AND, Omaha was back on track just six days after a hand-to-hand combat, two fighting majors, and 104 penalty minutes
One look at the schedule and one could only wonder where this was going.
The Fighting Hawks and Mavericks, two teams who don’t seem to like each other very much, had five more meetings planned over the next 35 days.
Unsurprisingly, on Saturday night, the fourth of their six scheduled meetings, things finally boiled over.
In the final minute of AND’s 7-1 win over Omaha to win the Penrose Cup as champions of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, a close-quarters battle broke out. It resulted in two players – UND’s Gabe Bast and Omaha’s Noah Prokop – receiving heavy fights and game disqualifications for five minutes, which were automatically banned from a game.
It was UND’s first combat major in more than a decade.
The last one was January 21, 2011 when the same teams met in the same building, the Ralph Engelstad Arena, and Grand Forks Indians Mario Lamoureux from UND and Tony Turgeon from Omaha dropped their gloves.
The Bast-Prokop fight hasn’t been a brawl like other fight majors for the past 20 years – Kyle Radke of UND and Brandon Vossberg of Denver in 2008; Rylan Kaip of UND and Trevor Bruess of Minnesota State-Mankato in January 2008; Chad Anderson of Kaip and Alaska Anchorage in January 2007; Mike Prpich of UND and Marco Peluso of Minnesota Duluth in October 2003; David Hale from UND and Ryan McKelvie from MSU-Mankato in November 2002; Andy Schneider from UND and Morgan Kotz from Manitoba in October 2001.
But punches were thrown, which gave officers Tom Sterns and Brian Hankes the opportunity to call a major.
AND and Omaha have two more meetings.
They will play at Omaha’s Baxter Arena on Friday at 7:07 pm and again at Ralph Engelstad Arena next Friday.
“Obviously we played these guys a lot and we have them twice more,” said UND defender Matt Kiersted. “It got hot to play a team. I think you can expect some things to carry over, but I think we have to play smart. We have to try not to let the emotions get the most out of them.” I think the referees will probably be a bit stricter this weekend too. I think we will focus on staying as disciplined as possible. “
How it happened
After 61 seconds in Saturday’s game, Omaha called Brock Bremer to see a two-minute minor for holding AND striker Harrison Blaisdell in the corner.
Under the lead of 7-1, AND coach Brad Berry decided not to use his top power play unit, presumably to show some mercy. Instead, he threw a fourth row of Louis Jamernik, Jackson Keane and Griffin Ness – who scored a goal together that season – with defenders Tyler Kleven and Gabe Bast, who are not regulars in the power game.
This was not unusual for Berry.
He did it on the NCHC Pod when UND led Western Michigan 6-0 in the second period. He did the same in Denver when AND led to 4-1 with 1:07. Interestingly, UND scored goals both times (Bast scored against Western Michigan and Josh Rieger scored against Denver).
On Saturday night, Jamernik took on Omaha’s Joey Abate, the NCAA’s front runner in terms of penalties and minutes. But when linesman Andy Dokken dropped the puck, Abate chopped on Jamernik’s right wrist instead of opting for the puck. Abate appeared to be doing the same Friday night, and AND was leading 4-1 and less than two minutes on the clock.
On Friday evening, Jamernik had words with Abate. A second faceoff followed and Dokken, the linesman, also spoke to Abate before dropping the puck.
But on Saturday night, Jamernik responded by checking Abate’s arms before turning to try to join the play. Abate ran after Jamernik, put a headlock on him and Fracas was on.
Other players have joined. Bast headlocked Omaha striker Noah Prokop. Prokop got out, but his helmet came off and he threw a few blows at Bast, who was still wearing his helmet. Bast threw back a few punches, then they resumed wrestling. That was enough to qualify for the fight against majors.
When all was said and done, each player ended up on the ice in the penalty area, where they continued to yell at each other until Sterns and Hankes sent all 10 into the locker room.
The game ended with 33 penalties and 104 penalty minutes.
It was the highest number of penalty minutes in an AND hockey game since joining the NCHC in the summer of 2013. The last time an AND game exceeded 100 penalty minutes was February 2, 2013, when it hosted Wisconsin in a Western Collegiate Hockey Club competition. The game ended with 106.
Berry downplayed hand-to-hand combat after the game.
“I just think there are two proud, famous programs that are fighting, and I think each program is proud,” said Berry. “They play to the end. I think there are emotions that are … a bit high-level. There were some penalties that were imposed there towards the end of the game. I thought the officials did.” excellent job of keeping control. “
Both teams have a regular player serving a suspension this weekend.
Bast, who has a goal, three points and a plus of 8, usually plays in the third defensive pairing with Tyler Kleven. He will likely be replaced by the newcomer Cooper Moore.
Prokop, who has not yet scored a point this season, plays in the center or right wing of the fourth row and is a regular in the Mavericks penalty unit. Prokop was listed as an additional skater on Saturday evening.
“If you play these guys a lot and finish the season, there will be a lot of emotions in these games,” said UND Senden striker Mark Senden. “They will definitely come out with a bit of fire. So will we. I definitely think there will be a rollover, but hopefully nothing too crazy like the end of the game last time.”
Berry said he wasn’t worried that there might be a lot of procrastination.
“There are two passionate teams that play with a lot of pride,” said Berry. “There’s a lot at stake in these games, in terms of scoring and the situation of the national tournament. It’s one of those things any team knows that you want to keep playing good hockey in order to try to keep your season alive and play in the national tournament. ” Tournament here. Both teams have something to play here.
“I think, out of respect for both teams, they know there are two games left and they should be played right.”