Saturday, 31 March 2018

No goal by Raiders’ Fonstad a tough hockey call

A bump by Max Martin (#10) into goalie Brody Willms created debate.
    It was one of those plays that could create great debate in a referees teaching seminar let alone among fans.
    With the dust settled, referees Jeff Ingram and Colin Watt along with linesmen Tarrington Wyonzek and Ethan Cronkhite should receive high marks for how they handled the no goal situation involving a disallowed tally by Prince Albert Raiders right-winger Cole Fonstad on Wednesday night.
    For a quick review, the Raiders were hosting the Moose Jaw Warriors in Game 4 of a best-of-seven WHL first round series before 2,827 spectators at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. With the Warriors holding a 1-0 lead, Raiders captain Curtis Miske broke down the right wing and fired a shot on Warriors netminder Brody Willms.
    The shot rebounded long off Willms to the left side of the Moose Jaw goal. Fonstad pounced on the loose puck and fired home what appeared to be the equalizer to tie things up a 1-1 at the 10:24 mark of the frame. The official behind the net immediately waved the goal off.
Cole Fonstad saw his Game 4 be disallowed.
    After a long conference at the penalty box area, Fonstad’s goal was disallowed as it was ruled Raiders defenceman Max Martin made incidental contact with Willms.
    The Warriors later scored into an empty net with 15.6 seconds remaining in the third to seal a 2-0 victory and take a 3-1 lead in the series. They will try to close out the set tonight at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.
    In the aftermath of Game 4, the big controversy surrounded the fact that Fonstad’s third period goal was disallowed.
    The officials handled the situation properly. The referee behind the net emphatically made a signal that the goal was no good.
    With the play brought to a stop, the officials had a conference to go over what happened. As the call to take away the goal was an incidental contact call on Martin, the officials by rule weren’t able to use the assistance of replay in that situation, so unless another official on the ice can definitively say the call should be overturned, the original call has to stand.
    In viewing the replay, Martin’s contact with Willms happened outside the crease, but Willms still had his right foot just barely in the blue paint of the crease. In WHL games I have seen this season, the trend has been for officials to call no goal due to incidental contact in those situations, so the officials stayed consistent with how that situation had been called all season.
    On the replays, it looked like Warriors Russian import defenceman Dmitri Zaitsev was trying to force Martin away from the Moose Jaw goal and ended up guided the Raiders rearguard into Willms. Under that situation, Fonstad’s goal should count.
Goalie Brody Willms was bumped in Game 4.
    In seeing the play develop once at full speed, it is uncertain how much of Zaitsev’s actions the officials saw, and if they did see them, it is possible they could rule there was enough time for Martin to recover and avoid the goalie.
    It should be noted Martin tapped into Willms, so the contact wasn’t malicious by any means.
    Having seen the play live and checked out available replays, that call could have gone either way by being ruled no goal or a goal. I am fine with whatever way the officials called it.
    It was a tough hockey call.
    Unfortunately for the Raiders and their supporters, the tough call went against their team.
    To the Raiders credit, they didn’t allow that call to deflate them. Over the final 9:36 of the third, they played hard and created good scoring chances but couldn’t find the equalizer.
    The hard pill to swallow on the Raiders side was that they likely deserved a better result in that game and likely deserve better than to be down 3-1 in that series.
    The Raiders handled the post-game scrums well. Head coach Marc Habscheid and Martin said they disagreed with the officials’ judgment on the no goal. Habscheid express concerns about critical breaks with calls that didn’t go his club’s way in each of the previous two games.
    The comments were made in a respectable fashion and were honest.
Defenceman Max Martin was on the unfortunate wrong end of a tough call.
    The Warriors had to be credited with how well they handled the post-game media scrums as well. Moose Jaw head coach Tim Hunter said it was a disallowed goal, and with how fast the officials made their initial call, that was all Hunter really needed to say.
    Willms said the contact impeded him from getting across the crease, and he gave an honest answer.
    Overall, Moose Jaw has to be credited with finding a way to get a 3-1 edge in the series.
    The media present at that contest handled the whole situation surrounding Fonstad’s disallowed goal well.
    The Raiders fans that disagreed with the call showed their disagreement in a respectable fashion on social media after the game. They unleashed loud boos when the call was made in the third period, but no one did anything over the line crazy. The Raiders fans handled things well.
The Warriors are in position to win their playoff series with the Raiders.
    At the NHL level, there has been talk of dissatisfaction with how the whole concept of goalie interference has been dealt with this season.
    It is highly likely the whole rule will be revisited and debated at various league meetings in the NHL and WHL in the off-season.
    For now, the call to disallow Fonstad’s goal was just a tough call.
    It was nice to see all parties including the officials, the Raiders, the Warriors, the media and the fans treat that situation respectfully.

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