After a scoreless, action packed 3 periods of hockey which saw the goaltenders make save after save, it seemed the only way the puck would find its way through would be via a lucky bounce.. but what happened last night was the last thing anyone expected.
Ben Scrivens played a heroic 69 minutes last night, making at least 5 phenomenal saves to keep the game scoreless. He absolutely stonewalled Norfolk in the third period, single-handedly sending the game into sudden death. Just when it seemed the Admirals had thrown everything they had at Scrivens, at 9:09 of overtime Mike Kostka dumped the puck in from center ice. As the puck rung around the glass on its way behind the net, Scrivens came out to play the puck. However, just as he left his net, the puck decided to take a bounce off of a stanchion in the glass and take a path directly to the net. Scrivens watched, helplessly, as the puck took the fluke bounce in a split second. After all those outstanding saves, all the effort in playing an absolutely perfect game for nearly seventy minutes, a fluke bounce shreds it all.. it really is a heart-breaker for Scrivens.
Here are the game highlights: http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=446&id=180955&lang=en
As if that wasn’t enough to make your stomach turn, near the end of the post-game interview with Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins, they show an overhead view of the goal. As the puck is shot over the blueline, it is clear that a Norfolk player is still several feet inside his blueline as he is exiting the zone. As Eakins states to the media, the man was offside as the puck crossed the blueline. But as the puck hits the stanchion, he is onside.
Eakins mentions this as a grey area, however, the AHL released a statement this morning, stating that the result of the game last night came via an error by the officials. That according to rule 83.4 regarding delayed off-sides and disallowed goals, the goal should have been waved off. The rule states that even if the attacking player is onside at the time of the goal, that the shot being off-side prior to the goal should thereby disallow the goal. The AHL statement to the Marlies management reads as follows:
“We have spoken with Toronto Marlies management and confirmed that a rules interpretation error by the on-ice officials occurred on the Norfolk Admirals’ overtime goal during Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.
“On the play, a dump-in from center ice by a Norfolk player caromed off a stanchion and into the Toronto net. The correct application of AHL Rule 83.4 would have negated the Norfolk goal due to a delayed offside call.
“As AHL By-Laws do not allow for any change to the final result of a game based on an incorrect rule interpretation, the result of the game stands.”
As if the bounce itself last night wasn’t enough to make you sick, the fact that the goal should have been disallowed, should be. The most sickening part about all of it is that the Marlies sit three games down in the Calder Cup Final. They played a fantastic first 30 minutes, but could not find the twine. There is optimism in Toronto, yet the Marlies failed to score even with the insertion of their leading scorer in the lineup.
On a more positive note, the Marlies other top scorer, Nazem Kadri, seems to be improving everyday. There is no doubt that a healthy Marlies team stands a chance, but even without, they dominated the first half of the game last night and kept pace the rest of the way. The goaltenders are just making it difficult for both teams to score. Now that we have the AHL officially stating we were wronged into a loss last night, it should give a positive lift in the room.. after the gut wrenching pain in the gut passes. That lift being that the Admirals didn’t actually win last game. Obviously they were credited with the win, but psychologically, the Marlies can carry their positive vibe from last game.
For that reason, stay tuned ladies and gentlemen. This series isn’t over. There’s a reason why there is a Game 4 scheduled. As the cliche goes, it isn’t over.. til it’s over. And folks, it isn’t over!