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March 22, 2009 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Tale of Two Sides: Lowell's Goal Waved Off By Whistle, Review

by Scott McLaughlin/CHN Reporter

BOSTON — With 9:22 remaining in the second period of Saturday night’s Hockey East championship game, a nine-man scrum piled up in front of the Boston University net. While everyone was waiting to here a whistle, Mass.-Lowell’s Maury Edwards, Kory Falite, Barry Goers and Ben Holmstrom continued to jam in the crease, hoping to push the puck past freshman goalie Kieran Millan, as well as Nick Bonino, Brian Strait and Brandon Yip, all of whom were in the crease doing everything they could to keep the puck on the blue side of the goal line.

After what seemed like an eternity, the whistle blew and the red light came on. The River Hawks celebrated in joy, thinking they had just tied the game at one, and the Lowell band jumped into its rendition of Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2”. The Terriers immediately started signaling no goal. The question of which came first, the whistle or the lamp, would have to be settled by instant replay.

Upon further review, the officials ruled that it was no goal because play had been blown dead before the puck crossed the goal line.

River Hawk coach Blaise MacDonald said he didn’t agree with the call initially but thinks Hockey East has a good review system that he has faith in.

“I think we heard a whistle, but not in our opinion before the goal went in,” MacDonald said.

“I trust they’ve got all the technology and the right people in the right places and they made the right call. The replay I saw had no audio, so I couldn’t tell when the whistle actually blew.”

BU, on the other hand believed the play should’ve been dead long before UMass-Lowell even had the chance to jam at the puck so many times.

“I saw that the whistle should’ve been blown a half hour earlier,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “And when you see the replay, you should realize that the referee couldn’t see the puck and that he should’ve blown the whistle.”

“It bounced into the crease, jumbled around a few skates, and I ended up getting my glove on it,” Millan said. “And, I don’t know, the ref must not have seen it. He didn’t blow the whistle anytime soon. And then I kind of got pushed outside the net, and it was just chaos, and luckily it didn’t count.”

The game-changing play started with good puck movement on the power play for the River Hawks. Holmstrom took a pass at the left faceoff dot and found Falite for a one-timer at the top of the right circle. The shot bounced off Millan’s right shoulder and into the crease.

The tournament MVP then reached back and got his glove on top of the puck. Goers managed to knock the puck out from under Millan, but it bounced off Strait’s skate just inches from the goal line.

Edwards came in for the next whack at the puck, but Strait held his ground. Yip came flying in to take down Edwards before the sophomore could get another attempt. With Edwards and Yip both lying in the middle of the crease, Falite followed up his initial shot by poking the loose puck past Bonino, who had gone to his knees to try to take away the left side of the net, and into the back of the cage.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Yip said. “I knew there was a scrum and that the puck was loose, and I just kind of held one guy. I wanted to just take his stick away and not let him out of the net. But I had no idea where the puck was or what was going on.

“It was just like a free-for-all. Just take a guy, and hopefully Kieran stops the puck like he’s been doing for us.”

The controversial call is one that UMass-Lowell and its fans will think about for a long time, one that will leave them wondering how the game and season could have turned out differently had the tally counted.

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