Late in the first period of Friday’s East Regional semifinal, Michigan State scored what appeared to be an equalizer in a scrum in front of the Union net, batting a bouncing puck out of the air and into the back of the net.

“We didn’t pretend to come out here with an explosive offensive team, so we knew we’d have to scratch and claw to create offense against a tough defensive team,” Spartans coach Tom Anastos said.

Not so fast.

Referee Derek Shepherd called no goal on the ice, perhaps either because of the goalie controlling the puck or Shepherd losing sight of it.

The NCAA issued an official response that did not describe Shepherd’s reasoning for calling no goal on the ice. That call, however, set the stage for a video replay that found a unicorn of sorts: a goal that wasn’t a goal.

“We knew the puck went in the net because we had two real honest guys tell us it went in,” Anastos said jokingly.

The official NCAA report confirmed MSU’s assertion that “the puck enter[ed] the net.”

Where things got hairy though, is that this goal was ruled no goal.

“What we were surprised at was that they ruled that it was a no goal because the net was dislodged,” said Anastos.

Shepherd’s whistle and initial no-call did not appear to be a result of the net coming off of its moorings. And video replay showed that the net was dislodged by a Union skater.

Because the on-ice call was no goal, the video replay had to show a legal goal being scored, not just the puck crossing the goal line. According to the NCAA, the video replay showed that the net had become dislodged prior to crossing the goal line, so, by definition, “there was not conclusive video evidence to overturn the on-ice referee’s initial call.”

By the book, the referees seemed to get the replay review correct. But the Spartans might have good reason to feel burned by the constraints of the replay system.

In its statement, the NCAA at least tacitly agreed that the Union player had intentionally dislodged the net. It included in its statement that “penalties cannot be called by the use of video replay.”

The referees may have been handcuffed by the rules, which did not allow them to award a goal, a penalty or a penalty shot as a result of what happened. Rule 16, Section 18-12 requires that “[t]he net has to be in place when the puck crosses the goal line.”

Anastos, the former CCHA commissioner, gave the commissioner’s answer when asked about the goal that wasn’t.

“They gave it plenty of time, and I trust the process,” he said, “but I will look at it.”

He added, in other commentary: “We were right there. It was a one-shot game. We had a goal disallowed …”

  • Leggs2

    “Rule 16, Section 18-12 requires that “[t]he net has to be in place when the puck crosses the goal line.”
    End of story.
    Sour grapes.
    Union was clearly the better team today.
    Luck finds those with the better skills.

    • CollegeHockeyFan

      cause having a player purposely knock the net off makes them a better team? being at the game i can tell you the shot total was not accurate, it was a very even game., back and forth. each team had there chances but that no goal changes the whole aspect of how msu has to play

      • Leggs2

        No, they were the better team. Won by TWO goals, not one. And the Union player was pushed back in to the net, not done “purposely”.

      • Irish Fighter

        You have poor eyes.  MSU did not threaten seriously at even strength but for a few times…


      • J Herd Full40

        Score was 3-1 in favor of the team that played better hockey. goal was waved off before puck entered net. Only after review did it show net off.
        Article written by a pro Spartan who can’t accept an ECAC team beating his favorite. Tough! Move on…as in next year. Stop whining.

        • Guest 64

          I am not anti ECAC but that was absolutely a goal…. you cannot say as I mentioned above that if Union was in the same position you would be spouting as you are…. try to use some reasonable objectivity and quit sounding like a person who is undersized and very aware of it….

    • Guest 64

      leggs2 – please try to use what little brains that you have…. that was a goal, period…. the announcers said it was a goal and that the would like to talk to the officials….. these announcers have no horse in the race…. if the shoe was on the other foot you would not be talking like a simple minded person…….

      • Leggs2

        Well, if the announcers said it was a goal, then, of course, it MUST have been a goal. Do the refs have a “horse in the race.”?
        Know what?  I’ll give ’em the goal. Union wins 3-2.

