Saturday night’s aggressive and penalty-riddled contest between the Borderland Thunder and visiting Northwest Knights left something opposing head coaches Wayne Strachan and Don Babineau could agree on.
They weren’t happy with the calls.
“The ref tried to take the game over,” said Strachan after his team beat the Knights 5-2 a day after tying them 6-6 at the Memorial Sports Centre.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of flow to the game.”
“I think the ref controlled this game a totally different way than he should have,” echoed Babineau.
All seven goals Saturday were power-play tallies. In total, close to 200 minutes in penalties were assessed to both teams.
The Thunder got goals by Terry Parisien and Matt Johnson in a seven-minute power play early in the third to snap a 2-2 tie.
Parisien netted the final goal after he blasted a shot from the blueline between the legs of Knight’s goalie Louis Newstrom’s on a power play.
That goal occurred immediately after another flurry of penalties which saw Thunder captain Josh Baxter, two Knights players, and their coach ejected.
“I’m still working on hitting the net consistently,” said Parisien. “Just trying to be aggressive and make good things happen.”
The Knights did have power play chances of their own. After Marty Hanson and Justin Bodnarchuk scored a pair of power-play goals in the first period, four-straight minor penalties were called against the Thunder, giving the visitors an extended five-on-three man advantage.
Emil Satan and Nate Haskins scored to tie the game.
Strachan said he was pleased with how his players fought through the off-ice distractions and took control of the game in the third period.
“They responded and came out with some intensity and played a solid last 20 minutes,” he noted.
Parisien said the penalties could have been more severe had they lost their temper during the scuffles between the whistles. “We just kept it cool and made sure we didn’t lose any players for the next game,” he said.
Tom Iwaniec picked up the win in goal.
Chris Cain earned the tie in Friday night’s contest—one which went much smoother as teams traded goals and close calls throughout. The Knights bounced back from a two-goal third-period deficit to earn the point.
Despite his unhappiness after Saturday’s game, Babineau said his team (1-2-3) has liked what they’ve seen out of the Superior International Junior Hockey League in its inaugural season.
“We’ve seen good competition. There’s some well-coached teams in this league. For a first-year league, I think it will come a long way,” said Babineau, whose team plays regularly in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
Ian Lockman led the way for the Thunder in Friday’s with two goals while Dallas Mosbeck, Kevin Webb, Johnson, and Bodnarchuk added singles.
The Thunder (6-2-3), who now sit in third place in the SIJHL, next will face the first-place Dryden Ice Dogs here tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.
Dryden dumped the Thunder 8-3 up there last Wednesday night. But Strachan said the Ice Dogs (7-3-3) should expect a different team than the one which surrendered eight goals in a row.
“We just didn’t play well [against Dryden]. I think the boys will be pumped up,” he said. “They got embarrassed and they know they’re a better team than that.”