Gophers coach Lucia calls for replay following player suspension
MINNEAPOLIS – Don Lucia didn’t rant or get upset when he saw defenseman Ben Marshall being ejected from last Saturday’s game against Minnesota-Duluth. The Minnesota Gophers men’s hockey coach stood stoic with a stern look on his face after Marshall was escorted off the ice after a mid-ice collision with Bulldogs forward Austin Farley.
Lucia’s time to take issue with the call came Wednesday.
Marshall was given a game misconduct, his third of the season, Saturday after referees ruled contact to Farley’s head on the play. Due to NCAA rules, Marshall, who has three goals and 12 points, will have to sit out Friday’s home game against Michigan State because he has three game misconducts this season. Only Lucia doesn’t believe Marshall made contact with the head and believes a video replay could have kept his defenseman in the game and available for Friday.
"Yes, I would very much be favor of (video replay of) any major penalty," Lucia said Wednesday. "You don’t want to go to video for a trip or anything like that, but any penalty where a player is potentially going to get a major or thrown out of a game. You want to get it right. We don’t play enough games that, not only is our team penalized, but more importantly, the player’s penalized for something that you look at the video replay and it didn’t happen."
Marshall hit Farley near the Minnesota blue line during the second period after Farley tried to take a lead pass from his own zone. The play happened quickly and Farley fell to the ice and grabbed his head. Referees called a penalty on Marshall and put him in the penalty box, before ruling Marshall made contact to the head and gave him a game misconduct.
Lucia, perhaps understanding how difficult it is to make the call in full speed, didn’t complain about the call. But after seeing the replay noted how Marshall went shoulder to shoulder with Farley.
"Nobody wants headshots, nobody wants the checking from behind," Lucia said. "At the same time, hockey is such a game of, in one second, it happens so fast that it’s hard for a referee. You can just be turning your head where you don’t have a great view of it based on your position on the ice. Now if you just looked at that thing live, you would have thought that was contact to the head. That’s not what it was. I don’t blame the referees in any way. That’s a hard call to make without the use of instant replay. That’s why to me football has the precedent of doing it right."
Lucia would favor the type of system used in college football now. Hits to the head draw a 15-yard penalty and an ejection, but video replay can be used to diagnose the play and the ejection can be nullified if replay shows there was no contact to the head.
Lucia, who also wasn’t sure how the rule of three game misconducts equaling a one-game suspension came into existence, would support a similar rule in college hockey like college football where a replay can at least negate the game misconduct.
"Last thing you want to do is penalize a player for something he didn’t do," Lucia said. "Even the first game misconduct, I’m not sure that was warranted either, in that exhibition game. But that’s the rule today. We’ll live with the rule. Ben understands it. I know he was frustrated and disappointed, but that’s something we hopefully can get changed."
Lucia also insinuated Farley might have dived to draw a stricter penalty.
"The other thing is, the diving part of the game is something that we have to eliminate," Lucia said. "That’s on the players and it’s on the referees because you put the referees in a very difficult position where, the guy got hit and he sold it like it was contact to the head. And even watching the video you can see a little smile on his face when he’s going back to the bench. You hate to have the officials put in difficult spots like that."
Serratore, Brodzinski out: Lucia said forward Tom Serratore and defenseman Michael Brodzinski will be out for a short period.
Serratore, a senior who has two goals and four assists, was injured blocking a shot during his final shift in Saturday’s overtime and will be out "a few weeks," according to Lucia. Brodzinski, a freshman with five goals and five assists, didn’t play Saturday with an unannounced injury and Lucia said he would be out the next three weekends before Minnesota’s off weekend in February.
Lucia said the injuries won’t prevent either from playing later this season. Helping the depth was the return of senior defenseman Jake Parenteau, who has played only 14 games because of injury.
"The good thing with Jake is he’ll be a lot better this weekend than he was on Saturday," Lucia said. "You could see he was a little rusty in the game not having played for six weeks, first game back and just confidence coming back for him and other guys are going to have to step up now."
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