Trevor Kell sported a couple of puffy bruises on his face, but it was the price he was willing to pay to stand up for teammate Robbie Drummond.
Even though most agreed Jared Boll's devastating hit on the London Knights forward was of the clean variety, even the Plymouth Whalers knew it would likely spark a round of fisticuffs.
No one, however, expected London's Josh Beaulieu to trigger a full-scale brawl that culminated in goalies Adam Dennis and Justin Peters getting together at centre ice to trade punches.
"You don't like to see it, but it happens," London assistant coach Jeff Perry said. "Boll's an open ice hitter and Robbie was reaching for the puck a little bit. We're a skillful team. We're not a team that goes out there and fights, but sometimes these situations happen and you just hope you can keep it under control and no one gets hurt."
The scrap almost got out of control when several Whalers started jabbing at the Knights near the benches and London star Rob Schremp made an effort to rush the Plymouth bench. He had to be restrained by teammates.
Kell said the Knights had to stick up for Drummond, who was taken to hospital after violently falling to the ice after the Boll hit.
"The referee (Sean McQuigge) told me I did what I had to do," Kell said, "and even Boll said he understood. It's part of the game and you can't let a big hit like that, whether it's clean or not, go like that. I haven't been in too many of those (brawls) -- so it's pretty hard to say what the proper thing to do is."
Boll praised goaltender Peters, a Blyth native, for tossing the knuckles against Dennis.
"I think that's his second fight. He's a tough guy," Boll said. "He knows how to throw 'em."
The fights resulted in Beaulieu being kicked out for instigating and Dennis and Peters earning two-game suspensions for leaving the crease. London's Frank Rediker and Plymouth forwards Evan Brophey and Gino Pisellini were ejected with game misconducts. There were a bunch of fighting majors handed out and the penalty boxes were filled.
"We played a good game and when that stuff breaks out, you just have to defend yourself," Boll said. "They're a little bit tough because you grab a partner and there's all kinds of people around you and you don't know what's really going on around you."