Fairwood Gives Sailors A Hand, Gets In Trouble

On Sunday, the Saskatchewan Shockers and Seattle Sailors faced off in a virtual must-win situation for both squads’ flickering playoff hopes.  As a result, the game unfolded with a fierce intensity, as both teams did whatever they could to snag a victory.  As it turned out, one Sailors player went a bit too far over the line in helping his team score a key goal.

From the opening puck drop, the game moved at a breakneck pace, a style for which Seattle is well-suited.  But the Shockers hung tough, trading goals with the Sailors throughout the contest.

“It was almost like an All-Star Game, defense optional,” said Shockers D Wyatt Barnes.

By the middle of the third period, the score stood 5-5.  At that point, the offensive flow seemed to dry up.  Both teams had chances to go ahead, but pinged shots off of posts or pushed them just wide.

With less than two minutes left in the game, the puck got lost in a scrum in front of the Shockers’ goal, as a mass of players struggled for control.  Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the puck wound up in the back of the net.  The goal horn blasted as the Sailors celebrated.  But Shockers netminder Zeke Zagurski protested vigorously that he’d been interfered with, prompting the referees took a close look at the replay.

At first, it was almost impossible to see what had happened, given the mass of humanity in and in front of the crease.  But eventually, matters became clear.

Woody Fairwood

Zagurski appeared to see the puck in the middle of the scrum and dove to cover it up, but missed.  Sailors D Woody Fairwood, seeing an opportunity, sat on top of Zagurski and pinned him to the ice.  With the Shockers goalie helpless, Fairwood spotted the puck, scooped it up, and flipped it into the net by hand.

Referee Darren St. James announced that the goal had been disallowed, and gave Fairwood a minor penalty for goaltender interference.  (After the game, St. James indicated that he wanted to give Fairwood an additional penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, but that his fellow referees disagreed.)

“I’m going to do whatever I can in that situation to get us a W,” said Fairwood after the game.  “Was it too far?  Well, I got caught, so yeah.  But you can’t blame me for trying.”

“It was obviously the right call,” said Shockers interim coach Caleb Ponder.  “You’re not allowed to sit on the goalie, and you’re not allowed to grab the puck and throw it in the net.  I don’t know what [Fairwood] was thinking.”

Sailors coach Harold Engellund, on the other hand, couldn’t suppress a smile when discussing the play.  “Yeah, okay, Woody shouldn’t have done it,” said Engellund.  “But honestly, I kind of like that hustle in a young player.  It’s do-or-die time for us, and Woody’s giving it the good fight.  The league isn’t going to give him a good-conduct medal for that, but if you’re going to win, you need to push it right up to the line.  And if you go a little over, that’s fine by me.”

Fortunately for Fairwood and the Sailors, they weathered the late penalty, and LW George Lane scored in overtime to give Seattle a 6-5 win.  Fairwood earned a beer shower from his teammates for the play.

“If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying,” said Sailors RW Vince Mango.  “Woody’s definitely trying!”

Continue reading “Fairwood Gives Sailors A Hand, Gets In Trouble”

Advertisements

SHL Quote of the Week (Week 6)

“Sure, I think we’ve got a chance to win the division.  All it would take was for Michigan’s plane to crash into Anchorage’s plane… and land on top of the arena during a Rapids-Shockers game.”

Corrigan Melts Down, Earns Suspension

Seattle SmallSeattle Sailors coach Stewart Corrigan is quickly gaining a reputation around the SHL for his volatile temper.  That temper boiled over in a memorable way on Thursday as Corrigan exploded at a referee, earning himself an ejection and a forthcoming suspension.

“I was too young to see Mount St. Helens erupt,” said Sailors RW “King George” Lane.  “But now I know what it was like.”

Corrigan’s short fuse wasn’t a complete shock.  As a junior-league coach, he earned the nickname “Popeye” due to the way his eyes would bulge during frequent rants at referees.  But this was the first time the coach had gone “full Code Red” (to use his term) during an SHL game.

