CHL Update: Freeze-Moose Dud Prompts Coach’s Call for Refund

As a minor league, the CHL is focused on player development; the on-ice results, while important, are ultimately secondary.  This can sometimes mean that the games themselves aren’t of the highest artistic or competitive caliber.  Sunday’s contest between the Minnesota Freeze and the Maine Moose, though, was so bad that Moose coach Barney Flintridge called for refunds… on behalf of the opposing fans.

What made the game – a 2-0 Minnesota victory – such a dud?  Start with the offenses.  The two teams produced a total of 28 shots – combined – in the contest.  The Moose fired a total of 16 shots, while the victorious Freeze had only 12.  Worse yet, the action declined as the game went on.  In the first period, the teams combined for 13 shots, a fairly respectable number for two defense-minded teams like these.  But across the final two periods, Maine and Minnesota had only 15 shots between them.

And it’s not as though that number concealed a big number of narrow misses or blocked shots, either.  Both teams worked throughout the game to deny entry into the offensive end, meaning that much of the action stalled out in the neutral zone.  And once Minnesota scored a pair of goals in the second, they sat on their lead and focused on keeping the puck away from the Moose, the hockey equivalent of basketball’s old four-corner stall.

There weren’t any fights or big checks to liven up the action, either.  There were a total of four penalties called in the game, all minors: one puck-over-glass penalty, an embellishment call, and a pair of high sticks.

Barney Flintridge

After the game, Flintridge – often a prickly interview – roasted the game in no uncertain terms.  “In my 40 years playing and coaching at every level of this sport, that was the worst game I’ve ever seen,” said Flintridge.  “Just garbage from beginning to end, ugly and boring.  They say hockey is the world’s fastest and most exciting sport, but you wouldn’t know it from watching this game.  My biggest challenge during this game was not falling asleep on the bench.”

The coach then bashed the Freeze’s decision to grind clock once they got ahead.  “At the beginning, at least it sort of looked like hockey,” Flintridge said.  “But once [Minnesota] got a couple-goal lead, they turtled for a period and a half.  Just disgraceful.  And my guys should have tried to break that, but I think they must have taken sleeping pills on the flight out here, and they hadn’t worn off yet.”

Flintridge concluded his harangue with an appeal to the fans.  “If any of the fans out there were watching hockey for the first time, I’m sorry.  It’s not like this most of the time.  I imagine some of the fans were just happy because they won, but the rest of you should demand a refund.  You were promised a hockey game, and instead you got this pile of crap.  At least, [the Freeze] should have given the fans pillows, so they could be comfortable while this was going on.”

Patrick Chillingham

Freeze coach Patrick Chillingham defended his team’s strategy.  “We’re still in the playoff chase, and we’re going to do what it takes to win,” Chillingham said.  “I’m not going to be embarrassed about that.  Besides, it takes two teams to make a slow game.  Barney’s boys weren’t exactly lighting it up out there.  It’s a long season, and not every game’s going to be a barnburner.”

Responding to Flintridge’s call for fan refunds, Chillingham said, “If Barney wants to hand out refunds, he can do it out of his own check.  But I believe our fans were satisfied with this game.  When they come to a Freeze game, our fans are looking for two things: a chance to see tomorrow’s SHL stars, and a home team win.  They got both of those.

“Tell you what, though: the next time the Moose comes to town, we can give Barney a pillow so he can nap on the bench.  I’ll even pay for it.  It must be hard staying up this late at his age.”

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CHL Update: West Wins All-Star Goalfest

All-Star Games are generally not famous for their defense.  There’s no glory in blocking shots or wall work in an All-Star contest, and certainly nobody wants to risk getting hurt.  So games generally turn into shooting galleries, and high scores are commonplace.

Even by All-Star standards, though, Thursday’s CHL All-Star Game at the Utah Owls’ Wasatch Arena was an offensive showcase.  The teams delivered a high-octane contest at high altitude, combining for 97 shots, filling the arena with the booming crack of slapper after slapper.

“It was a total gong show out there,” said West coach Patrick Chillingham.  “It seemed like as soon as you got the puck on your stick, if you could see the goal, you were shooting.”

In the end, the Western squad managed to hold off the visitors from the East, taking the win by the preposterous and magnificent score of 9-6.  “That’s not a hockey score,” said Owls RW Harris Wondolowski, who had two of those goals.  “It’s a football score.”

At first, the contest seemed fairly even.  After a mere 14 minutes, the scored stood 3-3.  When neither team scored over the final six minutes of the first period, the buzz in the arena quieted; the fans seemed a little bored when the goal light wasn’t flashing constantly.

