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Indiana Captures Second Clark Cup Title

05/22/2014, 5:30pm MDT
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

The Indiana Ice rallied in the third period and on the road to beat the Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2 in the deciding fifth game of the Clark Cup Final on Tuesday.

Indiana’s Brian Pinho scored with 2:15 remaining to complete the comeback. Clark Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player Jason Pawloski made 33 saves for the Ice, including 14 in the third period, when he did not allow a goal.

The Clark Cup, which Indiana also won in 2009, determines the United States Hockey League playoff title and the USA Hockey Tier I junior national championship.

Pinho, a Providence College recruit who was selected in the sixth round of last year’s National Hockey League Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, put the winning shot low inside the post for Indiana’s first lead of the game.

Indiana came back from two deficits. Pinho assisted on a Mitch Hults goal to force a 1-1 tie in the first period. Then Alex Talcott scored with nine minutes left to force a tie at 2-2.

Cal Petersen made 41 saves for Waterloo in the loss. Patrick Russell and Zach Sanford scored the goals.

Waterloo had forced the deciding game with a 7-2 romp on Saturday in Indiana. The Black Hawks were outshot 15-2 while falling behind 2-1 in the first period. But Zach Sanford, a second-round draft choice by the Capitals, put the Black Hawks in control by scoring twice early in the second period for the tie and the lead. They were the first two of six straight goals scored by Waterloo.

Sanford and Liam Pecararo, who had one goal, each had three points for the Black Hawks and Petersen made 36 saves.

Indiana took the series lead in Game 3 on Friday when four different players scored goals and Pawloski made 27 saves in a 4-1 win.

Pawloski finished the playoffs with eight wins, a 1.80 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage.

COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Joe Sullivan, who had an assist for the Ice in Game 5, has committed to St. Lawrence University. The 20-year-old forward from Las Vegas had 22 points in 58 regular-season games.

USHL ALL-STARS: The Omaha Lancers landed half the spots on the all-USHL first team. Forward Jake Randolph, defenseman Tucker Poolman and goaltender Hayden Hawkey represented the Lancers.

The rest of the first team was Waterloo defenseman Brandon Montour, Youngstown Phantoms Kyle Connor and Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Matt Iacopelli.

Waterloo had half the second-team spots in Petersen, defenseman Mark Friedman and forward Peter Krieger. The other second-teamers were Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman Alexx Privitera, Team USA forward Jack Eichel and Omaha forward Tyler Vesel.

Seven players were named to the USHL All-Rookie Team for players 18 or younger who were in their first season in the league. The team includes: Hawkey, Chicago Steel forward Robby Jackson, Waterloo forward Tyler Sheehy, Indiana forward Denis Smirnov, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defenseman Charlie Curti, Waterloo defenseman Hayden Shaw and Indiana defenseman Tim Shoup.

NEW LOOKS: The North American Hockey League will have small changes for it’s 39th season in 2014-15 season. The league features four divisions for 24 teams from 11 states.

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons are relocating to Connellsville, Pa. to become the Keystone Ice Miners. They will remain in the North Division, which the Fighting Falcons won this past season with a 35-15-10 record.

Meanwhile, the Wenatchee Wild are moving from the Midwest Division to the South Division.

The Northern Pacific Hockey League has announced two of the three additions that will be part of its planned expansion from five to eight teams next season. Two Washington franchises, Wenatchee and Tacoma, will be added.

SPRING SHOWCASE: The Eastern Hockey League conducted a Spring Showcase Friday through Sunday with 46 teams and more than 850 players in action. The New York Bobcats captured the U20 title, the Philadelphia Junior Flyers won the U18 title and the East Coast Wizards took the U16 title.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN OFFICIATING

08/25/2015, 3:30pm MDT
By USA Hockey

No one has ever said that officiating, and especially officiating ice hockey, was easy. Rule knowledge, communication skills, fitness, skating and a natural presence are just some of the skills necessary to be a successful official.  Some possess more of these skills and those are the officials who advance to higher levels. But regardless of the level achieved or the skill set the official possesses, the one quality that should be equal among every official is a high level of integrity.

