With a seemingly endless train of flying fists, two women’s college hockey teams set an NCAA record last week.
A bench-clearing brawl Friday between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Bemidji State Beavers as the horn sounded to end the game added 41 penalties -- 20 game disqualifications, 19 fighting majors, one face-masking major and one instigator -- to the scoresheet. A total of 303 penalty minutes were assessed in the game, crushing the previous NCAA record for either men or women.
The old record was 268 minutes, set by Boston University and Maine during a men’s game in 2004.
As for what sparked the brawl, Buckeyes coach Nate Handrahan couldn’t offer an explanation.
“I don’t really know what happened, to be quite honest,” Handrahan said during the post-game press conference. “All I know is there were players taking liberties with our players. There was some chippiness throughout the course of the game.
“I’ve got to believe that our players, and as a staff, as a program, we’re not happy with teams celebrating on our ice surface and going off the ice yipping and hooting and hollering. What happened at the end of the game doesn’t happen often in women’s hockey.
“But I can tell you this: We’re happy to at least see our girls show some fight and some spirit. Outside of that, I think hockey in general is trying to get that stuff out of the game. We have our own issues to deal with.”
The two squads didn’t wait long for a rematch as they faced one another the very next day. Unfortunately, game disqualification penalties in the NCAA come with an automatic one-game suspension. Each team was only able to dress six forwards and four defencemen.