If you couldn't tell already, UNH lost to BU tonight. They lost 2-1. They outplayed the BU bastards for the entire game and worked harder than I've ever seen a Wildcats team play in three years. And they lost when BU forward Jason Lawrence scored with 14 seconds left in the game. Devil worshipers rejoice, and God shows how much he hates UNH hockey once again.
The goal was nothing but dumb luck. Lawrence didn't just play the blind squirrel finding a nut; he played the blind squirrel who was handed a nut by another freakin' squirrel who felt bad for him. All he did was slide the puck across the slot in a pass attempt and it redirected off UNH forward Jerry Pollastrone's glove and into the net. And while Lawrence gets all the attention of a hero, Pollastrone becomes the goat. Pollastrone played his heart out and was just trying to dive and stop the crossing pass, but he ended up pushing the puck over the line for the winning tally; I can't imagine how he's feeling right now.
The goal itself was bogus, but that's not what has left me seething for hours after the final buzzer. The referees called a hooking penalty on UNH's best player, James van Riemsdyk, with 45 seconds remaining to hand the Terriers the game on a silver platter.
My firm belief is that the officials should not decide a game in the closing minutes unless the players are endangered. A baseball umpire should not call a balk in the 9th inning of a tie game with the bases loaded. A referee should not call a holding penalty on a hail-mary pass and an official should not call a hand-check foul on the final possession of a basketball game. So that means in hockey, the referees should not call any non-roughing-related penalties with the game on the line. No hooking, tripping, holding, or interference. None of that. The calls are too discretionary to be certain every time and therefore should not be the deciding factor of a game.
Now, here's where I went a little insane.
Literally shaking with rage, I looked through all 212 box scores of games that involved any of the 10 Hockey East teams and recorded every penalty that was called in the last minute of the third period. There were 126.
Of those 126, there were 104 roughing-related penalties. Those include roughing (30), hitting after the whistle (24), game misconducts (9), slashing (9), and other oddities like cross-checking (5) and high sticking (2). Those all involve possible harm to a player. I have no problem with a referee calling a penalty like that at the end of a game.
Simple math will also show that there were only 22 subjective penalties called by referees in the last minute of 212 games. Two hundred and twelve. And of those 22, only five were hooking penalties. And of those five, three went against teams playing BU (vs. Maine on 2/14, vs. UMass on 2/27, and tonight against UNH). I'll leave it up to you to decide whether that's a coincidence or a conspiracy.
This all adds up to one thing: Only a handful of refs have the balls to make that kind of call with so little time left on the clock over the course of an entire season. Translation: It. Doesn't. Happen.
I don't think the referees should be suspended; I don't think they should be fired. I think they should feel ashamed. That call was a disgrace to the sport.
Hooking is defined as a penalty that is called when an offending player uses their hockey stick to prevent another player from moving freely. I can't understand how it's possible to make the call at all, but even an objective viewer would agree that the call on van Riemsdyk was borderline at best and certainly had no effect on the actual result of the play. So my question is...why make the call at all?
UNH was so close. The path had been laid for a national championship: upset BU and the only teams in their way would be Vermont and the winner of Miami (OH) and Bemidji State. Everything was set up perfectly for the first hockey title in UNH history. And in a matter of seconds, it all came crashing down.
It has taken an enormous amount of self-restraint to stop myself from dousing BU in profane, offensive word vomit. I'd love to talk about my wishes to punt every terrier I see or skip happily in circles as the BU campus burns to the ground, but I've kept most of those thoughts from escaping because it'll just get me into trouble.
So, I'll try to move on and get some sleep to curb my rage. I wish a Merry Congratulations to UNH hockey for their great season and a Happy Go to Hell to all of the undeserving BU fans and players who get to bask in the glory of the Frozen Four. Goodnight.