The national official staff members, along with our volunteer referees-in-chief and local supervisors, have heard growing concerns over a decreasing level of integrity among our youth hockey officials. It’s sometimes said that no one is holding them accountable. A portion of this perception is likely a typical “blame the officials” mentality, but some anecdotal evidence suggests there is also some merit to this concern. That’s alarming to USA Hockey, as it affects the credibility of our entire program, along with every member it represents. The blunt truth is this: even one official who isn’t on the up and up can and will damage the credibility of all officials who do take pride in the integrity of their work.

Whether we like it or not, officials are under a microscope, and by the nature of the business, are held to a very high standard. When we signed up for this officiating gig, we committed ourselves to represent the game of hockey, USA Hockey, our local group of officials and ourselves as people of integrity who accept the responsibility and guardianship of enforcing the rules in a fair and consistent manner. Most importantly, we must remember that the game is bigger than all of us and that the game itself is what we serve. Those who lose sight of that not only compromise the competitive fairness of the games, they also make life more difficult for all of the officials by damaging the credibility of the officiating community.

An example of this type of unacceptable behavior occurred last season. A Level 2 adult official tended to work his games with a chip on his shoulder. He often created confrontation with coaches, alienated his younger partners with inaccurate advice and disregarded their help in attempting to get some calls and rule applications right. Even though the help they were providing was correct, he chose to maintain his incorrect position that affected the outcome of several games. He also tended to identify certain players and single them out for various infractions and/or on-ice lectures as a means of emphasizing his authority.

Once the trends were identified, concerns were voiced by several parents and coaches to the local assigner and supervisor, who acknowledged they had never seen the official’s work, but would keep throwing him out there working the same teams and levels that had expressed concerns regarding his attitude. This included intentionally assigning him a playoff game involving the coach who was the most vocal in expressing concerns. This official was then instructed to “throw the coach out if he says anything.”

That playoff game went without a hitch – a tight 2-1 game with a couple of close off-side plays and maybe an icing or two missed. In the post-game dressing room, the official in question, in the presence of his partners and the officials scheduled to work the next game, said, “It’s always a great day when you can make one or both of the coaches mad. It’s too bad the white team coach didn’t want to play along today.” The partners sat there in silence until finally a 12-year-old Level 1 official who was working the next game said, “I don’t think that’s right. We’re not supposed to bait coaches.”

The official got dressed quickly and left the room without saying another word. Kind of ironic that it was the innocent 12-year-old that seemed to “get it” and instill a sense of accountability among those in the room. Imagine how any 12-year-old player feels on the ice when they see the official(s) displaying an attitude that is simply not to the standard the game deserves. And yes, more often than not, they can see through those who do not have the level of integrity expected.

Fortunately, these types of officials are few and far between. But they do exist and to simply stick our heads in the sand and not address the concern is irresponsible. Each of us, as officials, has an obligation to behave in a professional manner at all times and take our role seriously. We have made a commitment to approach each game with the understanding that the game is about the players and we should be invisible until the players require us to appear as a result of infractions that occur. Respect is a two-way street and simply putting on the sweater with the USA Hockey crest suggests respect is warranted, but only if supported by your actions.

USA Hockey has an obligation to create a non-threatening environment that promotes respect for officials and an opportunity for officials to improve through education and evaluation. USA Hockey does this through playing rules, points of emphasis, zero tolerance policies and comprehensive education programs for officials, coaches, parents and players.

In return, the game expects USA Hockey officiating members to bring a professional image to every contest and an attitude that creates a positive environment and makes the game better. We realize everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of the game. However, laziness or unprofessional behavior is unacceptable and being creative in rule enforcement and not holding players/coaches accountable for infractions will only make the next team of officials’ jobs much more difficult and set them up for failure.

The reality is that the game official must always hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and behavior both on and off the ice. Maybe that’s fair, or maybe not, but it is the expectation we are required to meet.

As we head into the 2015-16 season, ask yourself if you are willing to meet that expectation. If the answer is yes, welcome back and we look forward to a great season.

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