AHL goaltenders drop the gloves in spirited but unexpected fight

Yahoo Sports Canada
Troy Grosenick of the Milwaukee Admirals (left) and Matt Tomkins of the Rockford IceHogs (right) decided to throw hands at centre ice on Saturday night. (Twitter/@goicehogs)
Troy Grosenick of the Milwaukee Admirals (left) and Matt Tomkins of the Rockford IceHogs (right) decided to throw hands at centre ice on Saturday night. (Twitter/@goicehogs)

There truly is nothing like two puck stoppers trying to punch each other’s faces in.

It’s a spectacle that doesn’t happen often and that’s what makes a goalie fight so special.

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Saturday night’s rumble between Matt Tomkins of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs and Troy Grosenick of the Milwaukee Admirals was unique, though. Unlike most netminder tilts, which are usually the result of another fight (or line brawl) occurring somewhere else on the ice, this one seemingly came out of nowhere.

With the Admirals up 6-2 midway through the third period and some extracurriculars among skaters occurring behind the Milwaukee net following a whistle, Grosenick and Tomkins trotted out to the middle of the rink and began going at it.

Considering the two had all of that equipment in the way, they did surprisingly well to get some decent shots in before tumbling to the ice.

Both received two minutes for leaving the crease, two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct because they removed their helmets prior to the bout, five minutes for the actual fight, and a ten-minute game misconduct. That’s a total of 19 penalty minutes each, according to the contest’s game report. In total, the game featured 64.

Rockford’s Chad Krys also received a two-minute minor for roughing during the same stoppage.

The fireworks ended the night for both Tomkins and Grosenick. Rockford’s Collin Delia and Milwaukee’s Connor Ingram came off the bench to play the final 11:24 of the game in net for their respective squads.

While this was the first fight in a professional hockey game for Grosenick, chucking knuckles isn’t anything new for Tomkins. According to hockeyfights.com, he dropped the gloves with another goalie in December 2017 while playing for the ECHL’s Indy Fuel.

Grosenick — a 30-year-old undrafted goaltender signed to a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators — has put together a solid season for the Admirals. He’s sitting near the top of the league in wins, goals against average, and save percentage. Tomkins, meanwhile, is a 25-year-old seventh-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in his first full season as Rockford’s backup.

Milwaukee went on to win the game 7-2 to improve their AHL-best record to 37-12-7 for 81 points.

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