Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley was given a match penalty for punching an opponent with his blocker.
Tempers flared late in the second period after Copley stopped a weak backhand from Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano. Players from both team converged on the crease, with Vatrano giving Copley a gloved jab to the mask.
Copley responded with some punches of his own – while wearing his blocker.
Copley’s first punch appears to catch referee Steve Kozari in the side of the head. Hard to argue that you weren’t throwing punches with a blocker when one of them actually connected with the ref’s helmet.
After delivering a handful of rights – most with the blocker on – Copley popped up from the pile, tossed off his helmet, and started removing his glove. He was looking across the ice toward Anaheim goaltender John Gibson, who had skated up to center ice.
Referee Steve Kozari stepped in, though, denying all hopes of a possible goalie fight. He ushered Copley off the ice.
“Ref said I’m not going to let you guys fight,” said Gibson.”Skated back to my net.”
The match penalty to Copley comes under Roughing, Rule 51:
If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty may be assessed.
With a match penalty on the play, the officials took a moment to confirm the call via video review. When the dust settled, Anaheim ended up with a five-minute power play.
“They were going at [Copley] a couple of times earlier in the game, so he had probably just had enough,” said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. “I would have loved for the linesmen to just let ’em go, but [Copley] has been playing great for us, and we don’t need him getting injured.”
Matching minor penalties were handed out all around, with the extra match penalty coming to the Kings’ goalkeeper for punching with his blocker. Copley and Gibson were both penalized for leaving their respective creases to join an altercation.
Leaving the goal crease is covered in Rule 27:
27.6 Leaving Goal Crease – A minor penalty shall be imposed on a goalkeeper who leaves the immediate vicinity of his crease during an altercation. In addition, he shall be reported to the Commissioner for further disciplinary action as may be required. However, should the altercation occur in or near the goalkeeper’s crease, the Referee should direct the goalkeeper to a neutral location and not assess a penalty for leaving the immediate vicinity of the goal crease.
Ducks forward Sam Carrick served Gibson’s minor penalty, with Arthur Kaliyev in the box for Copley’s matching minor. Match penalties, though, must be served by the goaltender, meaning Copley’s night had come to an unexpected end.
With Copley sent to the showers, goaltender Jonathan Quick stepped in to backstop the final 20:24 of play.
The Kings went on to win 6-3. Referees for the game were veterans Dan O’Rourke (#9) and Steve Kozari (#40). Linesmen were Michel Cormier (#76) and Derek Nansen (#70).