The NCHC playoff game between the University of Denver and University of Minnesota Duluth was an amazing game. However it was almost ruined by the referees. I would guess UMD fans would say it was.
The game started fast, but UMD was really dominating the game. Only a great steal and goal by Ty Loney got DU equal with UMD after the first period. UMD took the lead and then went on a 5 minute power play thanks to a major penalty on Didier. It was a good call and I am surprised he didn't get a game misconduct.
During this power play, the call that I think everyone disagrees with occurs. DU gets a short-handed goal but after a lengthy review, I would say more than 5 minutes, the referees wave off the goal.
Everyone thought it was because the net came off before the puck crossed the net. But in reality it was because the referee said the DU's Heinen interferred with the goalie. See for yourself.
I just don't see the interference. Heinen is the one carrying the puck and shoots. It is saved. As he goes by the goalie, the goalie appears to cause the contact or is at least going down before there is contact. Also, Heinen is not in the crease.
It should be known the referee ruled a goal, so to reverse the goal you need definitive evidence. There is just not the evidence here to reverse it. Especially if it takes 5 minutes to review it.
But after DU killed off the 5 minute major, they seemed to take control of the game. Tying the game up quickly after the 3rd period started. UMD took the lead again on a great shot from a tight angle. Jalliet looked to have it covered, but somehow it found the back of the net over his shoulder.
DU added a PP goal. Kaskiuso for UMD couldn't handle the shot and DU pounced, putting the backhander into the net.
Then some controversy for UMD. DU scored what would become the game winner, but it appears Loney could have hit it with a high stick. Watching it in real time, it appeared to be a goal. Looking at replays, it is tough to tell but looked like the goal should count.
In the end, DU takes a 1-0 lead in the best of three series with game 2 coming on Saturday night. Both of these teams are really good and will go far in the NCAA tournament. The question remains who will go to Minneapolis next week.
Let's hope the officials don't have a say in who wins. The NCHC is a great league, the level of officiating should be at the same level. I am not sure it was at the highest level it could be tonight.