ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

MEN’S HOCKEY: Behind the scenes of Bemidji State’s journey to restart after infamous no-goal

“By the time we were leaving the ice, a couple of our (non-dressing players) came right up to me and said, ‘Coach, that was not a goal,’” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “And they proceeded to show me the video.”

032322.S.BP.BSUMHKY-LOCKERROOM1.jpg
Kevin Langseth, director of officiating for the CCHA, points out the disputed goal to Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore and Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings at the CCHA Mason Cup Championship game on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Mankato.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
We are part of The Trust Project.

MANKATO – The Bemidji State men’s hockey team wasn’t quite sure what to do.

After Minnesota State seemingly won the CCHA Mason Cup Championship with a 2-1 victory thanks to Josh Groll’s overtime goal on Saturday night in Mankato, the Beavers patiently waited on the ice while the Mavericks accepted the trophy.

It was only when they got off the ice that things started to get interesting.

“By the time we were leaving the ice, a couple of our (non-dressing players) came right up to me and said, ‘Coach, that was not a goal,’” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “And they proceeded to show me the video.”

The replay of the goal proved that Groll’s shot slid underneath the side of a raised goal post, rendering the score invalid. After realizing that, all Serratore had to do was convince CCHA officials to take a look.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I ended up going on the ice and talking to (CCHA Commisioner Don Lucia), and (MSU head coach Mike Hastings) was there, and it was really kind of odd,” Serratore said. “It was awkward for me, but at the end of the day, the guys said it was no goal. They showed it to me. They say Twitter was blowing up, those types of things. So I went to Don, I said, ‘Don, I don’t think it was a goal. We need to review this thing or whatever the process is.’ That's kind of how it went, and then Don took over from there.”

Playing the waiting game

032322.S.BP.BSUMHKY-LOCKERROOM Elias Rosen.jpg
Bemidji State junior Elias Rosén (28) passes the puck in the third period against Minnesota State in the CCHA Mason Cup Championship game on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Mankato.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Eventually, Lucia and the CCHA initiated a lengthy review of the goal. While all this was occuring over an hour-plus, BSU’s players had to find ways to remain prepared in case the game resumed. When it became clear they would in fact be playing again, those efforts took on a renewed intensity.

“We knew it was not a goal,” defenseman Elias Rosén said. “So we were ready to play whenever the opportunity came. I was just walking around as much as I could. We were pretty emotional -- not upset, but we wanted to get out there again as soon as possible. So we just stayed warm.”

Forward Eric Martin wanted to ensure his muscles would not be too tight when he skated back out, so he found some supplemental support in the dressing room.

“A lot of Gatorade, a lot of water,” Martin said. “I was kind of cramping up for a bit just sitting in there, so I got the massage gun going. And I was just trying to stay loose, a little stretching. But no, it was long. It was a long wait.”

032322.S.BP.BSUMHKY No goal.jpg
Minnesota State’s Josh Groll (12) wraps around Bemidji State goalie Mattias Sholl (30) for what was called the game-winning goal until it was later reviewed by CCHA officials in the Mason Cup Championship game on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Mankato.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Goaltender Mattias Sholl, who kicked the post and created the opportunity for the puck to slide in underneath, had to reset mentally as he returned to the crease.

“It was a weird situation,” Sholl said. “All I remember is Groll coming around (defenseman Will Zmolek) on that play, he cut across, and I felt my foot made it all the way across to that post and covered it off. I was honestly just pretty shocked that it went in, because I felt I was in a really good position on it. Obviously on the replay, we saw it didn’t go in (legally).”

Sholl never felt his skate lifting the post above its moorings.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It was too quick,” Sholl said. “I just hit the post hard trying to get over as quick as possible. I honestly had no idea.”

The proof was all over social media, though, and so Bemidji State waited -- and hoped -- for its season to officially come back from the grave.

And finally, long after the Mason Cup had been awarded, after all the championship swag had been distributed and after most fans had left the arena, the CCHA disallowed the goal.

‘It’ll never happen again’

032322.S.BP.BSUMHKY-LOCKERROOM3.jpg
The Beavers and Mavericks shake hands after what they thought was the end of the CCHA Mason Cup Championship game on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Mankato. The game later resumed after the winning goal was disallowed.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Serratore has seen plenty of oddities in a coaching career that spans over two decades at Bemidji State and nearly 15 years prior to joining the Beavers’ bench. But he has never experienced anything that compares to what happened in Mankato on Saturday night.

“(It’s) No. 1,” Serratore said. “I've been around a long time. And there's nothing that comes close to this as far as this hockey experience. It'll never happen again. And Don and I talked about that (Monday) morning as well. I go, ‘Don, your first year as a commissioner, who’d ever think this would happen?’”

But Serratore wasn’t looking to assign blame, contrary to some others who thought Lucia and the CCHA handled the situation incorrectly.

“There's no fault in this stuff either,” Serratore said. “And it's just easy for people on Twitter or people on social media to sit there and talk about it and play the blame game, but these things happen. Things happen, right, wrong or indifferent. Even if you have video review, even if you have all these things. There's always extenuating circumstances in any situation. And this was one of them.”

032322.S.BP.BSUMHKY-LOCKERROOM Eric Martin.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Eric Martin (11) shoots in the second period against Minnesota State in the CCHA Mason Cup Championship game on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Mankato.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

He concluded with a reflection on how the wonders of modern technology uniquely enabled BSU’s season to continue – though for only two minutes, after which Jack McNeely won it for MSU in the restarted overtime period.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If this wasn't the day of social media and all the different angles you have for video review, Minnesota State would have won that game, nobody would ever talk about it,” Serratore said. “Go look back in time and think about how many goals were offside, how many goals there was guys in the crease, how much interference there was, how many goals were allowed that shouldn't have been allowed.

“When you're looking at certain angles, not everything is as clear cut as the average person thinks. So I just think the league did a heck of a job. There's no blame. Once in a while, things happen. And that's what happened, but it just took us a little longer than it normally does. And they did the right thing.”

032322.S.BP.BSUMHKY-LOCKERROOM2.jpg
The Beavers await the trophy presentation after what they thought was the end of the CCHA Mason Cup Championship game on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Mankato. The game later resumed after the winning goal was disallowed.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
What to read next
It was Reddick's 92nd career start on the Cup series. The 26-year-old was a runner-up five times.
Friends and colleagues were stunned early this week with the news of John McRae’s sudden passing at the age of 65. They will celebrate his life along with family members on Sunday, July 3.
Roughly 1,000 memberships will go on sale in July.
Steveson has an 85-2 career record in college, including a current 52-matches winning streak.