Friday night the Lindsay Muskies came into action against the always tough Wellington Dukes, trying to put the memories of Thursday night's late game melt down behind them. However the Muskies were never able to get themselves on track, falling 6-1.
The Fish definitely did not get the start they wanted. They found themselves down a goal only 1:49 in when Craig Campbell beat Lindsay netminder Luke Bierworth. The assist went to Guillaume Naud. The Muskies were able to generate a few good chances, particularly when afforded a power play midway through the frame but Tyler Marble was equal to the task. At 9:53 former Muskie Elliot Richardson score a goal that drew some criticism from Bierworth and Head Coach Paul Mattucci, as Bierworth seemed to indicate he thought he had the puck covered. Referee Darryl Hancock, never a popular figure with the fans in Lindsay, was having none of it though. Bierworth seemed to find his groove after that though and made a number of solid stops though toward the end of the frame. A non call when Dean Klomp was taken down in the offensive zone had Mattucci in Hancock's ear again, and with only :04 seconds remaining in the frame the Muskies were penalized again, meaning the Dukes would have the intermission to come up with a power play attack plan.
The penalty problem only got worse in the second when they we called aga only :46 seconds in giving the Dukes a 5 on 3 advantage. They set it up nicely and Campbell was able to snap the puck into the top corner at 1:23 with the helpers going to Naud and Killian Kirkwood. Then just as the second penalty was about to end Wellington struck again, with this one going to Naud from Campbell, and Darcy Murphy at 2:44. That prompted Mattucci to make a change in goal with Mitch Maraschiello taking over. Matt Davis came closest to putting Lindsay on the board as he made a nice rush down the right side and fired a high snap shot that beat Marble, but not the post. Nearing the ten minute mark Matt Wildman was assessed a two minute head contact penalty, and the accompanying 10 minute misconduct. During the penalty kill a Muskie player was tripped right in front of the Lindsay bench, with no call, and when that was brought to Hancock's attention the arm was up again for a two minute bench minor. Although there was no more scoring in the frame each team was handed another penalty.
I don't think I have ever reported on the action during an intermission before but this was something I had never seen before. After the teams left the ice the other referee Sean Morrow skated over and had a lengthy conversation with Mattucci while Hancock waited by the ref's door. Hancock watched the conversation for a few moments, then blew his whistle, I believe to summon Morrow off the ice. Instead Morrow joined joined Mattucci on the bench where the talk carried on until the ice was half cleared. The Muskies assistant coaches, and even GM Sal Polito were involved. The talks did not appear heated, but each side took turns at length explaining their points.
The Muskies started off the third with a near impossible mountain to climb. A 4-0 hole to Wellington, and having to kill off the remainder of a Joel Wetmore penalty. They did kill that off but at the 3:00 mark Kirkwood scored for Wellington from Jan Kaminski. Just :19 seconds later it was Erick Delaurentis making it 6-0,and the rout was officially on. The only thing left to see was if Marble would get the shutout. He did not as Wetmore popped a shot through the goaltenders legs at 17:50.
After the game Mattucci was quiet, but obviously upset with both his teams effort and the officiating as a whole.
The calls were so random, what was a penalty for one side, was not for the other, which was what he and Morrow discussed between the second and third. He was also not impressed with his teams slow start.
The loss drops the Muskies one game below :500 again at 12 wins and 13 losses. The next game for Lindsay is Sunday night in Lindsay against St. Mike's.