        • Union Tampa

          Union won… Get in the bus…

          Still undefeated against Ccha this season 2-0-2

          • Union Tampa

            Union: undefeated against 3 different michigans this season

      • msoucy21

        Guest 64, c’mon man, it wasn’t a goal because it wasn’t called a goal on the ice and this is the only call that matters — the one on the official score sheet. Doesn’t matter what you, I, or the announcers think, period. Truth is, bad breaks are a part of the game, and finding a way to win in spite of them is something playoff hockey requires. 

        And, yes, sometimes a team just has to get insanely lucky. 

        Were there not any other opportunities in this game in which the Spartans could have capitalized and were unable to do so? Did they not make any costly mistakes that may have made a difference? 

        In most cases — not all cases — winning or losing can be summed up by more than just a single moment or play through out the course of the game.

        • Guest 64

          bad breaks should not happen with technology…. I am not against Union but since you and others are so for them I hope that they get absolutely crushed tomorrow :)  Those refs are awful… read the folks in the wcha think about them! 

          • msoucy21

            Graduate of a Hockey East school, seen a ton of terrible officiating that changes games, and certainly not routing for Union — but the point is the call was made and a ton of other hockey was played in which Michigan St. could have won the game and did not.

            A video review is a product of more than just the on-ice officials at this point in the season as well, and most of the people doing the reviewing have a far better understanding of the rules and how the review process works than any one else. In spite of the fact that I thought it was a goal too, the amount of time spent looking at the play suggests that they made the right call based on the initial call on the ice, something that technology can not change.

            I’ll take your word on the terrible officials, though, as I’d rather not read the WCHA comment threads. We agree on one thing though I guess…Go Lowell.

          • Guest 64

            msoucy21 – you make me laugh how simple minded you are….. what rules are added that one would not know to include in the analysis?  This is the same logic that leads to other bad decisions that adults make in life.  If a 3rd grader who understood the basics of ice hockey and then watched the replay would conclude goal.  The puck crossed the goal line and everything was legitimate.  I suspect that you are gettting a little long in the tooth take into account all of the poor officiating that you have witnessed over the years to justify that it was a goal.  Goals are the only measurement that matter in the game of ice hockey. 

          • Leggs2

            “Goals are the only measurement that matter in the game of ice hockey. ”
            U got that right. Union had 3, USM had 2…no, wait, one.

          • msoucy21

            Guest 64, I guess you have me, I’m indeed simple minded. My simple mindedness shows me that Union had more goals — the only measurement that matters — than MSU, end of story.

  • Leggs2

     “It had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.” MSU Assistant Captain Anthony Hayes.

  • EagleinExile

    Looks like the East regional was the easiest bracket because of the CCHA teams, not in spite of them. So far, good hockey all around, it would be nice if Cornell could pull a miracle out in Green Bay, Michigan has enough titles.

    • Irish Fighter

      Why would this be a miracle?  The Union demolished Wolverines… Cornell was solid against The Union.

      Maybe ECAC top teams were not as cheap as it seems 

      • msoucy21

        Or the CCHA gets more credit then it should, but the ECAC deserves a little bit of respect after a day like today so it should get a little love. So as someone who has ripped on the ECAC in the past, thank you, I enjoyed watching the looks on shocked Michigan fans after each game.

      • EagleinExile

        Maybe “miracle” was the wrong word. Cornell was trending down and Michigan was on the rise after their respective tournaments. Although I give the ECAC more respect than others, how they play against each other is not a good basis for national comparison. I am glad to see both Cornell and Union advance as the West needs to be reminded, seemingly every year, that they are not the only ones that know how to play.

  • John Q Minnesota

    Shepard=worst ref in college hockey! I cringe everytime I see him at the Ralph or Amsoil arena…

    • Leggs2

      Let’s hope he refs the Minne game.

      • Go Dawgs!

        The Shepard brothers are unabashed Gopher fans.  Todd Anderson (other WCHA ref) is probably the worst.  He lives next door to a good friend of mine.  Anderson was over to is house on new year’s eve and going off about how much he hates the UMD Bulldogs.  And oh guess what series he was reffing after the new year – UMD v. Omaha.  Then he refs the UMD v. Denver game in final five and absolutely blows 2 non-holding/tackling penalties that should have gone against DU.  Then while game is going on he skates over to the bench and starts yelling at a UMD assistant coach…while the play is still going!!!!

