College Hockey:
ECAC Hockey studying video of brawl after Rensselaer-Union game

ECAC Hockey officials are looking into the series of on-ice incidents at the end of Saturday’s Rensselaer-Union game in Albany, N.Y., one of which involved the head coaches getting in a heated dispute.

Videos showed that shoving started as soon as the Engineers won a last-second faceoff in its zone to seal a 2-1 victory over the third-ranked Dutchmen and escalated as Rensselaer players came off their bench to celebrate.

Union captain Mat Bodie is seen delivering a high cross-check to Rensselaer’s Brock Higgs after the faceoff, and other players assemble to create a mass of bodies.

Watch the video:

Union coach Rick Bennett and RPI coach Seth Appert had to be restrained by officials and members of the teams and coaching staffs later.

Another video from a different angle appears to indicate that a shove by Bennett started the coaches’ battle:

In a postgame news conference, Bennett said he was embarrassed about his actions and apologized. He declined to comment when asked what led to the scuffle.

Referees handed out 125 minutes worth of penalties after the game, including game disqualifications to Union’s Bodie and Eli Lichtenwald and Rensselaer’s Mike Zalewski and Luke Curadi. Those penalties come with an automatic one-game suspension.

Saturday’s game was a nonconference meeting for the Mayor’s Cup, but ECAC Hockey is reviewing the video from multiple camera angles as well as the reports from game officials, a league spokesperson said Sunday.

Any supplemental discipline likely would be announced early this week.

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  • djyh

    I’ll set the over/under on Bennett’s suspension at 4 games (and that takes onto account his contrition).

  • ExiledGopher

    Sorry — don’t follow RPI or Union that closely. Is this a big rivalry or more of a one time thing where it got ugly. Event in all the UND-Minnesota skirmish, I’ve seen Lucia and Hacker throw down. Even though I’m sure they’ve wanted to…

    • Matt Forget

      Big rivalry. It’s always like this.

    • Nd

      They brawled like this last game too when Union swept them earlier this year. RPI is hated across all sports by Union. They don’t usually have any class so this is expected.

  • hockeyman41

    I understand the heated rivalry, however, this was a classless act that hurts our great game of college hockey and the Union and RPI programs. In all their decades of an even more heated rivalry in Boston, I never saw Jerry York (BC) and Jack Parker (BU) try to fight each other. Did Bennent and Appert think they were going to change the outcome of the game by fighting?

    • Sean

      Bennent Charged Appert

  • Eagles

    Maybe it’s just me but this poorly written account seems to indicate Union was primarily to blame for this nonsense. Well that’s interesting because pause the first video at 12 seconds and count the jerseys. I count about 10 RPI players just in that frame… More were on the ice. Oh, and coach comes on the ice while there are still fights going on…. That is clearly when Bennett flips ( which is wrong but let’s not pretend it was for no reason). I know there are rules against leaving the bench to join an altercation… So let’s see the ECAC put up or shut up.

    • Alan Rosner

      The game had just ended so naturally players were coming out on the ice before the scrap really took off.

      • Eagles

        If you think that looks “natural” you’re fooling yourself… And you never played hockey. The game ending became a convenient excuse to go.

        Watch the wide angle… You will see Union has zero extra guys jump on, save one, who is obviously conflicted and called back to the bench twice. I would surmise that Bennett was angered by the ineffectual job of the RPI staff in restraining their players to the bench. Looked like a god damn gang rape out there and RPI fans are saying the girl asked for it. Nice.

        If I’m Bennett I take the days to defend against that any time.

        • Connor

          Yes the game ending was a “convenient” excuse to go celebrate the first time they beat Union in 10 attempts. The RPI players were coming out to celebrate, you cannot argue that, every team rushes off the bench the second the clock expires in big games like this. The fighting started as a result of Bodie’s cross check. If he did not crosscheck Higgs then RPI would have skated to their goalie to celebrate a great win and none of this would have happened. Did the RPI skaters lose their cool and go a bit overboard? Yes, there is no arguing that, however they did not start the fighting.
          As for the coaches altercation, Appert was attempting to get his guys to stop fight and just go celebrate. Should he have gone onto the ice to do that? Maybe not. Did he do anything illegal by going on the ice after the game ended? No. Bennett’s actions were completely classless. and showed a complete lake of discipline and self control. If he thought Appert was in the wrong he should have let the Refs and the league handle it, and not attacked the coach.

          • Eagles

            Agreed the first fight started with a Union player checking an RPI player high. Poor decision.

            After that, you are basically saying that Union deserved everything that happened. That is the equivalent of blaming the girl for getting raped because she flirted with the guy in the club… meaning: look, high cross checks at the end of a game and bad blood is very normal. Being the 3rd man in or an instigator from off the bench is what hockey, as a body, has determined to be a worse infringement.

            The RPI coaches decisions to allow their players to do this while making no attempt to wrangle them back in was the real tragedy, and clearly the reason Bennett goes ape. The wide angle shows the restraint the Union coaches made in trying to keep their players on the ice.

            Both sides evidently very wrong in a few different ways…. but let’s be realistic about why it degenerated so quickly: RPI had 15 men vs 6.

        • Chrisgal

          No dog in this fight, I’m a BC fan. You seem to be a bit delusional and are letting the fanboy in you cloud your judgement. Yes, more RPI players on ice to start, but there were no mismatches during the skirmish. Players were paired up.Union started it and Bennett completely out of line. Getting off easy with just two games. And enough with the rape analogies. Sheesh……

          • Joe

            Maine fan agreeing with the BC boy.

    • Sean

      Well if Brodie Xcheck the rpi player at the end of the game the whole thing might not of gone the way it did. doesn’t help Bennett charged appert

  • noonan18

    Not having a dog in this fight, the defenseman who crosschecked that opposing player in the face should get at least 5 games for that. Bush league play. And I heard he was the captain. Is that what consititutes a captain nowadays. He started the whole thing.

    Having said that, calling this a bench clearing brawl is a little over the top. A few fights happened as a result of the cross check but the others pretty much paired off and nothing more came of it, although other than the 10 guys on the ice, they all should have remained on their benches. Maybe that’s on the coaches.

    Since suspensions have already been given out, I say the league could have set an example that this stuff won’t be tolerated, but didn’t. There have been far too many altercations similar to this one in college hockey this year. The powers that be in college hockey needs to start laying down the law as this needs to stop.

  • jdhockeyboyz

    Not having seen the entire game it’s hard to judge whether the end of the game incidents were isolated or the culmination of earlier extracurricular activity. That said, the short video clips are damning to Union. Captain Bodie ignites the player’s fight with the crosscheck. I think the RPI players let him off lightly. Advice to Bodie: don’t try that move at Englestead Arena. And Coach Bennett ices the cake with the shove to Appert. Kind of reminded me of Woody Hayes, but Bennett is too young to be put out to pasture.

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