Stewart Corrigan
Stewart Corrigan

During the first period of Seattle’s game against the Dakota Rapids, the referees called several controversial penalties against the Sailors.  A call Corrigan thought was a clear tripping penalty against Dakota instead became a diving penalty against Seattle.  Less than 5 minutes later, Sailors D Joey “Pig Iron” Morris was whistled for a borderline high-sticking call.  Corrigan argued both calls to no avail, and grew steadily angrier as the period went on, barking at the referees as they skated by.

“You could kind of see him changing color,” said Sailors C Cliff Derringer.  “By the end of the period, he sort of looked like a tomato in a suit.”

Finally, with less than two minutes left in the period, head referee Ted Kowalski called a delay of game penalty on Sailors RW Yann Eberlein after he shot the puck over the glass, even though Eberlein and the Sailors vigorously insisted that the puck had tipped off a Dakota stick before going out.

This was too much for Corrigan to bear, and he yelled at Kowalski to come over to the Seattle bench.  Kowalski either didn’t hear Corrigan or ignored him.  The coach then stood on the bench and yelled louder.  Receiving no response, he began banging his hands against the boards to attract Kowalski’s attention.  Kowalski still didn’t come over.  Finally, Corrigan grabbed a roll of athletic tape and fired it at Kowalski, hitting the official in the helmet.

Kowalski whirled around, and Corrigan shouted, “Yeah, you can hear me now, you fat Polack [expletive]!”

Kowalski immediately ejected Corrigan from the game, and skated away as the coach continued screaming at him.  Corrigan grabbed an armful of sticks and threw them on the ice.  It took two players and assistant coach Mark Morganhurst to restrain Corrigan.  The crowd at Century 21 Arena gave Corrigan a standing ovation as he was dragged off down the tunnel, still shouting and cursing.

The league held a hearing on Saturday morning and announced that Corrigan would be suspended for two games and fined $5,000 for his actions.  “There is no excuse for coaches or players to attack a referee physically,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “Mr. Corrigan’s actions were dangerous and irresponsible.  Also, his ethnic insult was entirely inappropriate.”

At a press conference following the announcement of the discipline, Corrigan admitted that he had gone over the line.  “I’ve always had the Irish temper,” said the coach.  “Usually it takes a good bit of liquor to bring it out, but games can do it too.  Although I didn’t agree with the referee’s calls, that doesn’t give me license to throw things at him.”  Still, Corrigan couldn’t help but let a hint of pride creep in: “I will say I was pretty impressed with my aim.  He was, what, 30 feet away?  At least?  For me to bean a moving target from that kind of distance, I mean, that’s pretty solid.”

Interview of the Week: George Lane

george-lane
“King George” Lane

Seattle SmallThis week’s interview is with Seattle Sailors RW “King George” Lane.

SHL Digest: Hello!  We are here with Seattle’s “King George” Lane.

George Lane: It’s a pleasure to talk to you.

SHLD: How do you feel your team’s doing so far this season?

GL: Not as good as we’d like, of course.  When you’re an expansion team, you’ve got to expect to take some lumps.  We’re still feeling each other out as teammates.  It’s like we’re still on the first date.  Also, we’ve had a lot of injuries this year already.

SHLD: It’s still early, but how do you feel like you and your teammates are getting along?

GL: Well, like I said, it’s still like a first date.  We’re getting to know each other.  But we’re getting along well; we’ve got some professional guys with good senses of humor.  And Seattle’s a great city.  If you’re going to struggle, I’d rather do it here that in some tiny town in the middle of nowhere.

SHLD: Let’s talk about what everyone wants to know: What’s the origin of your nickname?

GL: Well, I first got the nickname in juniors, the year I won the scoring title.  They called me “King George” because I was the top scorer in the league.  But I stopped using that after juniors.

SHLD: Why did you start again?

GL: Because I was playing on Hamilton, and after Hamilton the musical blew up, everyone started calling me that.  The guys in the locker room would sing King George’s songs when I came out of the shower.  It was pretty hilarious.

SHLD: Switching topics a bit, how do you feel being part of one of the league’s new teams?

