At the very end of the second period in Kalamazoo on Saturday night, Komets goaltender Ben Meisner was playing a puck behind his net when he was cross checked by Wings forward Chris Lawrence. Meisner, making his second start as a Komet and leading 1-0 at the time, sprawled to the ice and didn't move for several minutes before leaving the game.
Referee Don Jablonski was in position and raised his arm for a penalty. Thinking he was calling the cross checking foul, the Komets backed off, but Jablonski was calling Meisner for a delay of game penalty for playing the puck outside the trapazoid behind the goal.
The Komets did not retaliate in either Saturday or Sunday's games against Lawrence, though they did ask ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst for a review. Ernst fined Lawrence and unannounced amount but did not issue a suspension.
Fort Wayne defenseman Jordon Southhorn talked about the team's response after Sunday's game.
What's your philosophy on a situation like what happened Saturday night and retaliation?
I think it goes back to when (Audrey) Makarov kind of got taken out. As a team, we stand up for our players and our goaltenders. It doesn't go unnoticed, and on the ice we let them know. That's what hockey is. It's a battle out there, especially when you are playing a team four times in five games. We're letting them know and they are letting us know too. You can't expect line brawls to happen every game, or for us to go jump somebody. It's taken care of on the ice, and the refs are doing a good job of keeping it under control. Everyone on the ice knows that consequences have to be paid, and we are standing up for our guys.
How are consequences being paid?
We're playing rough in front of the net, we're giving them hacks, they are giving us hacks, we're verbal with them and they are verbal with us. They know when they come to the net they are going to take a hack, and we know we're going to take a hack, and like I said, the refs are doing a good job of keeping it under control and letting us play. It's tough playing the same team over and over again, rivalries build up and tensions build up and that's what happens. We play them one more time on Wednesday in their barn, and I expect another tough game. No one is off the hook just because we won tonight. Wednesday night is a big game for both clubs. We're neck and neck, and I expect the same intensity.
How about the old[-school fans who want to see a fight with that guy?
I appreciate our fanbase, they are the best fans in the league, but it's not 1970 any more. If two guys start a fight, one guy is kicked out and suspended, and we need all the bodies we can have. With (Jace) Coyler getting called up and Makarov and (Kaleigh) Schrocky out, we can't be risking suspensions and injuries and stuff like that. We're talking about it in the room, and we're going to stand up for our guys. The crosschecks and hacks in front of the net takes it toll and wears guys down. They know. Wednesday is the last time we play them for a little bit. We're sore and they are sore over there. It's almost like a playoff series in the middle of the season.
So it's not so much going after that one guy, it's going after everybody?
Yeah, their guy who did that knows. We're working on him every game, and then their guys stick up for him and it kind becomes a team on team thing. Everyone who wants a brawl, you can't expect that and it's not the game any more. Every hockey fan knows that. As much as it's interesting, and as much as we won't back down from that, we're here to play hockey. We want the two points, we don't want the 200 penalty minutes a game.