When Cretin-Derham Hall and Duluth Central fans bought their tickets to see a hockey game between the Raiders and Trojans, they were unaware they would also be treated to a mixed martial arts match.
It started with 23 seconds left in the second period after a few Trojans players drove to the Raiders net.
The buzzer to end of the period wouldn’t sound off for another 15 minutes.
Cretin-Derham Hall goaltender Joe Schneider stopped the puck on the the Central rush, and a mele ensued.
Players from both teams were rolling on the ice and throwing each other into the glass as the referees were tackling and separating them.
“I loved the way we played up until that,” Cretin-Derham Hall coach Jim O’Neill said of his team’s performance in the eventual 7-2 triumph on Tuesday, Dec. 7. “We had everything going, we were working real hard and competing well and doing a lot of good things, and something like that just kind of ruined our night.
"We don’t want to play like that and we don’t need to play like that.”
After 15 minutes of deliberation from the officiating staff, four Central and four Cretin-Derham Hall players were given double-minor roughing penalties. The exception was Cretin-Derham Hall’s Anthony Tillman, who ended up with six minutes in penalties. Two of Tillman’s six was served by Peter Janke.
“We try to keep mentally strong, we can’t be doing that out here and be showing our weaknesses,” Cretin-Derham Hall captain Tyller Robert said. “We really try to focus on getting back out there right away and drawing those penalties instead of reacting.”
Cretin-Derham Hall captain Tony Barbato left the bench during the altercation, presumably to fulfill his captain duties and speak with the referees. Barbato was given a five-minute major for leaving the bench and a game disqualification. He will miss the team’s next game, too.
“He’s our captain, and we sent him out there,” O’Neill said. “It’s one thing if he would have joined in, but the play was done in my opinion and he didn’t join the fracas.”
Duluth Central finished the second period and started the third with a 5-on-3 power play advantage. At one point, there were 10 players in the two penalty boxes.
“It hurts us a little bit up top” said Robert of losing Barbato, “He’s a strong forchecker and a really hard worker, but we’ll try to stick in there as much as we can.”
Central failed to convert on the power play in the third period and Cretin-Derham Hall scored the lone goal in the final period just three seconds into their power play with about eight and a half minutes left to play. The goal was scored by Luke Dietsch.
Despite entering the second period trailing 2-1, Duluth Central lost the opening faceoff and Cretin-Derham Hall charged down the ice and scored a goal just eight seconds into the period.
“The kids have to understand that you’ve got to be ready when you step into that face off draw, and I didn’t see that tonight,” Central coach Kevin Smalley said. “They took advantage of us on a few draws and we paid the price for it.”
The goal belonged to Colin O’Brien, who also netted four assists.
“It gets you pumped up right away,” Robert said of the quick goal. “You come out of the locker room really excited, and it fuels you for the rest of the period, and it gives you something to build off of and it can knock them out the game.”
That goal would in fact knock Central out of the game as Cretin-Derham Hall went on to score three more goals in the period. Central scored its second goal of the game with just under two minutes left in the second period and that’s the last offense the Trojans displayed as they would only shoot twice on the Cretin net in the third period.
“I thought we played solid, yes we could have played better and we’ve got things to work on” Central captain Mike Andrews said. “But I think overall we played good it’s just the small mistakes we can’t take back and we’ve just got to move on.”
Central looks to rebound when it hosts St. Francis at 1 p.m. on Dec. 11. Cretin-Derham Hall will try to remain unbeaten when it hosts Park (Cottage Grove) at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 9.