With four minutes remaining in the opening period of Michigan’s 6-1 loss to Colorado College last Thursday, Wolverine forward Chris Fragner collided into Tiger defenseman Jesse Stokke from behind and set off a odd series of events.
After play was whistled dead, Fragner skated toward the penalty box, knowing he had committed an infraction. The penalty was checking from behind and Fragner received a game misconduct, which meant he would have to sit out for the remainder of the game.
Despite correctly calling the penalty, referee Kevin Hall did not correctly identify who had committed it. Instead of Fragner being escorted off the ice, he notified the Michigan bench that freshman Tyler Swystun needed to leave the game.
“It was clear to (our bench) what had happened,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “The referee had his own ideas about what he had seen.”
With the referee’s decision, Swystun went to the locker room to serve his game misconduct, and Fragner served the five-minute penalty in the box.
But during the first intermission, Hall made an unprecedented move. After reviewing the play, he said that Swystun was to rejoin the game, and Fragner serve the game misconduct.
“I figured I was going to miss the rest of that game, with the penalty being called on me,” Swystun said. “The next thing I know, (assistant coach Billy) Powers comes in and says you’re back out there. I had to get completely redressed. I was just about to jump into the shower, but luckily I hadn’t.”
Replay was in use during the Great Lakes Invitational, but there is no rule about replay being used to change a penalty call. Replay is only used for determining goals in a questionable situation.
When asked to comment on the ordeal, the supervisors overseeing the refereeing issued a “no comment” through media representatives.
“We knew that was the right way to go to start with,” Berenson said. “Something like that shouldn’t have happened in the first with all the technology and all the people there.”
World Juniors Update: Several Michigan players are currently representing their respective countries at the IHHF World Junior Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia. Captained by Wolverine sophomore Kevin Porter, Team USA will face off against Finland this afternoon in the bronze medal game. Porter has two goals and four assists in the tournament.
Meanwhile, freshman Jack Johnson has made himself a public enemy of Canadian hockey fans. In last Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup between the United States and Canada, the Ann Arbor native flattened Canadian defenseman Steve Downie with an elbow to the head following Canada’s empty net, game-winning goal at 19:27 of the third period.
Johnson was given a game misconduct for the hit but was not suspended. In his next game against the Czech Republic, Johnson was reportedly booed by the predominantly Canadian crowd every time he touched the puck.
Freshman Andrew Cogliano will represent Canada against Russia in the gold medal game tonight. He is questionable for Michigan’s Friday night contest against Alaska-Fairbanks because he cannot get a flight out of Vancouver until Friday morning.
Porter, Johnson and defenseman Mark Mitera, who is also playing for the United Staes, will be dressed and play significant minutes for the Wolverines this weekend.
Injury News: Junior forward T.J. Hensick suffered a shoulder injury after a hit late in Michigan’s Friday night win over Michigan Tech. Originally it did not look as if Hensick would be able to play this weekend against Alaska-Fairbanks, but his condition has improved more rapidly than expected.
“He skated (on Wednesday), and we’ll see if he improves as the week goes on,” Berenson said.
The Wolverines will definitely be without the services of senior forward Brandon Kaliniecki this weekend. The alternate captain suffered a groin injury in practice this week. His spot in the lineup will more than likely be taken by freshman Zac MacVoy.