The Dallas Stars won on a controversial overtime goal… and there wasn’t even a foot in the crease.
Tyler Seguin’s OT winner came on a play where Calgary goaltender David Rittich claimed goaltender interference.
Benn made contact with Rittich’s right skate, as well as the handle of his stick, as he passed through the crease in pursuit of the puck. Rittich was pulled out of position to his right and Benn was sent sprawling as he made a centering pass to Tyler Seguin in the slot. Rittich appeared to recover as he squared up to Seguin but was beaten high glove side.
“The goalie got square,” Seguin said, “so I didn’t think there was any goalie interference with that.”
Rittich disagreed, citing that he wasn’t able to fully recover on the play.
“He hit me so I was a little bit set, but not 100% ready for anything,” Rittich said. “Everyone saw it — I had a little bit of time, but not the full recovery of the shot. Maybe next time I will lay down for a half an hour.”
Likely adding to Rittich’s frustration was bad giveaway behind the net that led to the game-winner.
“He caused his own problems,” said TSN’s Craig Button. “Jamie Benn goes for the shortest route to the puck and that’s behind David Rittich. He has every right to get there. This is just a really good solid competitive play. I don’t know if you call it incidental contact or not. This is exactly the right call.”
Dallas head coach Jim Montgomery agreed.
“We didn’t have any concern, we thought the goalie had plenty of time to get set,” Montgomery said.
Referee Francis Charron made the initial goal call on the ice, and relayed the result after the review.
“After reviewing the play,” announced Charron, “the call on the ice is confirmed. No goaltender interference. We have a good goal.”
The NHL’s Situation Room automatically reviews all goals in the final minute of regulation and any time in overtime for offside or goaltender interference.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Referee, NHL Hockey Operations determined that the incidental contact between Benn and Rittich did not in itself impair the goaltender from playing his position. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a “GOOD GOAL” call on the ice is that the NHL Situation Room (which shall include a former referee in the Officiating Department in the decision-making process), after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Referee who made the original call, determines that the goal on the ice should have been allowed because either: (i) there was no actual contact of any kind initiated by the attacking Player with the goalkeeper; or (ii) the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper; or (iii) the attacking Player’s positioning within the crease did not impair the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal and, in fact, had no discernible impact on the play.”
Therefore the original call stands – good goal Dallas Stars.
Flames coach Bill Peters, who called the goal ‘controversial’, spoke carefully after the game, citing the uncertainty of the review process.
“Anytime you go to a review, it’s a little scary, right? You don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” Peters said. “It could have went either way, and you could have agreed with it either way, probably. There’s obvious contact, right? They said there was enough time between the contact and the ability to make the save and get reset on the shot. That’s one you can discuss all night.”
After the official word came down, Rittick smashed his stick, breaking it across the goalpost. He then threw the handle in the direction of the officials, shouting an obscenity in frustration. He skated towards the referees but was directed off the ice by linesman Brian Murphy.
No penalty was assessed to Rittich, though he could’ve been hit with a game misconduct, which may have also led to an automatic suspension.
40.1 Game Misconduct – Any player who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official, in any manner attempts to injure an official […] shall receive a game misconduct penalty. In addition, the following (40.2, 40.3, 40.4) disciplinary penalties shall apply.
40.4 Automatic Suspension – Category III – Any player who, by his actions, physically demeans an official or physically threatens an official by (but not limited to) throwing a stick or any other piece of equipment or object at or in the general direction of an official […] shall be suspended for not less than three (3) games.
With no game misconduct call made in the game, the automatic suspension does not apply. That doesn’t mean that Rittich won’t be hearing from the league for his actions.
“It’s always tough when you lose,” said Rittich. “We did some good things, but it’s not enough.”
Calgary’s Sean Monahan concurred.
“Losing sucks, obviously. Losing that way, it’s even worse,” said Monahan.