GL: I sort of have two minds about it.  I miss my friends in Hamilton, and I’m sorry I’m not there now that they’re winning.  But it’s fun here!  We’ve got some great young talents, like Vince Mango, and we’ve got a sort of loose vibe.

SHLD: How do you see your role on the team?

GL: I see myself as sort of a mentor.  I’m a little older, and we’ve got a lot of young guys on the team.  I’m sort of like their older brother or their uncle: helping them adjust to the pros, teaching them how a big-leaguer acts, that sort of thing.

SHLD: What do you think of the other expansion team, the Quebec Tigres?

GL: I’m impressed!  They’ve been really competitive so far.  They’ve got a great coach in Martin Delorme, and they’ve got a strong defense already. They play hard, they don’t let themselves get pushed around, and they’ve been winning a few.  I think we can look at them as a good example.

SHLD: What’s your main goal for the rest of this season?

GL: To help us come together as a team, to help the young guys grow, and to build the foundation for being a contender down the road.  And to get 30 assists.

SHLD: Thanks for your time, George.  Good luck!

GL: I enjoyed talking to you!

Injury-Plagued Sailors Grab Leonard from Hershey

Hershey BlissSeattle SailorsIn their first week on the ice, the Seattle Sailors struck the first deal of the SHL’s second season.  Thanks to an onslaught of early injuries, the Sailors found themselves with a critical lack of defensive depth.  They plugged that hole by picking up D Adam Leonard from the Hershey Bliss in exchange for F Gene Kennedy.

The league has seen a significant number of players hurt over the week, but Seattle has been hit the hardest.   The Sailors lost players to injury in three straight game.  Sunday’s 3-2 win over Saskatchewan was marred by the departure of D Wayne Snelling, who suffered a lower-body injury that is expected to keep him out for a couple weeks.  In Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Michigan, RW “King George” Lane fell awkwardly against the boards and left with a lower-body injury; the team lists him as day-to-day.  On Wednesday, Seattle lost both another game — 5-3 against Anchorage — and another player, as rookie D Benny Lambert was felled by yet another lower-body injury that could put him out of action for up to a week.

Lambert’s injury sent the Sailors into crisis mode, as they looked to grab the first available blue-liner.  The Bliss, who were looking to enhance their forward corps, were a willing trade partner.

adam-leonard
Adam Leonard

“Obviously, we were hoping not to have to make a move this early in the season,” said Sailors GM Jay McKay.  “But we didn’t let ourselves get held up.  Adam is a promising young player who fills a need for us now, but has a chance to grow with the team later on.”

Hershey selected the 22-year-old Leonard, a recent graduate from Peninsula State, in the fourth round of this year’s entry draft.  He has a reputation as a stay-home defenseman and a good shot-blocker, although he is not an especially heavy hitter.  He had yet to appear in a game for the Bliss at the time of the trade.  He made his debut with Seattle on Friday in the Sailors’ 7-4 loss to Dakota.

gene-kennedy-hsy
Gene Kennedy

Seattle claimed the 24-year-old Kennedy from Washington in the expansion draft.  Kennedy was a reserve for last year’s division-champ Galaxy squad, putting up 5 points in 23 games.  Though he was only occasionally saw the ice, Kennedy’s fun-loving spirit made him a fan favorite.  The Sailors planned to use him as part of a third-line forward platoon with Yann Eberlein and Randy O’Connor.  He had appeared in one game for Seattle before being dealt.

“This was a great opportunity for us,” said Bliss GM Scott Lawrence.  “I’ve been a Gene Kennedy fan for a while now.  I always liked him when he was with Washington.  When I realized we had a chance to get him, I didn’t hesitate.”

With Leonard on board, the Sailors now find themselves hoping for better health in the upcoming games.  Until Lane is able to return to action, Seattle’s only available reserve player will be their backup goaltender.  As Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan said in his postgame press-conference Wednesday, “I don’t know if I’m running a hockey team or a sick ward.”

