SOCHI, Russia – Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs) scored three goals, each assisted by Joe Pavelski (Plover, Wis./San Jose Sharks), to help the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team defeat Slovenia, 5-1, in the preliminary round finale for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The win clinches first place in Group A for Team USA (2-1-0-0, W-OTW-OTL-L) and a berth into the quarterfinals. Kessel’s hat trick was the first by a U.S. Olympian since John LeClair achieved the feat in 2002.
Kessel began the scoring with goals at 1:04 and 4:33 of the opening period. First, Kessel deked around a defenseman, outside to inside, to earn a clear path to the net and beat goaltender Luca Gracnar low. Then, Pavelski retrieved a dump-in along the goal line and flipped the puck across the crease for Kessel to whack out of mid-air into the goal.
The U.S. doubled its lead to 4-0 with goals at 11:05 and 12:17 of the second stanza. Kessel completed his natural hat trick by tapping in the rebound from Pavelski’s right point shot. Later, Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, Minn./Winnipeg Jets) circled the offensive zone before stopping in the left corner and finding Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul, Minn./New York Rangers) in the far circle. McDonagh quickly snapped the puck high over the goalie’s glove.
David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues) made it 5-0 at 3:26 of the third period, crashing the net and deflecting a Ryan Callahan (Rochester, N.Y./New York Rangers) pass just inside the right post.
Slovenia spoiled goaltender Ryan Miller’s (East Lansing, Mich./Buffalo Sabres) shutout with 18 seconds left in the game when Marcel Rodman scored. Miller finished with 17 saves.
The U.S. returns to action Wednesday (Feb. 19) in the quarterfinal round. Team USA’s opponent and game time will be decided Tuesday (Feb. 18) at the conclusion of the qualification round.
QUESTION: Goalie goes to the corner to play the puck, but turns the puck over to an attacking player. The goalie then body-checks the attacking player. Is this a penalty?”
ANSWER: Rule 640.f in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states:
“A minor penalty shall be assessed to any goalkeeper who body checks an opponent.”
QUESTION: After the whistle, Player A and Player B are jawing at each other. Player Red-A drops their gloves, looking to provoke a fight. Player B does not reciprocate, and Player A does not throw a punch. Referees step in the middle and separate the players. What penalty should be assessed to Player A, considering they seemed to be intending on fighting and attempted to provoke one, but did not actually throw a punch?
ANSWER: Rule 601.a in the USA Hockey Playing Rules states,
“A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed to any player who commits the following actions:
- Challenges or disputes the rulings of any official.
- Taunts or incites an opponent.
- Creates a disturbance during the game.
- Shoots the puck after the whistle, if in the opinion of the Official such shot was avoidable.”
QUESTION: What can an official do if a game will exceed the scheduled ice time? Rink management has no time to finish the game and no local league rule address this. Can you apply Rule 636.e and suspend the game?
ANSWER: The USA Hockey Playing Rules are written with the expectation that all games will be scheduled with enough ice time for completion. That is why you will find no reference about “Running Clocks”, “Mercy Rules”, or other time management devices. However, sometimes games are delayed or not enough ice time is purchased. In this case, the Rink Management is under no obligation to allow the game to continue if they have committed the next slot of ice to another customer.
Therefore, the Game Officials will have to work with the Team Officials to decide how to manage the result. In some cases, the game will be just a Rec-League friendly match and the final score is meaningless. However, the case of League Games or games involving “Tournament Bound” teams will need a resolution. In this case, the teams should not be allowed to select the final result (due to potential conflict of interest). The Game Officials will have to suspend the game and submit a report to the governing league or entity so they can decide the final result which will affect league standings. From there, it’s in the hands of the league to decide.
QUESTION: A goalie has altered and cut a deep "V" notch into the top of the paddle of his goal stick, on the back-side, approx 1" down from where the shaft of the stick and flat part of the paddle meet. The goalie has taped this area up to cover sharp edges? All other stick measurements are within legal standards. Is this stick legal to play with?
ANSWER: Provided the alterations to the stick do not make the stick’s dimensions illegal under Rule 301 in the USA Hockey Playing Rules and all rough or sharp edges have been covered to prevent injury to players, there should be nothing to prevent this stick from being used in a game. The USAH Playing Rules do not mandate that a goalkeeper’s stick-paddle must be completely straight-edged.
QUESTION: Player A loses his stick on the ice and play continues. A short while later as Player A goes to retrieve his stick, Player B uses his skate to move the stick out of the way using a kicking motion. Normally, this is a straightforward Interference penalty. In this case, when Player A picks the stick up as the penalty is being reported, the stick is unplayable as it is broken. Does that change the scenario?
ANSWER: In your situation, the fact that the stick was broken does not affect the call.
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