The Idaho Falls Spud Kings took care of the Provo Predators 3-1 in the second half of a two-game set this weekend.
The two teams played Friday night in Provo before making the drive to Idaho Falls for Saturday’s game. The Spud Kings won both contests.
Despite the two wins, the Spud Kings sit one point behind the Mustangs for last place in the overall standings. They have three games left in the season before heading to the playoffs. In the Mountain Division of the USPHL every team makes the playoffs.
Saturday’s game was a game of stories. Here are the most notable things from this competition.
Although the game was a relatively low-scoring one, there was no shortage of excitement. Five minutes into the second period, a scrum ensued in the corner behind the Spud Kings’ net. Several players threw punches and the crowd was on its feet.
Although it was hard to tell exactly who did what, Spud Kings Forward Noel Klassen and Predators Forward Emmanuel Nkombou each left with a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. Nkombou was also ejected from the game.
As is the case in most leagues where the players are not yet legal adults, fighting is strictly banned in the USPHL. Guilty players may receive suspensions.
The game of hockey has changed over the last three to five years. Hockey is traditionally a game in which flashy players get punished and gritty players get rewarded. If you tried a fancy play in the ‘70s, there’s a good chance someone would fight you during your next shift. That has changed, and the results of it were displayed in Saturday night’s game.
With eight minutes to go in the third period, Spud Kings Forward Shawn LeConte found the puck behind the opponent’s net. He attempted the game’s second “Michigan.”
The “Michigan” received its name after Mike Legg, University of Michigan player, became the first player to score on the play. It’s when a player scoops the puck up on his stick and slings it into the net lacrosse-style.
LeConte was unsuccessful in his attempt, and his follow-through hit an opponent in the face. He was assigned a high-sticking penalty, as the referee deemed that this was different than the follow-through from a shot. High-sticking is not a penalty if it’s the result of a follow-through.
A Predators player had also attempted the “Michigan” — typically a play you very rarely see — earlier in the game, but he was unsuccessful.
Fan ejected from the game
“Will fans please point out the stupid idiot that poured his drink on the heads of the players,” asked the public address announcer during a stoppage in play.
He continued by warning the fans of the consequences that such actions can have. He declared that the Spud Kings could be assessed penalties and that disrespectful fans will be asked to leave.
The Spud Kings did not get a penalty in this instance, but several security guards accompanied the guilty party out of the building.
The game, originally slated to start at 7:05 p.m., was pushed back an hour because of issues with the ice.
The Zamboni, for whatever reason, was not spreading fresh water after scraping the surface of the ice. The ice crew never got the issue fully sorted out, so they were forced to settle with less-than-ideal ice.
The Spud Kings finish their regular season this coming weekend, with an away game on Friday against the Ogden Mustangs and home games Saturday and Sunday against the Northern Colorado Eagles.