Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t want to leave an empty net undefended. Instead, he opted to build a wall. Fleury used the paddle of his stick to pile up snow in the blue paint, presumably in hopes that the accumulating powder may slow down a puck headed for the vacated net.
The goaltender’s attempt at fortifying his abandoned crease was foiled by the officials. Referee Gord Dwyer and linesman Brian Murphy surveyed Fleury’s handiwork before clearing out the snow.
Back on the bench, Fleury buried his face in his glove, trying to hide a laugh. Coach Gerard Gallant couldn’t stifle his amusement, chuckling as the referee relayed the reason for the delay.
No penalty was called on the play, but it could have potentially resulted in a minor penalty or an awarded goal under Rule 67:
67.3 – A goalkeeper shall be assessed a minor penalty when he deliberately piles up snow or obstacles at or near his net that, in the opinion of the Referee, would tend to prevent the scoring of a goal.
67.5 Awarded Goal – When a goalkeeper, prior to proceeding to his players’ bench to be replaced by an extra attacker, intentionally leaves his stick or other piece of equipment, piles snow or other obstacles at or near his net that, in the opinion of the Referee, would tend to prevent the puck from entering the net, a goal shall be awarded. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goalkeeper must have been replaced for an extra attacker, otherwise a minor penalty shall be assessed.
The Winnipeg Jets, undeterred by the attempt, went on to score two empty-netters en route to a 4-1 win.
Nice try, Flower. You know what they say — if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.
Oh, and if there’s any question as to how effective snow buildup can be in preventing a goal, check out this play from the 2014 Stanley Cup Final: