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.