March 20, 2011
Players tossed following mayhem
By STEVE GREEN, QMI Agency
Any more games like Friday night and the London Nationals and LaSalle Vipers will have to start handing out those “Hello, my name is” name tags to all the new faces on their benches.
Game 2 of their GOJHL Western Conference semifinal ended on an ugly note with a line brawl involving 11 players. In all six on either side were suspended for Sunday night’s game at the Western Fair Sports Centre.
Out for the Nationals were defencemen Shayne McVittie and Martin Greenaway, forwards Joanthon Sims, Billy Eansor and Pieter Schinkelshoek and goalie Mike Coulter. Sitting out for the Vipers were defenceman Zack Percy, goalie Joseph Lepera and forwards Spencer Van Buskirk, Dylan Denomme, Brendan McCann and Dylan Seguin.
Additional suspensions could still be handed out, said Nationals’ assistant GM Tim Simmons.
The mayhem started with 29 seconds left in the third and the Vipers up 7-5. Schinkelshoek was assessed a charging major and a game misconduct after running into goalie Adam Shibuya, who was concussed, behind the LaSalle net. The Nationals say video seemed to show Schinkelshoek tried, unsuccessfully, to cut between Shibuya and the goal and the collision was unintentional.
Eight seconds after that, the line brawl erupted. McVittie took a two-handed swing at Dylan Seguin for an alleged spear, Zack Perry of the Vipers got tagged with the instigator minor and all 11 players on the ice — the Nationals were shorthanded at the time — squared off. Lepera got into it with Coulter, a rash move considering Shibuya was out of the game. Defenceman Scott Prier had to don the pads for the remaining 21 seconds.
It was the second major brawl of the season between the teams, who had a similar donnybrook in LaSalle Jan. 9.
“What upsets us is both times have been when we were shorthanded,” Nationals GM and head coach Tim Flynn said Sunday.
“ . . . they’ve had two of their guys on one of ours. At this point, I’d hope it’s out of the system, but both teams are playing for keeps, that’s for sure. O
Vipers head coach John Nelson said it was “playoff hockey.”
“You have to expect the unexpected,” he said. “Those situations can be intense and I thought our guys handles themselves well.”
Asked if he thought a repeat was possible, Nelson replied: “Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball for things like that, but we’re going to just keep doing what we have been doing. That’s always been our message come playoff time.”
The Nationals’ game plan all along was to be physical with the smaller, speedy Vipers. But throw in the emotion of a playoff series and Flynn said situations like this will arise.
“We want them to finish their checks, but at the same time we want them to be clean hits,” he said after addressing his team uncharacteristically loudly in a pregame meeting. “We can’t take penalties 200 feet away, or even in the neutral zone. I don’t mind penalties in our own end if they take away scoring opportunities, but you can’t give them that many chances because they’ve got a very good power play.”
Add to that some errors that proved costly Friday, when the Vipers scored five straight goals to wipe out a 2-0 deficit.
“We’ve just got to be smarter,” Flynn said. “Our defence made some bad mistakes in that game and it wasn’t like they were getting beaten because they’re not good players. I don’t mind getting beaten by a better team, but I do mind when it’s because we make mental mistakes.”
twitter.com/SteveGatLFPressur guys know they have to stay in control, play our game and let them adjust to what we’re doing.”