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Wednesday, 03 April 2013 15:57

What is glove? Baby don’t hurt me ... Broncos stung by missed call, sent packing by Hitmen

Written by  Brad Brown, A Bard's Eye View
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The glove (pass) didn’t fit, so the referees had to acquit.

For all the reasons — and there are many — why the Swift Current Broncos are playing Call of Duty right now instead of playoff hockey, Brooks Macek’s illegal glove pass in Game 4 is the one that will stick in the craw of Swift Current fans and players for at least the next five months.
Barely 30 seconds into overtime on March 26, the Calgary Hitmen forward gloved the puck across the crease and onto the stick of teammate Victor Rask — an infraction that should have resulted in a neutral-zone faceoff.
But none of the four officials noticed and Rask tapped the puck into the yawning cage behind Broncos goalie Eetu Laurikainen, giving Calgary the win and a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
(Contrary to reports elsewhere, the puck did not hit Laurikainen — which would have negated the glove pass infraction — before Rask’s winner.)
The play was not reviewable since the puck was not gloved directly into the net and the goal was allowed to stand, despite the damning video evidence playing ad nauseum on the scoreboard.
“If that one hadn’t counted maybe they would have scored later in that overtime anyway,” Broncos captain Adam Lowry said of Rask’s Game 4 winner. “We were just unable to get pucks by them when we needed to.”
As fans at the Credit Union iplex protested by littering the ice with drinks and debris, Laurikainen smashed his stick on the ice and hurled a water bottle from the bench. Broncos defenceman Reece Scarlett had to be restrained from continuing his argument down the referee tunnel.
And the game’s officiating supervisor made a beeline for the Broncos’ dressing room where he apologized to Swift Current coach Mark Lamb for the missed call.
“It’s nice of them to apologize, but does it mean anything? No, because they can’t take it back,” said Lamb. “Probably that exact play will affect some of the rules around how they do video replay next year. It’ll be brought to the table, it’ll be discussed and there may be some change on the rules about it all.”
The league also acknowledged publicly that the play should have been blown dead but the damage, of course, was already done.
Back on home ice two nights later the Hitmen finished the Broncos’ season with a 3-1 win. Rask again wielded the dagger for Calgary, scoring the game winner on a low wrist shot through traffic that bounced its way through the wickets of Laurikainen.
“We had a hard time scoring again, which this team has had a hard time scoring all year long, and it bit us,” said Lamb. “But the effort and the scoring chances were there … we had them on the ropes.”
Coda Gordon’s tap-in at the side of the net off a pass from Richard Nedomlel let the Broncos play with the lead for just the second time all series.
But Calgary’s Jake Virtanen, fresh out of the penalty box after mowing down Broncos blueliner Dalton Reum, drove the net and pushed one past Laurikainen.
The final blow came late in the second when Brycen Martin turned the puck over to Hitmen captain Cody Sylvester at the end of a Broncos power play.
Sylvester hit Elliott Peterson with a long lead pass coming out of the penalty box and Peterson buried the insurance marker for the last goal of the game.
The Broncos generated most of their scoring chances in the game on the five power-play opportunities after Gordon’s opening goal, but could not put one past Calgary goalie Chris Driedger, who stopped an astounding 163 of the 173 shots Swift Current poured on him in the series.
“I don’t really think they did a whole lot better than us,” said Reum. “I just think maybe they captilized more on their opportunities. The shots and the chances were pretty much even.”

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