With their season in the balance, the Barrhead Renegades squared off against the Edson Sabres in a lively tilt, which could have been mistaken for a mixed martial arts event between a heavyweight and a lightweight.
“What game? That wasn’t a game,” said Renegades coach Kent Wingrove.
The Renegades left everything they had on the Agrena ice on March 9, but were ultimately overmatched 12-2 by a Sabres team that should be playing at a higher level. The game ended the Renegades’ playoff run, and their disappointing 2010/11 season, where they posted a 2-17-3 record through 22 games.
“Edson should have been in ‘AA’ to begin with, they’re too strong for this league,” said Wingrove.
At the close of the first period, the Sabres had an insurmountable 5-0 lead, despite only outshooting the home team 16-10. The Renegades had a docile opening 20 minutes, in which they looked disengaged from the play on the ice.
Cue the second period, where things took a turn towards the absurd.
If the first period was emotionless and tame, the second period didn’t live up to that hype. The aggression reached a fevered pitch, as a scrum ensued at the 9:19 mark of the second. More than 42 minutes in combined penalties were assessed, in addition to two fighting majors and two game misconducts.
“It was a game when you got midget players that are finished playing minor hockey, they’re out to fight and that’s the short and thin of it. It was a zoo,” said Wingrove.
The emotions weren’t localized entirely on the ice, as a handful of supporters for both teams abased one another.
After 40 minutes of play, the Sabres increased their lead to 8-2 and continued to outshoot the Renegades, peppering goalie Roy Ernst with 17 shots in the frame.
“They’re all 18-year-old kids in their last year of midget hockey and they’re strong players,” said Wingrove.
Despite allowing eight goals in two periods, Ernst came up with timely saves throughout the contest, none bigger than when Ernst managed to make a huge pad save, stretching across the goalmouth to stop the streaking Kody Thompson.
By this point, the officials appeared to lose control of the game, allowing some flagrant penalties to go uncalled, and inciting the verbal wrath of the hometown supporters.
The third period was just as crazy as the second, as both teams accumulated more than 50 minutes in penalties. With about five minutes left in the third, following the Sabres’ 12th goal, Ernst left his net and skated out to centre ice, but Sabres goalie Dylan Dunne remained in his net.
“A game like that benefits nobody,” said Renegades’ trainer Warren Kirchner.
The loss to the Sabres marked the end of the Renegades season.