The Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild and Minot Minotauros came ready for a fight Friday at Maysa Arena - literally.
Officials ejected seven players (Wenatchee 4, Minot 3) in the Wild's 3-0 non-division win, which was overshadowed by two melees.
"I was embarrassed," said Wild coach Bliss Littler, a Minot native. "I was embarrassed."
Wenatchee Wild defenseman Joshua Hartley handles the puck in front of Minot Minotauros forward Jadin Martin in the Wild’s 3-0 win Friday at Maysa Arena.
Minot (0-5) started slow and gave up two goals in the first period before tightening up its defense in the second and third. Wenatchee (5-0) scored its third goal on an empty net in game's final minute.
"I think our guys were maybe a little intimidated in the beginning," Minot coach Marty Murray said. "Everybody talks about Wenatchee and their ability to play the game and they got a great team.
"I think once we settled in and believed that we could skate with them, we did a pretty good job there for 45 minutes."
The first round of fighting happened with just under two minutes remaining in the second period. Minot's Cody Milligan checked a Wenatchee player from behind and three seperate one-on-one fights followed an initial skirmish with a Minot player outmanned. Four players received game ejections including Minot's Chance Creger and Bryan McFarlane.
The next round produced another three ejections with under seven minutes remaining in the third period. Minot native Mason Morelli was whistled for charging and teammate Jake Clifford was ejected in the ensuing dispute along with two members of the Wild.
"It's hockey," Murray said. "I don't think either team was really out there looking for it. Hits happen and, you know, good hockey teams stick up for each other."
Neither team managed to score on short advantages. Wenatchee forward Jono Davis - who entered the game with a league-leading nine points - set up both first period goals to add two assists to his impressive start.
On the second goal, the former USHL player deked a Minot defenseman on the right wing before sliding a pass in front of Minot goalie Ryan Ruck. Chris Kravtchouk was unmarked and scored with under two minutes remaining in the period.
"(Davis) is a good hockey player," Littler said. "He took a lot of shortcuts tonight, but he's a good hockey player."
The two teams play again tonight at 8:05 p.m. Davis expects a more disciplined visiting team against a Minot squad that played better as the game progressed.
"I think it was a little embarrassing for our team," Davis said. "When someone gets checked from behind, you should ... ask the guy if he wants to fight. Don't jump 'em, that's just a coward way right there."