Penalties pile up as Thunder fall

Published 9:20 am Monday, December 15, 2008

There were some high theatrics that took place Saturday night at the City Arena when the Albert Lea Thunder faced North Iowa.

The Outlaws (15-10-2) came away with a 9-3 victory over the Thunder (2-22-3), but Albert Lea forward Danny Wood said the score was indicative of how the game was officiated.

“The score reflected how the refs called it,” Wood said. “It would be one thing if we were playing dirty hockey, but we weren’t.”

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Albert Lea accumulated 64 penalties minutes compared to 19 for the Outlaws in a game that Thunder head coach Brad Zangs said was one of the poorest officiated games he’s ever seen.

“I feel sorry for the fans in Albert Lea,” Zangs said. “It wasn’t the way we played. Look at how the game was reffed, it was one-sided.”

Zangs was ejected from the game along with three Thunder players. Zangs, Niko Kapetanovic and Jake Armijo were all ejected in the second period for voicing their displeasure with the officiating.

North Iowa had 11 power plays in the game while Albert Lea had four. The Outlaws had a handful of 5-on-3 power plays including one for a full two minutes, Kapetanovic said.

Kapetanovic, an assistant captain, received a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second period after he asked the referee about a tripping call on Mark Ellis. Kapetanovic said he asked how the referee could call a tripping penalty when it appeared Ellis and a North Iowa player got tangled up and there was no intentional tripping by Ellis.

Even the normally reserved defenseman Derek Docken received a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he said, “make a call” to the referee, Kapetanovic said.

Armijo was given the gate in the second period while he was in the penalty box. Armijo said he sarcastically commented, “good call” and banged his stick on the glass after he thought the referee missed a penalty.

Zangs received a bench minor and then was ejected after telling the referee “to call it both ways,” he said. Zangs’ initial complaint came when Wood was taken down behind the North Iowa goal and there was no call made. Nikita Feoktistov was whistled for interference on a similar play and Zangs was ejected without the referee skating to the bench to tell him, Zangs said.

“I have no clue why I got kicked out,” Zangs said. “That’s a brutal call. Even (Jeff) Crouse (North Iowa’s head coach) said he couldn’t believe I got kicked out.”

Zangs said he plans to file a complaint with the league’s officiating office after a review of the game tape.

Justin Blum was also ejected from the game in the third period after a fight.

The game was competitive in the early stages though.

North Iowa jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period after Brandon Brodhag scored at 1 minute, 56 seconds and Matt Leer added a goal at 2:55.

Albert Lea rallied to tie the game at 2-2 after Kapetanovic scored from the slot at 14:46 and Dusan Kobela unleashed a slapshot that found the net at 17:39.

The Outlaws regained the lead at 1:32 in the second period when Alex Carlson scored. Carlson had a big night for North Iowa as he tallied five points in the win.

The Outlaws generated 54 shots in the game and Thunder goalie Tom Lescovich faced all 54, making 45 saves.

Mitch Torrel made the game 4-3 in the second before all the dramatics took place.

North Iowa tallied 45 shots in the final two periods and seven goals. The Outlaws scored one 5-on-3 goal and one 4-on-3 goal.

The Thunder won’t have much time to dwell on the game as the team has a short week of practice. Albert Lea travels to Alexandria Thursday for a game before returning home for a home and home series with North Iowa.

“We’re going to put this game behind us,” Kapetanovic said. “I’m probably not going to think about it for the rest of my life.”

North Iowa 9, Albert Lea 3

1st 2nd 3rd

North Iowa 2 3 4 — 9

Albert Lea 2 1 0 — 3


1st period: North Iowa — Brandon Brodhag (Alex Carlson, Travis Peckskamp) 1:56

North Iowa — Matt Leer (John O’Neil, Jon Crouse) 2:55

Albert Lea — Niko Kapetanovic (B.J. McClellan, Jake Armijo) 14:46

Albert Lea — Dusan Kobela (Nikita Feoktistov, Danny Wood) 17:39

2nd period: North Iowa — Alex Carlson (Alex Charette, Brandon Brodhag) 1:32

Albert Lea — Mitch Torrel (Danny Wood, Nikita Feoktistov) 3:10

North Iowa — Alex Charette (power play) (Travis Peckskamp, Alex Carlson) 10:55

North Iowa — Alex Carlson (power play) (Kurt Weston, Travis Peckskamp) 11:46

3rd period: North Iowa — Joe Harcharik (Jack Paul) 4:30

North Iowa — Travis Baker (unassisted) 6:19

North Iowa — Anthony Raiola (power play) (Matt Leer) 11:10

North Iowa — Joe Harren (Bryce Wilcox, Alex Carlson) 16:28

SHOTS ON GOAL: 1st 2nd 3rd

North Iowa 9 19 26 54

Albert Lea 10 13 6 29

POWER PLAY CONVERSION: North Iowa 3-for-11, Albert Lea 0-for-4