    • wchaguy

      Agreed.  The best officiated games are when you hardly notice the refs.  Shepherd is always noticable.  Many, many games he has made himself a big factor in the outcome and/or tone of the game.  Shepherd sucks and should have be fired years ago.

  • union tampa

    Tampa union

    • TRJ1998

      Cornell was the much more impressive team from the ECAC on Friday! I do love your goalie. You were correct about him. Kid can flat out play. UML has a good one as well. Should be a great battle. I like your spirit for your school. You irked me last week but I have to give you and Union a lot of credit. The growth of Union and Merrimack over the last 10 years has been been for College Hockey. Drop the puck and we will see.

  • Thefightingman

    Get used to it MSU – I am sure the Shepards will follow their favorite team, the Gophers, into the Big Ten in a couple years.  It should be a lot more fun with the him out watching WCHA games.  Someone will actually be in position to make the call and not blow the whistle really quick (unless the Gophers are playing).

    • Jason

      oh god you must never watched Shepard ref a Gopher game, we hate him just as much, believe me.

  • Union Tampa

    Ccha… Over rated

  • Sabby 2000

    what the crap is a UNION? bunch of crap i say…..are they related to Rensalear polytechnic institute? whatever… going out to burn some couches….what a miserable 2 days…..

    • Union Tampa

      Union to world: it’s time to get used to the idea that a small school with no scholarships can win titles… It’s the feel good story of 2012.. It’s hoosiers and its time to run the picket fence. Just don’t get caught watching the paint dry…


      • GeauxSioux

        The woodwork misses you, my friend.

    • hahahahaha a reply like this makes the win even sweeter. see ya next year!

  • Vizoroo

    DU had a goal disallowed.
    Michigan had a goal disallowed.
    Shepherd as ref only makes this one seem more questionable

  • Union Tampa

    Thanks for coming Michigan.. Another ecac team advances….

  • Butch

    Cornell just did. MSU had plenty of chances. Michigan played most of two periods a man up. Miami played 20 minutes, sat around for 45. Sounds good to here the braggarts and the homers eating their words.

  • Jason

    On behalf of the WCHA I would like to apologize for anyone that has or will have to deal with Shepard reffing. No one likes him. Oh and watch out for Anderson too he’s just as bad.

  • ECACHockey

    Union Tampa please show some class in your posts, you’re an embarrassment to our own league.  It only took your team 20 or so years to get here…and they’re not the only team without scholarships.  Referring to your team as The Union is Le Stupid.  Your own coach fled last year, ‘nuf said.

    • Union Tampa

      Few Things:

      1.  Is this Hagwell?
      2.  I never called Union – “The Union”.  That was Irish Fighter.
      3.  I happen to like Irish Fighter’s posts.
      4.  Not sure what a “classy” post is or why ECAC fans need to be classy when the rest of the fans in the NCAA can say whatever they feel like saying.
      5. Leggs2 is the man (if Leggs2 is a man).


      • Fighting Irishman

         So satire is not a strong suit for ECAChockey.  It’s OK for people to call it THE Ohio State University….. but we’re not allowed to call it THE Union.  I get angry when I see Union (NY) up there on ESPNU.  Is there another Union in DI college hockey that I don’t know about?

        • Leggs2

          There IS another Union College (Kentucky maybe?) but certainly not another one in D1 hockey.  The (NY) thing bothers me too. We get no respect…but maybe a trip to Tampa!

      • Leggs2

        Correct as to no. 5 UT.

  • Leggs2

    For what it is worth, MSU fans: Union forward Josh Jooris overheard a referee say, “That was the closet call I ever had to make.”

  • Lynah faithful

    Union looked powerful all game, and deserved the win.  Congrats for a small (2500 students) non-scholarship school to excel on a national level. A great season.
    Cornell came to play, and won.  Michigan didn’t show up – coaches fault, but he won’t admit it. With a scoreless 9.5 minutes of PP in one period; Michigan played like their pre-victory celebration hangover must have been a big one.  Big Red beats old red.