Chris Connolly: ‘Officials made some pretty game-changing decisions’

By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff

Following an empty-net goal with 4.6 seconds remaining in No. 2 Boston University’s 3-1 loss to No. 20 University of Maine, BU coach Jack Parker poured a tangent of frustration into a referee’s ear. His screaming fit earned him an ejection, and according to senior captain Chris Connolly, the ejection was price worth paying considering the way the officials called the game.

The Terriers seemed frustrated by multiple calls (and non-calls) throughout both Friday and Saturday’s game. On Friday, Parker wanted a five-minute major called on a hit that left freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera writhing on the ice. Privitera will miss the next four weeks of play with a broken wrist as the result of the hit. Parker was also upset later in Friday’s game by a hooking call against Wade Megan where Megan never seemed to hook the opposing player. After that game, Parker refused to fully comment on the officiating, simply saying, “the only thing that counts is what the referee thinks.”

Saturday’s game featured a different officiating corps, but it drew the same frustration from the Terriers.

At 9:41 in the second period on Saturday, sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan was whistled off on a hooking call. The play happened quickly. Noonan was able to push a player off a puck in a situation where there can be a tendency for a penalty to occur, but in that specific situation, Noonan seemed to simply lift the opponent’s stick rather than blatantly hook him.

Noonan was on the receiving end of another controversial call late in the game. BU had five seconds remaining on a power play and 1:55 left in the game when Maine goaltender Dan Sullivan held on to a shot. Noonan was standing at the side of the net and was cross-checked after the whistle by Ryan Hegarty. Noonan fell to the ice and was whistled off for embellishment while Hegarty received a cross-checking penalty. Maine was clinging to a 2-1 lead at the time. Another power play for BU in that situation could have been a difference-maker.

Sophomore defenseman Adam Clendening received the final penalty of the game, a slashing call on his attempt to stop Maine’s empty-net goal. By that point in the game, Parker had enough. He screamed into the official’s ear and was promptly ejected and served with a bench minor and a game misconduct.

Parker did not address the officiating following Saturday’s game, but senior captain Chris Connolly did. Connolly, a player who has never publicly criticized refereeing, candidly spoke at length about the officiating, starting with an unprompted statement about the calls in the game after a question about Sullivan’s rebound control. The following is a transcript of Connolly’s comments.

On his general thoughts on the officiating:
I will say, I thought the officials made some pretty game-changing decisions. Normally, you wouldn’t blame the officiating for the outcome. You don’t like to make excuses but I think there were some glaring mistakes there. But other than that, it’s a testament to their team and their goalie. [Maine] played well and they found a way to win.

On how players keep their cool when they feel slighted by the officials:
That late in the game, when a call could really be to your advantage in a one-goal game, it’s hard not to get upset. It’s hard to keep your head and not be frustrated. I was standing right by it. I have a hard time believing Noonan dove with his back facing the play and the whistle and the play being dead and not expecting to be hit from behind. I’ve had that happen to me numerous times and it’s pretty hard to stand up straight when you’re getting hit in the back like that and you don’t expect it to come. The ref said he flopped and called an embellishment penalty and coincidental. That’s what he saw. Being a player and being in that situation, I completely disagree, but you can’t change it. That’s just how the game works sometimes.

On Parker getting thrown out of the game:
It’s the end of the game. Being the captain, I have a hard time disagreeing with Coach in that situation. I had a few words I wanted to say that I reserved. I was feeling the same emotions that he was feeling. To see that happen, it was the end of the game. It didn’t necessarily have any deciding factor on the game. He was just sticking up for the team and like I said I thought there were some glaring mistakes that they made. I support what Coach was trying to tell them.

On whether Parker’s actions helped validate his own feelings:
It’s nice. It’s different when it’s happening in the middle of the game and things can kind of get out of hand, but when you feel like you deserved a few calls here or there and they don’t get called your way, it could mean the difference between tying up the game or even getting a couple and pulling out a win. It’s a tough pill to swallow. The team was behind him on it and you never want to see a coach get kicked out or anything, but like I said, everyone was frustrated with what was going on out there.

10 thoughts on “Chris Connolly: ‘Officials made some pretty game-changing decisions’”

  1. Wow, even the players are whining about the refs now. If Connolly weren’t so worthless, people might take him seriously.

  2. Hated seeing Parker embarass the school and team again while making it all about him as he got booted from the game. The players gave it their all yet it’s Parker’s antics that get all the attention.

  3. The captain is whining about referees? That shows poor leadership skills and gives the team an excuse to justify every loss.

  4. The person who wrote in the previous post that “even the players are whining about the refs” either didn’t see the game or is ignorant of the rules. I hate to cite bad refereeing as a cause for a loss, but this weekend the referees performed abysmally. The hooking call against Megan on Friday night that led to the game-winning goal was no hooking (he lifted the player’s stick), and the embellishment call against Noonan (among other calls) was absurd. Getting a hard cross check in the back generally causes a player to fall down. I think one of the refs on Saturday night, Bunyon, grew a rather promient set of rabbit ears. The crowd was on him and I believe he took it out on the Terriers. I certainly hope the league reviews his performance. Neither he nor the other refs distinguished themselves this weekend.

    • So maybe there were some bad calls. But they went both ways. I saw a couple of questionable calls against Maine too (don’t remember who the penalty was called on, but the Maine player was called for slashing for barely tapping the BU player in the shin with his stick). The embellishing call, however, was correct. Even if he wasn’t trying to embellish and really lost his balance, it LOOKED like he was taking a dive, and that’s the only thing the refs can base their calls on.

  5. Anonymous- Clearly a Maine fan with your arrogant and thoughtless comments. Be happy Maine finally started winning games even if it was only because they had four extra players on the ice in striped jerseys. Connolly is a stand up guy and captain and anyone with eyes that night could see the ridiculousness on the referees’ behalves. When it comes down to it, Maine is a good team but that does not change the fact that the refs took BU’s game away from them Saturday night.

  6. Alright, the refs didn’t lose it for BU or “take the game away from them” on Saturday. BU had PLENTY of opportunities to get it done, but they didn’t. They got the puck past Sullivan once, and only once. That is why they lost. Its not the refs’ fault that BU couldn’t muster enough offense throughout the ENTIRE GAME to beat Maine. I suppose its just easier to scapegoat the poor refs, though. So do what you want. But that doesn’t change the score.

  7. I’m going to chime in here and note that the embellishment call on Noonan was SO obvious that I even was wondering why they called the crosscheck on the Maine player. On replay, the guys on tv echoed those comments and thought the embellishment by Noonan was an easier call than the crosscheck, which was a very light crosscheck at best. You folks watch these games through scarlet colored glasses and generally don’t know anything about the game. I’m not surprised even the players are whining, they are used to getting all the calls. To the commenter that asks for a review of the officials, that will NEVER happen not does this performance warrant it. What an absurd idea. I will tell you what may get reviewed by the league, Jack Parker’s behavior. Get a clue!

  8. Regardless of what people want to say about the refs, you can’t use the argument that we “are used to getting all the calls”. We’re the most penalized team in the nation. And I’m pretty sure we don’t whine about it on a daily basis. We took the punches, learned how to work a pretty stellar PK and took our opportunities for SHG. This is the first time I’ve heard the players publicly complain about the calls all season.

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