The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has suspended University of North Dakota freshman forward Shane Pinto one game for cross-checking Omaha forward Joey Abate.
Now, what the video selectively doesn’t show you. At the 07:08 mark of the third period, Abate and Pinto were engaged physically in front of the UND net. Pinto took issue with Abate and viciously cross-checked Abate in the back of the head and shoulders area. Pinto was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Moreover, I want to be clear, Pinto deserves a suspension. This wasn’t a good hit. In fact, it wasn’t even a hockey play.
With that said, had the ref whistled the original play, maybe they could’ve prevented the play in question? I don’t know? It’s something to think about. Here’s the release from the NCHC:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has issued a one-game suspension to North Dakota freshman forward Shane Pinto, in accordance with the conference’s supplemental discipline policy, the NCHC announced on Monday, Jan. 13. The suspension stems from an illegal hit during the Fighting Hawks’ game against Omaha on Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
During Saturday night’s game, Pinto was assessed a major penalty for cross-checking and given a game misconduct penalty at 7:08 of the third period.
Pinto will be required to serve the one-game suspension during UND’s series opener at Miami Friday night in Oxford, Ohio. Pinto is eligible to return for their series finale with the RedHawks on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Player Safety is Paramount
At times, I’ve been accused of being hard on the on-ice officials. I haven’t written anything that I wouldn’t say to the official’s faces. I think it’s fair to say that they’ve been inconsistent. We can accept this or we can deny it and stick our heads in the sand. It’s nothing personal. They’re human beings. The NCHC also has the best officials. That’s doesn’t mean they can’t be better.
With that said, I don’t think it’s out of bounds to examine the on-ice performance of the guys in stripes. This past weekend, there were many questionable plays both ways that should’ve been called penalties and they weren’t. Two of UND’s top defensemen were knocked out of the game by very questionable, dirty plays.
If on-ice officials don’t protect the player, eventually, the players will take matters into their own hands. That’s what happened on Saturday night. It also happened in Denver two weeks ago.
So, as a collective, college hockey can get better or end up with a bloodsport where star players being hurt and out for long periods of time.
On Friday night of the UND and UAH series, Dixon Bowen was hurt when a Chargers player made contact with Bowen’s head. There was no penalty on the play and the on-ice officials ruled that a major penalty wasn’t appropriate in this situation. Bowen missed the next game. After the game head coach Brad Berry was less than pleased with the non-call. In his moment of displeasure, Berry said something that was very thoughtful.
“One thing, we get competitive in this game, but the biggest thing is player safety, looking after the player,” Berry said. “We have a player that’s… I don’t know if he’s gonna be available for tomorrow and at the very least you’ve got to look after players. I watched (the hit) a couple of times, it’s just one thing that player safety side has to be protected.”
I agree player safety has to be protected.