We lost last night. That's too bad. But we did see something last night that I have only seen perhaps 4 times since I can remember: A diving call.
Yes, there have been many times where diving was called by WCHA officials, but this one was different because it wasn't an offsetting penalty. And before you get all up in arms, yes, it was a VERY obvious dive. The truth is, I'm surprised the WCHA officials recognized what a dive even was.
We see dives happen all the time in the WCHA because diving isn't called. Some players made careers out of it (Robbie Earl for example). But any way you take it, this form of poor sportsmanship is starting to infest all of sports. Just now sport administrators are realizing that there are football players and basketball players who are faking injury or acting like they've been shot when they felt the barest wisp of the opponent's body or jersey. And it has to stop.
The truth is, though: why call out players as chumps when they do it? Look, UND has had its share of divers (Chris Porter and JP Lamoreaux come to mind), but are they chumps? Their job is to play the game the way it is called and put their team in position to win. If Robbie Earl can make a simple check look life threatening which gets an opposing player kicked out of the game, is it his fault?
My claim is that players can practice bad sportsmanship all they want without repercussions if the officials decide that sportsmanship isn't something worth calling. It is up to the officials to defend the integrity of the game and safety of the players through simple enforcement of the rulebook. If they see a dive and don't call it, then they've determined that diving is now legal. And the players should not be blamed for it.
We saw this on Friday when MacWilliam crushed that BU player. It was a brutal hit. There may have been contact to the head but there was no replay angle that gave conclusive evidence of it. Yet he hit the ice holding his head and peeking through his fingers to find the ref. He got what he wanted. Diving was legal. So now fast forward to last night and imagine the surprise of BU's #13 when he got called for diving. It was legal last night so why isn't it legal tonight?
Oh well. It's not like we expect our officials to be competent. We applaud halfway competence because that's about the best we can get. But at least in this case, Sheptard and #unt made the correct call. Guess every once in a while they guess correctly.
Quick Hits and Other Notes:
-- I like our goaltending situation. Both Gothberg and Saunders have played well and I hope they continue to rotate. Yeah, I know Gothberg gave up 4 last night but they were as much the D's fault as his.
-- It was nice to see Kristo bury one. Between Kristo and Knight's shot attempts I was beginning to think that they both prepared their sticks wrong. Too much curve.
-- Grimaldi is good. LOVE the physical play too.
-- We lost last night. I've now started the ticker to the "FIRE HAKSTOL" thread.
-- The disallowed goal: Intent to Whistle is one of the biggest BS calls in sports, but the only way to fix it would be worse: replay. In order to fix it they'd have to call the game as it is played out, go up to the booth and time how long the goaltender had possession of the puck. Then come back and wave off the goal. Seems good right? Look at the disallowed goal on Saunders then. He was sticked and pushed and beaten up until the whistle (not dirty. Players are coached to do that. Play until the whistle). If this goes to replay, then our goaltenders are going to end up getting mauled and beaten. It could even promote running the goaltender. So, yeah, the waved off goal shouldn't have been waved off. But in the scheme of things, it's just one more blow against the officials.
I'll leave you guys with a conspiracy theory: Friday night the refs blow that call on the goal. On the next powerplay for UND they call a BU player for a penalty to make it a 2 man advantage.... The only issue is the very same thing occurred in the first powerplay of the night for UND but they didn't call it. Hmmmmmmmmmm....... Make up call? Same thing with Corbin Knight last night going for UND to go up 2 guys for BU. All's fair. Sometimes I wonder if the WCHA officials use situational officiating to ensure that the WCHA is a gracious host.
My Players of the weekend: Alexx Privatera (BU), Connor Gaarder (UND), Rocco Grimaldi (UND), O'Connor (BU), O'Regan (BU), Danny Kristo (UND)