In a bizarre coda to the New York Night‘s 6-5 victory over the Washington Galaxy on Saturday, Night coach Nick Foster used his postgame press conference to accuse referee Brandon Fosse and his crew of being biased against New York. Foster went on to argue that the league was “scared of” his team and determined to keep them out of the postseason.
In a lot of ways, the game was a successful one for the Night. They outshot the rival Galaxy 47-32 and secured a key win that all but guarantees them a third-place finish in the East. But the third period was a harrowing one for New York, as Washington scored four unanswered goals that nearly erased a 6-1 Night lead. Many observers thought the late rally was evidence that the Night took their foot off the gas, or that netminder Jesse Clarkson was continuing his recent stretch of shaky play. But to Foster, the real cause of the Washington rally was a string of penalties called by Fosse and his crew.
“It’s pretty impressive that we pulled that one out, considering that we were playing against 10 guys there in the third,” said the Night coach, referring to the six Washington players and the four officials. “They really didn’t want us to win this one, but we got the W anyway.” Asked to elaborate, Foster said, “Come on, you’re all smart guys. You’ve got eyes. You think it was a coincidence that all the whistles went against us down the stretch? I’m not sure what we did to piss [Fosse] off, or if the call came from upstairs, but he had it in for us.”
Foster continued, “I’m going to talk to the league; I don’t want his crew working our games any more. I don’t think they’ll listen, though. Now that we’re getting better, they’re scared of us winning. The last thing they want to see is us in the playoffs.”
On the surface, it seemed Foster’s complaint might have some merit. The last four penalties of the game, called in the latter half of the third period all went against New York, including two in quick concession that gave the Galaxy a 5-on-3 edge for over a minute and a half. Foster contended that the fatigue of the extended penalty-kill shifts left his team exhausted and vulnerable to a late rally.
On the other hand, only one of Washington’s third-period goals actually came on the power play. And Foster’s accusation ignored the fact that over the game as a whole, New York actually had more power plays than Washington. In fact, the Galaxy didn’t go a man up even once until the third.
Fosse and the other officials join a lengthy list of people and teams with which Foster has feuded this season, including the Hamilton Pistols, their star Steven Alexander, the Dakota Jackalopes, and the Corn Palace.
The league did not make Fosse available for comment after the game, but they did take swift action against Foster, fining the coach $5,000. “The idea that our referees or our league are biased against any of our teams is ludicrous,” said Commissioner Perry Mitchell. “I don’t know why Coach Foster would make crazy accusations like that. It’s disappointing on a personal level; more importantly, it’s inappropriate and unacceptable.”
Galaxy coach Rodney Reagle, on the other hand, reacted to Foster’s accusations with amusement. “I’ve got to hand it to that guy,” Reagle said. “Ordinarily, after a game like that, you’d figure he’d be answering questions about why his team can’t close out a game, or why his goalie couldn’t stop a cold. Instead, he’s got us all talking about whether the refs and the league have a vendetta against his team. Talk about post-game spin!”