The Grand Rapids Griffins gave up the game-winning goal on a power play that came after a penalty was handed out to their fans.
Friday night, the Griffins hosted the Cleveland Monsters for their “Throw-for-Dough” fundraiser in which fans can make a charitable donation by purchasing foam pucks. After the game, fans have an opportunity to throw those pucks at targets on the ice to win prizes.
When the Griffins rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the game in the final minute, some fans celebrated by throwing those pucks. Some folks apparently just couldn’t wait.
Nine fans were ejected for throwing pucks on to the ice. The Griffins were also given a minor penalty for delay of game under Rule 63.5 for objects thrown on the ice by spectators.
“We’re proud of our team’s resilient effort and the support of our loyal fans,” the Griffins said in a release. “We can’t say the same about these nine individuals — out of a crowd of nearly 6,000 — who caused this unprecedented situation.”
The Monsters took advantage, with Brendan Gaunce scoring just 46 seconds into the extra session to give Cleveland a 3-2 overtime win.
“Not overly happy with what happened and took place out there,” said head coach Dan Watson. “Tough way to lose a game, you build momentum and get a tie game, just to have it stop and end abruptly like that is pretty tough. Choices that were made on a lot of sides kind of cost us.”
That’s a first for me,” Watson added. “Fourteen year on the bench, I’ve never seen that.”
The team reportedly has identified all the puck-chuckers; no word on if they’ll face any supplemental discipline.
A Statement From Griffins Management: pic.twitter.com/RuHk2WvaxK
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) October 28, 2023
Referees for the game were Jonathon Sitarski (#23) and Liam Maaskant (#62), with linesmen Luke Bafia (#5) and Jim Scarpace (#75).