An ugly, game-ending brawl that marred No. 1-seeded Eden Prairie’s 1-0 victory over No. 4 seed Benilde-St. Margaret’s in a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal led to the disqualification of three top Eagles players from Wednesday’s section title game against No. 2 seed Minnetonka.
Two nights after a similar game-ending melee between Bloomington Jefferson and Holy Angels in a Class 2A, Section 2 quarterfinal resulted in no penalties, much less game disqualifications, Eden Prairie learned first-line wing Marc Sullivan, second-line wing Riley Argetsinger and top-four defenseman Louie Roehl all must sit out Wednesday’s game against the Skippers because of their roles in the brawl. A combined 18 penalties were assessed to eight players (four on each team).
Video from Andy Johnson, YouTube.
Unreal tilt BSM | EP bench clearing pic.twitter.com/e6BnmC7So1— Ross Ellingboe (@RossEllingboe) February 22, 2015
After the game, Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said: “This changes everything. We have to change our line combinations, we’ve got to shuffle our power play, we’ve got to shuffle our penalty kill.”
Game officials spent more than an hour conferring on what penalties to assign to which players.
Video captured by fans shows Argetsinger, who scored the game’s lone goal in the second period off a rebound of a Casey Mittelstadt shot, throwing punches with Benilde-St. Margaret’s Mark Kaske. Kaske and Sullivan, who plays on Eden Prairie’s top power-play unit, received 2-minute penalties for leaving the penalty box early, 5-minute majors for fighting and game disqualifications.
“A lot of emotion out there,” Argetsinger said just minutes after the game and before the disqualifications had been handed down.
“No one likes to see it end that way,” Benilde-St. Margaret's coach Ken Pauly said. “I think there’s a lot of respect between the two programs, but let’s face it, you get a lot of angst out there. They’re disappointed, it’s a high-energy thing, it’s a charged environment.”
Among the participants was Eden Prairie goalie Shaun Durocher, who received a major penalty but was not suspended.
“There was a lot of stuff going on in the corner that you couldn’t really see,” Durocher told a reporter after the game. “After I went in the corner, then it really got pretty vicious. I like to fight and stuff like that. I think it’s a big part of the game.”
Eden Prairie assistant Steve Olinger, who previously served as the head coach at Chaska and has been involved in high school hockey for almost 20 years, said neither he nor Smith, in his 22nd season, could remember a similar incident involving players fighting in the postseason and missing subsequent games.
“The good thing that comes out of this is that teams get the message that if something happens at the end of the game you risk not playing in the next playoff game,” Olinger said.
For a schedule of this week's section semifinals and final games, click here.
The state boys' hockey tournament begins March 4 at the Xcel Energy Center.