The Tulsa Oilers and the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL faced off on Saturday during “Halfway To Fourth of July Night.” But instead of using illegally purchased fireworks, they decided to injure themselves with their fists.
The Oilers and the Rush engaged in some good old-fashioned brawlin’ in the third period, including a chaotic after-the-final-buzzer melee that saw the goalies involved.
It was a close game, with Tulsa scoring in the third period with 9:43 remaining to cut the lead to 4-3. That was as close as they’d get, and the tensions were rising throughout the period.
It started with Emerson Clark of Tulsa and Garrett Clarke of Rapid City (no relation) fighting at 19:33 of the third period, both earning misconducts. That fight featured a moment in which Clark evaded the officials and went back after Clarke following their first tussle.
Then at the end of the game, we had a full-on brawl. From Joe Kavanaugh of the Rapid City Journal:
Needless to say, the large Saturday night crowd remained for the postgame action roaring throughout. "When you see them going after your guys you have to step up and go out there and stand up for your guys," [Rapid City goalie Danny] Battochio said. "I saw one of their guys after one of our guys and that wasn’t acceptable, so I just tried to stand my ground and a fight resulted. That’s what it’s about on a hockey team. You have to know that guys have your back and that you are there for them and we aren’t going to let anybody take advantage of us and push us around."
In total, the teams combined for 216 penalty minutes in the game. The goalies – Kevin Carr and Battochio – had 29 of them.
There’s a lot to love in this brawl, but we think the announcer really captured the spirit of the thing. Sample sound-bytes:
“I think it’s conceivable to say that all hell has broken loose. Wow.”
“I think order has finally been restored to this hockey game. No, Battochio and Carr are going at it.”
“And it looks like we still don’t have order.”
“All of these fights go on as, ironically, the ‘Rocky’ theme song plays.”
“Well, it’s the last time these teams are ever going to see each other, so I guess we have to get our money’s worth."
Plenty of fines and suspensions in the aftermath of the brawl from the ECHL. Tulsa’s Mathieu Gagnon has been suspended for eight games – five games for leaving the players’ bench and an additional three games under Rule 28 – Supplemental Discipline for continuing an altercation at the conclusion of the game.
Tulsa’s Kevin Carr has been suspended for three games – two games for being the second player to leave the players’ bench and one game for continuing an altercation at the conclusion of the game.
Tulsa’s Emerson Clark has been suspended for one game for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of regulation. Rapid City’s Garrett Clarke has been suspended for five games for leaving the players’ bench to join an altercation. Rapid City’s Jonathan Narbonne has also been suspended for five games for leaving the players’ bench.
The teams were also fined for allowing their players to be so awesome.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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