College hockey's focus lands on hits to the head

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 31, 2014 - 2:30 PM

Safety is a key concern in college hockey, where some are insisting that in-game review of major penalties is the correct next step.

Nobody saw it coming but Ben Marshall. The Gophers defenseman glided across his blue line and slammed into Minnesota Duluth’s Austin Farley.

The hit sent Farley airborne before he slumped to the ice. Marshall retreated to the penalty box assuming a minor penalty would be called for a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.

Instead, Marshall received a major penalty — contact to the head, a game misconduct — and he was disqualified.

It was the latest example of a crackdown on certain hits, especially hits to the head.

“Safety violations have been and will continue to be a point of emphasis,” said Steve Piotrowski, supervisor of Big Ten officials. “Head contact is becoming a focal point not just in college hockey but all levels. … NCAA hockey and pro hockey are not trying to take contact out of the game, but violent hits have to be brought to the surface. It’s not about destroying someone with every hit.”

Some believe college hockey could do even more to minimize potential major penalty hits by allowing instant TV reviews, something the NHL already has in place. The Big Ten has the technology with its command center in Chicago.

The emphasis on calling hits to the head, and the push for an instant review system, is a big part of college hockey’s ongoing evolution.

Farley and Marshall get the point. Farley missed practice on Monday and will be a game-time decision for UMD on Friday at Western Michigan. Marshall was suspended one game for violating an NCAA rule that punishes players who collect three misconduct penalties in the same season.

Emphasis on safety

After officials made their call of a game misconduct, Marshall argued that there was nothing vicious about his hit. At midice, Gophers co-captain Nate Condon listened as the officials explained their decision. Taking into account the emphasis on safety, Condon said, their explanation made sense.

“That’s been the change the last couple years, they’ve been a little more strict, especially with head contact,” Condon said. “They thought [Marshall] got up high. Whatever the case was with the hit, any time you get up there, it’s going to be an automatic call with the ref.”

The same can be said about hits from behind.

Injuries have made players very aware of the danger surrounding hits near the boards. Marshall was also called for boarding on Saturday night, but slowed down and wrapped up his opponent before making contact.

Earlier this month, the Big Ten suspended Penn State’s Mark Yanis one game for hitting a player from behind. Piotrowski and his staff reviewed video of the hit after the game and determined supplemental discipline was necessary.

Like Yanis’ hit, Marshall’s was also reviewed. Piotrowski wouldn’t comment whether he agreed the hit justified a major penalty or not, but said an official’s goal is always getting the call right.

“Some do warrant penalties and some don’t. It’s kind of a gray area. I think we all know what we don’t want to see in the game, but I don’t think you can penalize everyone for big hits,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said.

“That one on Marshall, I think that was a penalty. What’s hard is everyone can go back and look at replays, but in the game you see what you see, and referees see what they see. Was it a good hit? Probably. The puck wasn’t anywhere near, though, that was my issue.”

Instant replays coming?

  • related content

  • Chart: NCAA hockey rule on hits to head

    Friday January 31, 2014

    Points of emphasisThe NCAA ice hockey rules committee used the current rules cycle “Points of Emphasis” section to focus on...

  • Series preview: Michigan State at Gophers hockey

    Thursday January 30, 2014

    series previewMichigan State atNo. 1 Gophers8:04 p.m. on Friday and 7:10 p.m. on Saturday at Mariucci ArenaTV/radio/live stream: BTN on...

  • Gophers defenseman Ben Marshall received a major penalty and a game misconduct for a hit to the head Saturday on UMD’s Austin Farley, on the ice behind him.

  • gophers hockey 8 tonight and 7:10 p.m. Saturday vs. Michigan State • Mariucci Arena

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston 0 Bottom 5th Inning
Pittsburgh 2
Toronto 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Baltimore 4
Washington 0 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 0
Miami 1 Bottom 5th Inning
NY Mets 4
NY Yankees 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
Cincinnati 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Chicago WSox 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 0
Cleveland 1 Top 2nd Inning
Houston 1
Detroit 0 Top 3rd Inning
Minnesota 0
Milwaukee 0 Top 2nd Inning
St. Louis 2
Los Angeles 0 Top 1st Inning
Colorado 0
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close