Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Or, in Buzzing the Net speech, a Mike Vellucci special.

This is one of those many moments that you just have to hope pop up on YouTube at some point. In Sunday's clash between the Calgary Hitmen and the Kootenay Ice, some ticky-tack calls led to a 2-0 deficit early in the third period at home. The Hitmen were flagged for two instigator penalties and a bevy of non-calls led to Calgary coach Mike Williamson losing his cool at the start of the third period.

Hopefully his tirade didn't make him thirsty, because he was tossed for throwing two water bottles from the Hitmen bench in the direction of the officials (the game was being worked by Steve Papp and Colin Watt) during the run of the game. He was called for a bench minor and was (duh) ejected.

It's not uncommon for the pot to boil over during games featuring two good divisional opponents, but what made this game a rarity was the absurd number of penalties assessed towards the end of the second period. Calgary's Ron Trzonkowski and Danny Gayle were each flagged for instigating fights, while six 10-minute misconducts were also assessed, leading to a cramped penalty boxes on both sides. By the time the dust settled, there were five guys in each penalty box (Calgary at one point got six in the box).

All in all, there were 138 penalty minutes assessed in the contest, with 93 of them being given to Calgary. Trevor Cheek got 27 while Trzonkowski and Gayle each earned 17.

Still, details are fuzzy on exactly what led to Williamson to lose his cool. His team's effort certainly was involved, but anytime objects come flying off the bench in the direction of the officials, something's probably up. Explains Lisa McRitchie: "It was just after a mid ice hit, but I didn't catch who as involved. It all happened so fast and the replay happened long after."

From her game recap at Oil Patch at Kukla's Korner (she also has a few more great pictures of the event as well):

Early in the third period in a fit of extreme frustration Williamson lost his cool and tossed not one, but two water bottles onto the ice and at the ref. No one quite knew what was happening. The first water bottle came onto the ice during play and could have been kicked onto the ice during a sloppy line change, but it had real momentum and slid clear across the width of the ice. When the second water bottle went flying, it was clear what was happening.

Williamson actually did address the media after the game. This all comes from Aaron Vickers of Future Considerations via the Calgary Hitmen post-game show on the Fan 960 in Calgary:

Was it an accumulation of the calls, non-calls or...

It was frustration of a lot of things. I don't think our hockey team is playing the way it needs to right now, the way it's capable of. I think everything stemmed from that, and certainly obviously I wasn't very excited about the officiating tonight.

What was the one thing that sort of put you over the edge?

Like I said, it was a combination. First and foremost, our team needs to start playing like it's capable of, and maybe things don't get magnified quite as much. We did a lot of uncharacteristic things today and now for a few games here and we gotta get back to not only competing at a higher level but just playing more as a group and a team .

Not to use officiating as an excuse, but do you feel it was a little one-sided?

We have to play better, bottom line.

So obviously, Williamson was not impressed at the officiating, but at the same time, he's taken it upon himself and his team. The Hitmen ended up getting beat 4-0 thanks to an empty net goal and a shutout bid by Nathan Lieuwen who made 26 saves in the effort. The Hitmen have now dropped five of their last six, and now head on a crucial road trip in British Columbia against Victoria, Kelowna and Kamloops, where they'll try to stop the bleeding and, now 6th in the WHL's Eastern Conference, will try to claw their way back up into a home ice spot for the playoffs.

Cam Charron is a hockey blogger at large who covers the WHL for Buzzing The Net. Follow him on Twitter @camcharron.

(top image courtesy of Lisa McRitchie)

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