Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jaeger involved in bench-clearing brawl

Eight players and coaches suspended

It was a wild match between the Nottingham Panthers and the Coventry Blaze at the Skydome Arena on Saturday night, to say the least.

Former Brahmas goalie Brett Jaeger suffered a back spasm during the pre-game warm-ups and the opening face off was delayed while the Blaze trainer worked on Jaegs.

Once the game got under way, Nottingham’s tactic was to rush Jaegs as much as possible, thinking that getting in his face would unsettle his game.

Referee Tom Darnell had his hands full with what was already a physical game. 19 penalties had already been called (most of them for roughing or slashing) by the time the second period fracas began.

A tripping call on Coventry captain Brad Cruikshank was the straw what broke the camel's back – ultimately leading to a full-on bench clearing brawl. Cruikshank was ejected from the game for giving Darnell the finger after what he considered to be another soft call handed out.

The ball (or should I say puck) started rolling as Cruikshank was being led off the ice. He rushed Panthers goalie Craig Kowalski and then Nottingham players poured onto the ice, followed by the Blaze squad as various scuffles and fights broke out.

Jaeger battled Guilliame Lepine after the Panthers defenseman scrapped with Blaze D-man Jason Robinson. Both were given match penalties which were downgraded overnight, allowing them to play on Sunday.

Both teams accumulated 235 penalty minutes and the brawl added to the already lengthy penalty summary.

In what has been called the largest collective punishment dished out since the Elite League was formed in 2003, Cruikshank was given a nine-game suspension and will not be available until January 4th. Panthers Captain Danny Meyers was banned for seven games for a blind side hit on Jaeger.

Nottingham wing Alex Penner was banned for five games, Jade Galbraith and Marc Levers one game and bench coach David Graham got three.

Blaze coach Paul Thompson was handed a two-game ban while forward Aaron Nell was handed a one-match suspension.

By the way, the Blaze won the match 2-1. And you think we've had some fun at the shoebox!

You can read the Coventry Blaze match report here

You can view master photographer Mark Tredgold's shots of the action here

Here is one of the many videos currently circulating on YouTube:

The Blaze have a 14-6-1 record (28 points) and are in fifth place in the current standings. Jaegs has a 15-9 record with a 2.63 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

Photo Credit: Mark Tredgold

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