A hand pass is forbidden in the offensive zone, unless the officials miss it and aided with scoring the game's only goal in overtime. Got it.
Video review has improved every sport and there is still a desire to keep some human element in officiating. Yet it always seems illogical when certain plays cannot be reviewed. Tuesday, it resulted in the small-market Swift Current Broncos taking a crushing Game 4 loss to the Calgary Hitmen in what has been one of the most nip-tuck Western Hockey League playoff series. By all accounts, Calgary's Victor Rask scored the winning goal after a hand pass.
From Kristen Odland (@KristenOdlandCH):
Around 2,622 patrons filled the Swift Current Credit Union iPlex — but a large portion of that group were throwing open pop and Gatorade bottles on the ice after Victor Rask netted the lone goal of the game, 37 seconds in overtime.
The frustration, of course, came when Brooks Macek had appeared to glove down an errant puck which trickled down Broncos goalie Eetu Laurikainen’s back. It squirted out to Rask — who had been jamming away at the goalmouth scramble along with Elliott Peterson — and the slick Swede batted it in.
After referees deliberated — and counted the marker — Laurikainen nearly broke his stick, furiously smashing it on the ice by the Broncos bench.
Swift Current head coach Mark Lamb, meanwhile, seethed to the media afterwards.
“When you glove the puck, it’s a dead play,” he said. “They (passed) it to their guy, put it in the open net, and counted it as a goal. Simple as that. (The officials said) it’s not a reviewable call.
“They totally missed the call. I don’t know how they did it, missed a gloved play in overtime. It could cost us the series. A pretty important call.” (Calgary Herald)
Calgary's Spencer Humphries acknowledged his team "got lucky there." It is possible the Broncos touched the puck in between it going from Macek's glove to Rask's stick. That might not not be the point. The point is there was no way to verify it.
From Broncos play-by-play broadcaster Shawn Mullin (@shawnmullin):
I had some question as to whether or not the puck hit Laurikainen’s stick before Rask’s, but it looked to me like that wasn’t the case… and either way you would think if the referees had noticed a gloved pass into the crease they’d have blown the play dead without obvious contact from a Bronco.
It sucks. It was a horrible time for a blown call and couldn’t be more costly to the Broncos. It doesn’t get much worse in terms of having a mistake by the officials impact the game. (Broncos Blog)
At least Laurikainen found some gallows humour in it.
It's ice hockey. Not basketball.. #alleyoop
— Eetu Laurikainen (@eetu41) March 27, 2013
The shame of it is this could prevent the series from being the six- or seven-gamer it seemed destined to become. Swift Current, propelled by the likes of Winnipeg Jets draft pick Adam Lowry and promising defenceman Dillon Heatherington, was going toe-to-toe with Calgary. The series had been an all-home team affair through the first three games. That pattern might have continued if the hand pass had been called. Now the question is whether the Broncos can win three in a row, including Game 5 on Friday.
Here's Lowry, from Steven Mah:
"It was disappointing. To play as well as we did all game and then to lose on that kind of goal it was definitely disappointing." (Southwest Booster)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.