By Matt Slovin, Managing Editor
Published March 4, 2013
Michigan hockey fans worried that a bizarre twist in the waning seconds of Saturday night’s overtime period could’ve cost the Wolverines home-ice advantage can rest easy.
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CCHA director of officiating Steve Piotrowski admitted Ferris State should have been penalized for having seven skaters on the ice instead of six — including the extra attacker the Bulldogs got from pulling the goalie.
He also said that any goal scored by the Bulldogs would’ve “absolutely” been disallowed.
The scenario meant the missed whistle could’ve been crucial. Michigan simply needed to survive the overtime without allowing a game-winning goal to seal home-ice advantage. Ferris State needed to win the game in overtime, which is why coach Bob Daniels chose to pull his goalie in the sudden-death period.
That decision led to a breakaway (seen at the 1:30 mark of this video) in which the Bulldogs clearly had seven skaters on the ice.
But Piotrowski said that had freshman goalie Steve Racine not come up with the save of Travis Ouelette’s shot, the ruling would’ve been no goal.
“The (officiating) crew would’ve came together, they would’ve had to disallow the goal and penalize as a direct result of that (extra skater),” Piotrowski said by phone Monday. “Needless to say, we want to see that type of infraction enforced immediately, opposed to after the fact, but there are corrective means.”
The NCAA has rules in place that allow for video replay in league championship games, as well as the NCAA Tournament. Such a play like a goal scored with too many men on the ice would be classified as a reviewable play, but not in a regular-season game.
“If video is not available to the officials, the only thing that they can revert back to is the crew itself,” Piotrowski said. “Everyone has a different perspective of it. Although the referees might not have penalized in that situation, the linesmen could have brought it to their attention.”
He added that the on-ice crew was aware of the infraction “after the fact.”
“I’m confident (that a goal would’ve been disallowed) based upon what they’ve informed me postgame in the review,” Piotrowski said. “I was concerned, obviously, that that was not penalized immediately.
“We discuss lots of things that maybe fans don’t notice, maybe coaches don’t notice, maybe the players don’t notice, but they’re important parts of postgame review and debriefing.”
After the game, each game official was required to turn in a report to Piotrowski that included their positioning at the time of the breakdown and why it wasn’t seen and immediately penalized.
Piotrowski said that the illegal skater was on the ice for at least 15 seconds. Michigan coach Red Berenson said that Ferris State had one too many attackers for the last 28 seconds of overtime.
“I can tell you, from the bench, nobody picked it up,” said Berenson, who didn’t hear about the missed call until Sunday. “None of the players, none of the staff and, obviously, the four officials on the ice. Nobody picked it up.”
Berenson said he spoke to the CCHA on Monday about the infraction and that it’s “embarrassing” that nobody caught it.
“I can’t remember something being that blatant for that long,” he said.
Daily Sports Writer Greg Garno contributed reporting.