It was the second period when the West took firm control of the game.  The East actually took a brief 4-3 lead when Baltimore Blue Crabs LW Alan Youngman cashed in on a slapshot from the left faceoff circle.  But then the West scored three straight goals in a six-minute span to seize the momentum of the game for good.  Omaha Ashcats D Trevor Lockwood tipped a shot past the East’s netminder, the Cleveland CenturionsEugene Looney, a little over six minutes into the second to tie it up.  A couple minutes later, Minnesota Freeze D Laszlo Cierny scored on a blast from the blue line to put the West ahead.  Finally, Milwaukee Hogs LW Gabriel Swindonburg finished a breakway by going top-shelf on Looney for a two-goal Western lead.

“We were stuck chasing the game after that, kind of like a dog chasing a car down the street,” said East coach Jeffrey “Swampy” Marsh.  “And just like that dog, we never caught up.”

In a special moment for the hometown fans in Utah, Owls C Lloyd “Goofy” Banjax won MVP honors.  He assisted on all three of the West’s second period goals, and scored one of his own in the third to help put the game away.  Along with the award, Banjax received a Polaris Rush snowmobile, perfect for carving trails through the Wasatch Mountains.

“I don’t know if it was a good idea to give me one of those things,” said Banjax.  “I barely even have a drivers’ license.  But hey, I bet I could drive this thing through the lobby of a hotel.  That’d be fun!”

 

CHL All Star Game
East All Stars @ West All Stars, Wasatch Arena

                   1   2   3   OT   F
East All Stars     3   1   2        6
West All Stars     3   3   3        9

 
East All Stars         G   A PTS PIM +/-   West All Stars         G   A PTS PIM +/-

Youngman        LW     2   0   2   0   0   Sikanen         LW     2   0   2   0   0
Melicar         D      0   2   2   0   0   Black           D      0   0   0   0   0
Barnhill        C      1   2   3   0   0   Wilcox          C      0   2   2   0   0
Bodett          D      1   2   3   0   0   Prussian        D      0   1   1   0   0
Brandon         RW     0   1   1   0   0   van der Veen    RW     0   1   1   0   0
Laronov         LW     1   1   2   0   1   Cresson         LW     0   0   0   0  -1
Morrison        D      0   2   2   0  -1   Cierny          D      1   2   3   0   1
Macy            C      1   0   1   0   1   Culp            C      0   2   2   0  -1
Druzek          D      0   0   0   0  -1   Sharkey         D      0   1   1   0   1
Archer          RW     0   2   2   0   1   Wondolowski     RW     2   0   2   0  -1
Pescatelli      LW     0   0   0   0  -5   Swindonburg     LW     1   1   2   0   5
Corbetta        D      0   0   0   0  -3   Lockwood        D      1   0   1   0   3
Brooks          C      0   0   0   0  -5   Banjax          C      1   3   4   0   5
Cullidge        D      0   0   0   0  -3   Werner          D      0   3   3   0   3
Delorme         RW     0   0   0   0  -5   Hagendosh       RW     1   1   2   0   5
----------------------------------------   ----------------------------------------
TOTALS                 6  12  18   0  -4   TOTALS                 9  17  26   0   4

Scratches:
EAS:  none
WAS:  none

 
East All Stars      SH    SV    G    Sv%
----------------------------------------
Looney              29    23    6  0.793
Crane               22    19    3  0.864

West All Stars      SH    SV    G    Sv%
----------------------------------------
Sanford             24    20    4  0.833
Freeze              22    20    2  0.909

 

First Period
------------

GOALS:
00:53  EAS  Barnhill (Brandon, Melicar)
03:00  WAS  Hagendosh (Sharkey, Cierny)
10:17  WAS  Sikanen (Werner, Wilcox)
10:37  EAS  Laronov (Bodett, Melicar)
11:29  WAS  Wondolowski (Cierny, Culp)
13:57  EAS  Youngman (Barnhill, Morrison)

PENALTIES:
None

Second Period
-------------

GOALS:
02:40  EAS  Youngman (Barnhill, Bodett)
06:17  WAS  Lockwood (Werner, Banjax)
08:07  WAS  Cierny (Banjax, Swindonburg)
12:26  WAS  Swindonburg (Banjax)

PENALTIES:
None

Third Period
------------

GOALS:
04:24  EAS  Macy (Morrison, Archer)
05:30  WAS  Banjax (Hagendosh, Prussian)
11:45  WAS  Wondolowski (Werner, Culp)
12:24  EAS  Bodett (Archer, Laronov)
16:58  WAS  Sikanen (Wilcox, van der Veen)

PENALTIES:
None


 
SHOTS
------
                   1   2   3   OT   F
East All Stars    11  13  22       46
West All Stars    15  14  22       51

 
POWER PLAYS
-----------

East All Stars   0 for 0
West All Stars   0 for 0

 
INJURIES
--------

None