SHL Offseason Trade Summary

The following trades took place in the offseason before Season 2:

Seattle SmallHamilton SmallThe expansion Seattle Sailors made a splash and landed some veteran talent to guide them in their inaugural campaign.  The Sailors acquired C Cliff Derringer, RW “King George” Lane, and D Hylton Windham from the Hamilton Pistols in exchange for first-round and third-round picks and F Elmo Jacobson.  In Derringer, the Sailors land a solid scorer (21 goals and 35 points last season) who is expected to anchor their top line.  Lane, meanwhile, is a capable passer (23 assists in 2015) who may be placed on the top line to feed Derringer and top draft pick Vince Mango.  Windham appeared in limited action for Hamilton last season, scoring 4 points in 22 games, but is best known for being the first native of the Bahamas to play professional hockey.  The Pistols are rebuilding under new coach Keith Shields, and the picks (which were used to draft D Clayton “Crusher” Risch and LW Norris “Beaver” Young) will help position the team for the future.  The 24-year-old Jacobson spent last season with Saskatchewan, for whom he scored 9 points.

Quebec SmallNew York smallThe other expansion team, the Quebec Tigres, made several moves after the expansion draft. First, they dealt RW Kenny Patterson and D Teddy Morrison to the New York Night in exchange for LW Pascal Royal.  The Tigres have made a point of acquiring as many Quebec natives as possible, and Royal certainly qualifies.  He will also provide the Tigres with a dose of badly-needed offense, having put up 15 goals and 40 points in New York.  Patterson is being reunited with his former club, as Quebec plucked him from New York in the expansion draft.  The winger scored 13 goals and 37 points for the Night last year.  Morrison was a gritty defender who spent last season with Washington, putting up 12 points in 56 games.

Quebec SmallSaskatchewan SmallThe Tigres also strengthened their blue line by acquiring Viktor Babykin, a rugged stay-home defenseman, from the Saskatchewan Shockers, along with F Alois Rodney in exchange for rookie D Brody “Bruiser” McCallan.  Babykin is known as one of the SHL’s meanest players, a man who never hesitates to drop the gloves and was one of the league leaders in penalty minutes last year.  His pugnacious personality also created some friction in the Shockers locker room, however.  The 21-year-old McCallan, the Tigres’ third-round draft pick, spent last season in the Quebec junior league, where he put up 12 points.  Rodney, who was the last player selected in the draft,  put up 6 points in limited action in the Swiss league last season.

Quebec SmallHamilton SmallIn their final deal, the Tigres picked up another left winger, Stellan Fisker, from the Hamilton Pistols.  Fisker put up 17 goals and 30 points for Hamilton last season.  The Pistols sent Fisker and the just-acquired Jacobson to Quebec in exchange for a pair of rookies, LW Magnus Gunnarson and the aforementioned Rodney, and a second-round pick in next year’s draft.  Gunnarson, who was selected in the second round by Quebec, scored 15 goals last season for Lake Erie State.

Hershey SmallAnchorage SmallThe Hershey Bliss and the Anchorage Igloos struck a major deal on draft night, with the Bliss sending G Riley Lattimore to the Igloos in exchange for RW Sven Danielsen.  Lattimore began last season as Hershey’s starting goalie, but struggled and wound up losing playing time to backup Milo Stafford.  Lattimore finished the season with a 12-18-1 record with a 3.70 GAA, as the Bliss stumbled to a disappointing third-place finish in the East.  He became expendable after Hershey picked netminder Buzz Carson in the second round of the draft.  Lattimore will serve as a backup in Anchorage, who lost their former second-string goalie, Ron Mason, to Seattle in the expansion draft.  Danielsen, meanwhile, spent last season on the second line for the champion Igloos, netting 11 goals and 28 points.  He lost his spot on the Anchorage depth chart to Remi Montrechere, as the Igloos found themselves with forward depth to spare.

Dakota SmallHamilton SmallIn a minor swap of defenders, the Dakota Rapids shipped Jose Martinez and rookie Fyodor Agrozonov to the Hamilton Pistols for Pierre Chappelle.  Chapelle was a solid two-way defenseman for the Pistols last season, putting up 10 points.  Martinez was an offensive-minded defender who struggled somewhat in Dakota, posting 7 points in 52 games.  Agrozonov is a 22-year-old who played the last two seasons in the KHL.