ND-Fairfield skaters drop controversial double-overtime game
WEST HAVEN -- The game was over. Or so almost everyone thought. Notre Dame-Fairfield was celebrating its victory in a pile of players to the right of the Glastonbury goal after Michael Antoniou had banged home a rebound early in the second overtime.
But referee Rich Pettit had lost sight of the puck and blown the whistle.
No goal. No celebration. No Notre Dame-Fairfield victory.
Instead of advancing in to the Division I hockey semifinals, the Lancers suddenly had to regroup and stay focused. Try as Notre Dame might, however, it was Glastonbury that came away with the 3-2 double-overtime victory, thanks to Tyler MacLean's goal at the 8:00 mark.
"It looked like we scored. It was an odd-man rush ¦ the goalie never had control of the puck and then our guy poked it in and then the ref decides that he blew the whistle," Lancers coach Steve Hetherman said. "He waved it off ¦ after he pointed it (the puck) in. Did you guys hear a whistle? I never heard the whistle. You guys saw what I saw."
What just about everyone saw was Antoniou -- in a 4-on-4 skating situation -- power down the left side and take a shot that Glastonbury goaltender Kyle Thibodeaux made the initial save on. But what Pettit apparently didn't see was the puck trickle through Thibodeaux's pads, where Antoniou banged it home at the 3:54 mark, setting off a wild, but short-lived celebration.
"It's terrible," Hetherman said. "He (Pettit) told me that when the goalie made the initial save, he said, `I instinctively put the whistle in my mouth. And then your guy taps it in and I pointed. But that was all out of instinct and I blew the whistle.'
"This is why we need a rating system for referees in the CIAC. You know what that guy (Pettit) does? He runs the Trinity rink. Guess who skates out of Trinity? (Glastonbury). I mean, enough. There's too much conflict of interest here. I've got nothing else to say."
Predictably, the Notre Dame players were distraught after the MacLean goal to end it. Lancers captain Jonny Suporn screamed at the referees at center ice and had to be restrained by a teammate before tearfully getting into the handshake line.
Hetherman simply couldn't believe that the goal was taken away.
"When they were discussing the play I couldn't think that they were going to go the other way," Hetherman said. "He pointed. It should have been a goal. But we told the kids it's a life lesson. They'll understand some day."
Glastonbury (17-4-1) will meet Greenwich, a 5-2 winner over Fairfield Prep, on Wednesday at Yale's Ingalls Rink at either 5:30 or 7:30 p.m.
Suporn opened the scoring for Notre Dame (12-10), beating Thibodeaux from the short side at 3:17 of the first period, But Glastonbury got the equalizer at 3:41 of the second period as Zach McGrail beat Will Scovil to make it 1-1.
With just 3:46 left in regulation, Notre Dame's Tyler Henchcliffe shoved home a rebound off a hard shot from Mark Russo to give the Lancers a 2-1 lead but just 29 seconds later, the Tomahawks tied matters at 2-2 as MacLean's shot from the right circle was deflected through Scovil's pads by Adam Yeager, setting up overtime.
And the controversy that followed.
"Both teams battled all game long and I thought we were going to a third overtime," Glastonbury coach Ken Barse said. "Then it got crazy. I heard the whistle blow, the ref made the right call but when he signaled a goal, that's where the confusion started. The ref made a mistake, he shouldn't have signaled for the goal. That's the only unfortunate thing about this game.
"This was a great game, two powerhouse teams going at it. I feel for the ND kids. It's unfortunate that it had to end that way for them."
Division I quarterfinal at Bennett Rink, West Haven
ND-FAIRFIELD 1 0 1 0 0 --2
GLASTONBURY 0 1 1 0 1--3
Records: ND-Fairfield 12-10; Glastonbury 17-4-1. Goals: NDF--Jonny Suporn, Tyler Henchcliffe; G--Zachary McGrail, Adam Yeager, Tyler MacLean; Assists: NDF--Mark Russo, Landon Gabriele; G--Tyler MacLean 2, Nathan Amaral; Goalies: NDF--Will Scovil (47 saves); G--Kyle Thibodeaux (48); Shots: NDF--50; G--50.