We all know that hockey brawls can occur during a game, however, hockey brawls that take place before a contest... that's always surprising.
Prior to the start of Game 2 of the ECHL Western Conference finals on Sunday at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, the Colorado Eagles and Fort Wayne Komets had an all out brawl on the ice, before the puck was even dropped.
The Komets goaltender Michael Houser was injured when Eagles’ Ryan Harrison ran him over during overtime of Game 1. Michael Joly scored a hat trick in Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Western Conference Finals to give the Colorado Eagles a 3-2 overtime win over the Komets. The Komets took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Joly scored a short-handed goal halfway through the third period that forced overtime.
The Komets had earned a power play 1:45 into the extra session because Colorado’s Ryan Harrison ran Fort Wayne goaltender Michael Houser. Harrison’s penalty was the second time in the game an Eagles player was called for goaltender interference.
“The goalie interference calls, they were definitely malicious and looked like intent to injure,” Komets coach Gary Graham had said following the first game of the series and mentioned that he would ask the ECHL to review the plays.
During warmups on Sunday, tempers flared as the Komets had a clear message to send to their opponents. The referees weren't on the ice at the moment the brawl took place seeing that teams were warming up ahead of the game. Both clubs met up at centre ice for a quick chat, but it quickly went south as a few players started exchanging punches and not words.
You can see in the video below how quickly things escalated. The video was captured by the Journal Gazette, which has been covering the series in their newspaper. Hockey Fights shared the footage on social media:
Dennis Kravchenko fought the Eagles’ Gabriel Verpaelst, and the Komets’ Daniel Maggio fought Joey Ratelle before the start of the game. The ECHL responded on Monday and hit the players back: Kravchenko and Verpaelst were suspended five games, though they served one apiece already, and Maggio and Ratelle got three games.
The game finally took place after the shocking start. The Komets finally won the game by the final score of 3-2. The series is tied at 1-apiece. And the intensity is definitely at its highest.
Real life Slap Shot here, no?