Gophers, St. Cloud State hockey game ends in controversy

The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team secured a weekend split with St. Cloud State after a 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday that ended in controversy. ((University of Minnesota Track and Field))

The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team met at the weekend with rival St. Cloud State after a 4-3 victory at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Saturday night, but not without controversy.

About 20 seconds into overtime, Blake McLaughlin steals the puck from Nick Perbix on what looks like a pretty clear lockpick penalty. It happens right in front of a referee, but there is no whistle. McLaughlin even stops to watch the official, anticipating a penalty, before skating with the puck and finding Sammy Walker, who scores the game-winning goal.

The reactions from both broadcast teams are revealing, in that they each agree that McLaughlin should have been given a penalty. Wally Shaver got the call from the Gopher radio network, and Fox 9 athletic director Jim Rich, Mark Parrish and Pat Micheletti got the call from the St. Cloud state side.

Razor: “What don’t you call that ?! Sammy Walker’s scores! Oh, the officials just blew the game up.”

Jim Rich: “What don’t they call that ?! It’s one of the worst no-calls I’ve ever seen.”

Parrish: “We’re talking about the referees who don’t influence the game. It’s influencing a game! You gave them a golden opportunity! It’s so disappointing to me that this game ends like this. It’s just right. in front of him! I’m sorry, I know the sponsorship is not an easy job, they do a great job.

Micheletti: “This one will be talking about them for a while.”

It was bad enough that the NCHC released a statement about officials on Sunday night, saying McLaughlin should have been penalized.

An arena full of Huskies fans booed officials off the ice, tossed objects on the ice and created a chaotic environment after an exciting weekend streak between two top-five teams.

The Gophers have another rival in the State this weekend with a home streak against Minnesota State-Mankato.

Catherine J. Martinez