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Cheap shot mars Beavers' victory

December 7, 2012 - Staff Blog
The Minot State University men's ice hockey team closed out the first half of its schedule with a 5-1 victory over in-state rival Williston State on Thursday night at Maysa Arena, but it came at a cost.

With 12 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the second period, WSC sophomore forward and team captain Ian Harvie delivered a check to the back of MSU freshman forward Brody Haygarth's head near center ice. Both Harvie and Haygarth were trailing the play when the incident occurred.

Harvie was assessed a 5-minute major penalty for charging and was ejected from the game. Haygarth stayed down on the ice for several minutes clutching the back of his head with both hands as the MSU medical staff tended to him. Haygarth had to be helped to his feet by the trainers and was led off the ice. He didn't return to the game and MSU coach Wade Regier believes he may have suffered a concussion.

Haygarth missed eight games earlier in the season with a concussion.

MSU senior forward Eric Herbel was critical of Harvie after the game, saying there's no room in hockey for plays like that. He called the play "extremely dirty." While players on the Beavers' bench were displeased with Harvie's actions, they knew better than to retaliate. College hockey rules state that any player given a fighting major will be suspended for the team's next game. The Beavers next game is against top-ranked Arizona State and will need to be at full strength to have a chance at the upset.

Hockey is a violent sport. Collisions happen all the time. Players give up their bodies to block shots registering up to 90 mph. They take the occasional high stick or puck to the face. But there is nothing acceptable about using a stick as a weapon, especially when the opposing player has his back turned. The Tetons were clearly frustrated at the time of the penalty, surrendering three goals in the first 6:12 of the second period after keeping the Beavers off the scoreboard after the first 20 minutes.

Just as unsettling as the hit itself is that Harvie serves as the captain of the Tetons. Granted WSC is a NJCAA team filled with only freshmen and sophomores, Harvie should know better than to let his emotions get the best of him and put his team on the penalty kill for five minutes. McGeough made the Tetons pay by scoring the Beavers' third power-play goal of the game.

Harvie's action sets a bad example for his team as the player who wears the "C" on his jersey. The captain is supposed to be someone who leads by example. There is nothing exemplary about a cheap shot to the back of an opponent's head.

If Haygarth is not medically cleared by the time the Beavers start the second half of their season on Jan. 3, it will be a shame because he is one of MSU's best young players. Despite only playing in nine games so far this season, Haygarth has totaled 13 points on eight goals and five assists.

The Beavers and Tetons meet once again on Jan. 16 in Williston.

-Mike Kraft


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