Northern Michigan beat Michigan Tech 2-1 last night in a rivalry game between two Upper Peninsula schools, but the game was not without controversy. With seconds remaining in the second period, Michigan Tech's Tanner Kero appeared to score a goal for the Huskies, but after Northern Michigan goalie Jared Coreau pleaded with the game's officials, Brian Aaron and Bradley Albers of the CCHA, to take another look at the play, and they obliged, going to the video, and seeing that Coreau had been interfered with, causing him to fall on the play, allowing the goal to be scored. The goal was waved off, and Michigan Tech went into the second intermission down 2-0. Brad Stebner scored for Tech in the third to make it a one-goal game, but the Huskies could not notch the tying goal.
After the game, Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson was more than a little upset at the officiating for waving off Kero's apparent goal. From the Marquette Mining Journal:
Prior to talking with USCHO, Pearson blasted the CCHA officiating crew in his postgame interview on the radio home for the Huskies, WKMJ-FM.
"I'm glad I'm out of the CCHA," said Pearson, who was an assistant at Michigan from 1988-2011. "I'm going to say it. If I get fined, I don't care. It was atrocious. I'm going to call (CCHA director of officials) Steve Piotrowski. Even their coach (NMU's Walt Kyle) said to me after the game, 'You should be happy you're not in the league.' He was referring to the refereeing. It was, let's just say it was not good and I'll stop at that."
After the radio interview, Pearson, likely at the urging of Michigan Tech's SID, declined to meet with media for a post-game press conference after the game, though did speak briefly with USCHO prior to boarding his team's bus, where he slightly more conciliatory:
"Tanner just sort of clips him, but the guy takes, in my estimation, a dive," Pearson said to USCHO. "Just incidental contact, but I have to defer to the referees."
It's been a rough year for officials in the lame-duck CCHA. Last week, Notre Dame's Jeff Jackson was fined and reprimanded by the league for criticizing officiating after a disallowed goal call in his team's loss to North Dakota the weekend prior. Later that week, when asked if he had any additional comment about the incident, Jackson simply said, "Nope, just looking forward to going to Hockey East.
Also earlier this year, Miami head coach Rico Blasi was given a game disqualification by referee Steve McInchak after a post-game argument, but the penalty was reduced by the league to a game misconduct because only the league has the authority to suspend a coach. Blasi admitted that he "has a history" with McInchak as an official, and McInchak had not officiated a game in Miami for several years.
With the everyone leaving the CCHA next year, it seems coaches are a little more willing to burn whatever bridges their might be with the league and its officials. Things should only get more interesting as we get into the more intense second half of the season.