the ruckus, the referees never let the fight everyone wanted to see take place.

Both goalies gestured and yelled at each other from their respective nets as the crowd roared and banged their thunder sticks together in anticipation. But before either goalie could get past his respective blue line, the men in the striped shirts sent them back to their nets.

2/25/07, 3:46 PM

Anonymous quint said...

I was able to catch part of Bob Crawford's post game show. And Bob said it all when he referred to the game as "Whicky-whacky".

I wish I had thought of that.

2/26/07, 10:57 AM

Blogger Brushback said...

Yeah, I heard Bob saying "wicky-wacky" as we were driving out of the parking garage. I think he coined that one all by himself.

Damon Squat told a story today on the radio about two parents that had their children with them at the game, ages about 5 and 8. Damon says they were at the Guest Services desk during the game, complaining about the fighting-- "Can someone go out there and make them stop? We don't want our children to see this!" Damon says that they stood there for about a minute and a half, complaining about the "violence", while the HCC people tried to explain that they weren't going to send the police down to the ice to break up the fighting, because that's what happens sometimes during hockey games.

The punchline to the story was, Mom and Dad each had a full beer in their hands, which they were chugging down as they were complaining to Guest Services. When they didn't get their way, they finished off their beers and headed for the exit, Damon said-- presumably to drive straight home, legally drunk perhaps.

2/26/07, 10:07 PM


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