Seattle suspensions could affect playoff race

The Tips and the Seattle Thunderbirds played a spirited game in Kent on Saturday, with Everett winning 4-3 to get back in the hunt for seventh place in the Western Conference. Late in the game the incident above took place, and the T-birds have been punished for it. Seattle defenseman Evan Wardley and goaltender Brandon Glover were both suspended two games, Wardley for his fourth game misconduct for the season and Glover for his game misconduct. The T-birds were also fined $500 for the goalie fight. Everett did not receive any punishment.

I wasn’t at the game, but apparently the T-birds were upset about two officiating decisions prior to this incident. Glover was whistled for playing the puck outside the trapezoid midway through the third period, and Everett scored on the resulting power play. Then when Dawson Leedahl scored the game winner with less than three minutes remaining, Glover reacted angrily, with Everett radio broadcaster Travis Huntington speculating that Glover thought he had the puck covered, but didn’t get a whistle.

Then with 1:38 remaining Everett’s Mirco Mueller put a hit on Alexander Delnov, and got clobbered by Wardley in return. The Wardley hit can’t really be seen on the video, but Huntington described it as a cheap shot that deserved a long suspension. Then, after things had settled down a bit, came the Glover incident. There seems to be some debate on whether Glover came off the bench for the fight, as he had just been pulled for an extra attacker when the initial hit took place. Some sources say he hadn’t actually stepped onto the bench yet. Watching his angle of approach in the video it certainly appears he’s coming from the bench area. Whether he was technically on the bench or not, that would seem to be the source of the game misconduct and the suspension.

This is significant in the playoff race. Seattle has a one-point edge on Everett, with both teams having three games remaining. Seattle now has to play the first two of those games — tonight at home against Tri-City, Friday at Portland — without Wardley and Glover. Wardley is a third-pairing defenseman, so his absence isn’t a huge deal. But Glover’s absence will be, as the overager has been Seattle’s workhorse No. 1 this season. His back-up is 16-year-old rookie Danny Mumaugh, who hasn’t played a lot this season, and now Mumaugh is being asked to help hold off the Tips. This makes the final week that much more interesting.

Both Seattle and Prince George, which is four points behind Everett in ninth, have games tonight, with Seattle hosting Tri-City and Prince George at Spokane, so you’ll want to keep track of those scores.

One last observation: People get real excited about a goalie fight. I’m not sure I understand why. What makes a goalie fight different from any other fight? I guess it has to do with the goalies skating the length of the ice to get to one another. But the goalie fights I’ve seen haven’t been anything special. If anything, they’re wearing so much padding it’s kind of like watching the wrapped-up kid from A Christmas Story trying to throw punches. But I guess I’m in the minority on this one.

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