A weekend series ended on a bit of a sour note as the Canterbury Red Devils successfully defended the Toa Kauhunga Riri Tio Trophy. A close battle with the Southern Stampede on Saturday preceded a rough and almost old time hockey feel on Sunday night.
The first matchup saw solid offence coming from Brett Speirs, Evan Zych and Vladimir Kutny. Hard shots that sailed to the back of the net early on allowed goaltender Justin Findlay to secure a comfortable win and promote the winning momentum into Sunday night’s tangle.
Unfortunately the story of the weekend wasn’t about defending the TKRT trophy, the winning ways of the red and black or the relentlessness of the Stampede. No, in fact the chatter afterwards signaled down onto something we’re all pretty familiar with in hockey: fisticuffs.
Towards the end of the second period, tempers were flaring as a tangle and scrum jumped in front of the net. We’ve seen it a million times. Whistle gets called, players start chirping, punches get thrown. Usually, referees are there in time to break it up before things start to boil over. Didn’t happen this time. Matthew Schneider of the Stampede seemed to get a pop in the mouth from a punch by what seems to be a Hayden Argyle fist. Schneider unfortunately has his back to the camera and all we get to see is the whiplash of his head slinging back and then he drops to the ice. Flat on his stomach, arms outstretched.
I’m used to the North American style of hockey and I’m very familiar with the “fight for no reason” style of the LNAH. From what I saw on the replay of the stream was nothing more than a hockey play gone wrong. Argyle gave Schneider a pop to antagonize him and when Schneider fell to the ice, he fell chin first. I’m pretty positive that Argyle didn’t intend to hurt him, at least not that extent and I can put money on him feeling pretty bad about it afterwards. These plays happen all the time over here and unfortunately some of the end up like the case of Schneider. The fall to the ice can sometimes cause a lot more damage than the fist to the face.
Argyle received a game misconduct (can’t blame them) but the official call was a “check to the head”. Hmmm. I would’ve called it roughing myself but I guess that’s why I’m not in black and white stripes. I realize that Hayden Argyle has the reputation of being the most penalized player in the league with the rap sheet to prove it. I also know that Matthew Schneider is one of stand outs on the Southern Stampede squad. Being it this early in the season, I chalk this up to nothing other than a hockey play gone terribly wrong.
Nobody likes to see a player get hurt. Schneider was taken to hospital and underwent medical observations for a concussion. The Stampede did tweet out today and Schneids is shaken up but okay and will be back on the ice next week.
When the dust settled on Sunday night, the Canterbury Red Devils managed to come away with another 4-2 win in front of a capacity crowd at their hometown Alpine Ice Arena. If there’s one tale to come out of the weekend’s series, it’s that hockey players don’t forget. Expect a bounty on Hayden Argyle’s head for the rest of the season.