Albany and Bridgeport combined for over 200 penalty minutes in the Devils 3-0 win.
The Albany Devils and Bridgeport Sound Tigers combined for over 200 penalty minutes on Saturday at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York.
Albany head coach Rick Kowalsky and Bridgeport assistant Eric Boguniecki were both ejected after going after one another between the benches with 43.4 seconds remaining in the second period.
“We had a good first, we get a lead and they start taking liberties,” Kowalsky said postgame. “It certainly livened up just a regular game to finish off the season, but I give the guys credit for sticking up for each other and playing hard.”
A total of five players were also ejected. You can see the full list of infractions here.
“It was another situation where seven (Paker Wotherspoon) comes across late on (Nick) Lappin, it was a knee – sticks his knee out and then (the ref) doesn’t do anything about it,” Kowalsky said of what set him off. “I looked down and both their coaches were yapping. I’d had enough of it.
“It’s frustrating because you’re worried about your players getting hurt. We had total control of the game and if the officials don’t take care of it, you sometimes have to take care of it on your own. I just got fired up and they were… they set the fuse and that was the end of it.”
Things got heated in the final minute of the second period after an offside call stopped play.
Referee Ryan Murphy elected to send both teams off the ice and add the final 43.4 seconds on to the start of the third period.
But before the buzzer sounded on the second period, another melee broke out.
The second set of altercations began after Albany’s Blake Pietila was shoved into Bridgeport goaltender Stephon Williams by defenseman Scott Mayfield.
“I’ve got to look at it again, he was on a breakaway, he shot the puck, he looked like he got clipped,” said Kowalsky. “I was up top, it looked like Pietila shot the puck and then got pushed into him, got a pretty good shot to him. I think that was premeditated, I think with the people on the ice, they were looking for something.”
Pietila, Paul Thompson and Dan Kelly of the Devils all received game misconducts for their participation in the altercations in the final minute of the second period while Sound Tigers’ Ross Johnston and Wotherspoon were also ejected.
Scott Wedgewood made 23 saves for his 12th shutout of the season in the 3-0 win.
New Jersey Devils first-rounder Pavel Zacha, playing in his third career AHL game, picked up two assists in the win.
Saturday was Albany’s final regular season game of the season while Bridgeport concludes its season on Sunday. It is possible for both teams to meet in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
With the playoffs on the horizon, Kowalsky is hoping no suspensions come out of Saturday’s game.
“I don’t think anyone should be suspended out of this, and if there is, we’ll certainly have to look at it,” he said.