Mariners file protest with Maritime Hockey League
Summerside Western Capitals
YARMOUTH, N.S. – Talk about a bizarre ending to a hockey game.
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 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 since none of the Summerside shots had gone in, including one they saw hit the crossbar.
The only problem was the officials said Summerside's 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 Justin Rasmussen, a former Capital, followed by a Summerside shot by Alex Gallant finding the back of the net.
Now it was the Summerside team celebrating the 5-4 victory.
The Mariners filed a protest with the league immediately following the game, saying video showed 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,” 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.”
Barron said common sense seemed to be lacking in how the shootout ended.
“Generally when someone thinks they scored, they argue,” he said.
That didn’t occur in this case, given both teams were leaving the ice – one celebrating, the other, it seemed, accepting defeat.
The story from the Summerside bench was 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 the Mariners let a 4-0 lead slip away. Yarmouth’s four goals had been scored by Colin Campbell, Nicklas Lindstrom, Josh Desmond and Rasmussen.
Summerside scored four unanswered goals, which included three in the second period off the sticks of Stavert, Malik Johnson and Issac Jay to close the gap to 4-3. The tying goal by Maxim Pitre came with 34 seconds left in the third period after the Capitals pulled goalie Alex Kelly for the extra attacker in the final minute.