Fri Mar 30 09:15am EDT
Thursday's Game 4 of the Plymouth Whalers-Guelph Storm game opened as a pretty good exhibition of playoff hockey, but by the end it was marked and marred by anger over penalty calls and complaints about diving and/or embellishment.
The underdog Storm, who lost 5-2 top drop into a 2-2 tie in the series with the more veteran Whalers, were upset over a video review that went against them when it's doubtful the overhead camera could have confirmed whether the entire puck crossed the line and an apparent missed call on Plymouth moments before the Whalers' clinching goal. (Storm forward Tanner Richard, who'd also scored the non-goal, so to speak, got a misconduct for abuse of officials after that Whalers goal.) Of course, since the Ontario Hockey League frowns on publicly airing out officials — just ask Kitchener's Steve Spott, among others — Guelph coach Scott Walker had to step lightly. So the former NHLer had to get metaphorical.
From Tony Saxon:
Well aware of how quickly the OHL brass hands down fines for criticism of refereeing, which was at best suspect on Thursday, Walker directed most of his frustration at the Whalers.
"I don't care about the refereeing or the Plymouth Whalers, I care about us. But I won't coach a bunch of soccer players like they have over there. They'll never play for my team," he continued.
Walker felt the Whalers were diving to draw penalties.
"Penalty after penalty. You don't have to lie on the ice like that. That's embarrassing." (Guelph Mercury)
No doubt soccer fans, especially if they're sufficiently lubricated (ahem), would acknowledge that's pretty much spot-on. Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci casually pointed out the Storm were probably just as guilty.
"He (Walker) could have watched all the dives McNaughton had in the game," Vellucci said of Storm winger Cody McNaughton.
Vellucci said there were "dives all over the place" by both teams and that perhaps it's something the league needs to be aware of.
The ending was marred by a brouhaha that was touched off by a check-from-behind by the Whalers' Jamie Devane, who got a major penalty and game misconduct. Suffice to say, the post-game verbal volleys have added spice to the series heading into Saturday's fifth game in Plymouth.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.