2 referees, 2 linesman and yet they couldn't see what was going on.
Let's start with the good things that happened...
Nolan Schaefer made a ridiculous save early in the game that kept the score 0-0. Brian Willsie followed that up with an exceptional shorthanded goal and then added another 12 minutes later to make it 2-0 Hershey after 1.
That is about when the referee's took over the game. And it wasn't the penalty calls they made that was so bad. It was all the infractions that weren't called.
Anyone who has read this blog knows that I freely admit when a Hershey player does something wrong. I try real hard not to see things straight chocolate and white. If a Bears player commits a penalty I am one of the first to acknowledge it.
And usually in games where there are minimal penalties called I am fine with it. As long as the referee's are being fair and letting things go on both sides. Usually those kinds of things are some holds, slashes, trips, and hooks that get let go.
There were some of those tonight.
But to not see high sticks and elbows and flat cheap shots all game long is embarrassing. Late in the 2nd period and through much of the 3rd there were elbows flying from the Admirals constantly. Any time a Bear player got checked into the boards they had to protect themselves from elbows.
Yet in the end I can even see that being missed or overlooked. Sometimes you don't catch it. Maybe they didn't have a good view. The Bears were getting breaks at this point too. There were a few questionable hits and trips that could have been called but weren't. So maybe they didn't do THAT bad a job.....
Or did they?
Late in the 2nd (13 seconds to go) Norfolk was pressing and they rang a shot off the crossbar that bounced around the crease eventually being blown dead as Schaefer was trying to get a hold of it.
And then the ref pointed to the goal....wait, WHAT??
How in the hell did is that that a goal???????
If anyone can tell me that the puck went in (other than the ref) then ok, maybe I will believe it.
Obviously replays at the AHL level are not exactly hollywood. So getting a definitive look at it is likely impossible.
But no one in the building...NOT EVEN THE REFEREE...saw that puck go in the net.
You want proof...watch the replay and watch the Norfolk players.
NOT A SINGLE ADMIRAL CELEBRATED LIKE THERE WAS A GOAL. NOT ONE!!!!
And play continued. When the idiot blew the whistle the puck was covered by the goalie. If it goes in then call it in when it happens. But the fact that he didn't call it at that point tells me that he didn't see it either.
The linesman did say something to him so maybe it was his call but even he couldn't have seen it. And without corroborating evidence there never should have been a goal called.
The goal light didn't come on (that I can remember), no Norfolk players thought it was in, and the referee didn't call it a goal until after the fact.
The amazing part of all of this....we aren't done.
I am not sure when it happened time wise but it was in the 3rd period.
Keith Aucoin takes a high stick to the face. Ref's missed it...obviously. But okay, things happen quick...fine.
So Coiner is skating towards the bench from the offensive end. The puck is deep in the Hershey end. A Norfolk player comes from the bench (on a line change) and cheap shots Aucoin.
I will be honest here....I didn't see what happened exactly. Not sure if it was honestly incidental, a trip, a flat check...all I know is that the puck was about 100 feet away and Aucoin is laying on the ice not moving.
Somebody had to have seen something. Even out of the corner of their eye. One of the ref's was still coming up the ice like Coiner was. How did he not see anything?
Aucoin left the game and did not return. Once the Bears release word on what the injury is I will be sure to include it here.
Those two incidents...the phantom goal and the cheap shot on Aucoin have to be 2 of the craziest things I have seen at a Bears game in quite some time.
The best part of the night...
Even with the ref's obviously favoring Norfolk the Bears came away with a 3-2 victory.
Simple. They wanted it more. It has been a while since I have typed those words about a Bears performance!
GOOD GAME BEARS!!!