March 8, 2014
TORONTO– The officiating crew had a bigger impact than any player Friday night, according to an exasperated Steve Spott.
The Marlies fell to the Lake Erie Monsters 3-2 in a fight-filled contest that featured a combined 10 fighting majors, 12 misconducts and 200 minutes in penalties.
“When you look at the game in general here tonight, the problem we got is the referees are truly the story,” Spott told LeafsTV post game. “The American Hockey League sends in a three-man staff, especially when the referee may not be at a competent level to do a game by himself…that’s the result.”
The game had its first fight off the opening face-off when Frazer McLaren dropped the gloves with Daniel Maggio and just over three minutes later David Broll squared off with Guillaume Desbiens.
Things stayed scrappy and at the 12:01 mark of the second period tempers flared and another fight broke out, this time between Kevin Marshall and Mitchell Heard.
According to Spott at this point the linesmen interrupted the fight by wrapping up only Marshall, which led to Heard being able to get an extra four punches in on the Marlies defenceman.
“Kevin Marshall has a broken nose now because of the incompetence of a linesman,” said Spott.
Greg McKegg and David van der Gulik were given fighting majors and game misconducts on the same stoppage of play. Spott, however, was never told why McKegg was tossed, a question he had because McKegg was not given an official ruling on the scoresheet.
“We never got (an explanation), said Spott.
Tyler Biggs fought Duncan Siemens in the third period and Brad Ross, Marshall, Broll and Spott picked up 10-minute misconducts out of emotion.
“I think it could have been kept under control a little better by the officials,” said Monsters head coach Dean Chynoweth.
Despite all the frustration for Spott, he sees a silver lining in all of it as AHL vice president of hockey operations, Mike Murray, was in attendance.
“It was one of those nights the officials need to turn the page and move on. The good news is Mike Murray was in the building tonight from the AHL office. Hopefully he saw it. At the end of the day it was disappointing because there was no standard.
“I’m sure he’ll speak to Nic Leduc (referee) and his crew to see what their explanation was.”
Friday’s game was a one referee with two linesmen setting, which is still used in the AHL along with a percentage of games that use two referees.
Spott would rather see the league use two referees every game.
“It’s night and day, it’s a completely different game not even close, it’s a different standard,” Spott said when comparing three-man to four-man officiating systems. “It’s not the officials fault but it’s definitely a different hockey game where things are missed and maybe some things are called that shouldn’t be.”
The Marlies will host the Monsters in a rematch on Saturday.
“I hope there is a four-man staff,” said Spott.