As a rule, goaltending is pretty vital to a team's success in the shootout. Which is why Sunday's goalie fight in the USHL between the Green Bay Gamblers and the Chicago Steel was so nutty and, we believe, unprecedented: Steve Summerhays of the Gamblers and Nick Pisellini of the Steel (white jersey) were both ejected for their brawl at the end of overtime, leaving the shootout to their understudies:
Or check out the overhead view ...
Both players received 5 minutes for fighting, 10 minutes for "equipment misconduct" and game ejections for fighting. Green Bay's Ryan McKay outdueled Connor Wilson of Chicago in the shootout for the 4-3 victory, as the Gamblers continue to push for the USHL's Anderson Cup.
So what the hell got into Pisellini and Summerhays? Turns out they've done this before. Twice.
First, know that Pisellini is a brawler, to the point of having his own profile on HockeyFights.com. Summerhays also has one but, as Minnesota Hockey Journal's Quick Facts noted, his only two previous fights have come against none other than Nick Pisellini: In April 2009 (check out the awesome ref-cam view video) and back on Feb. 6, in which Summerhays did not receive a fighting major.
As Summerhays told the Green Bay Gazette, the two goalies simply wanted one more crack at each other before in the USHL, which is a junior-level amateur league for players 20 and younger:
"That was the third time [we have fought]," Summerhays said. "Everyone kind of knew we would fight as it was the last time we were going to meet. I think everyone wanted to see it. We are good friends off the ice, but competitors on."
The Gamblers had already clinched the USHL Eastern Division regular season title. The Steel were in second-to-last place in the division. The goalies had gotten their teams to the shootout; why not give the Green Bay-record crowd of 7,014 something to talk about over Leinenkugels later that night, right?
At this juncture we must point out that Green Bay is the only team in hockey for whom an overtime goalie brawl has absolutely no chance at being named the most insane highlight of the season ... what with the bat homicide and all. Remind us again why we aren't watching the USHL, like, every night?