The game got ugly fast, both on and off the ice. Then, the boiling point came seconds before the 2nd period ended.
DALLAS — Game three between the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights was an eyesore, both on the ice and off.
It got ugly fast.
Less than two minutes into the game, captain Jamie Benn was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for a cross check to the neck of Golden Knights captain Mark Stone. Benn was ejected from the game. Already up 1-0, Vegas scored two goals during their power play following Benn’s cross check, creating a steep deficit only seven minutes and 10 seconds into the game.
Jake Oettinger was pulled from goal and replaced by Scott Wedgewood after the third goal.
Vegas piled onto its lead midway through the 2nd period, and seconds before the clock hit 0:00, the distaste snowballed from the stands. Max Domi got into a scrap with Vegas with 21 seconds left and was issued a roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct penalty.
This was the boiling point for fans in the American Airlines Center. Collective boos overtook the arena, and a select few fans threw drinks, food and the light up wristbands onto the ice. The PA announcer quickly warned fans to not throw objects onto the ice, which served the same purpose of telling a rebellious teen not to do something.
In what many online described as an embarrassment, numerous Stars fans followed suit and rained debris on the ice. Arena workers began to clean the debris and the game was stopped for the second intermission. The final 21 seconds of the 2nd period were played after the break, immediately followed by the start of the 3rd period.
Vegas goalie Adin Hill also had popcorn thrown at him as he came out to the ice after the second intermission.
Dallas went on to be shutout, 4-0, falling in a 3-0 series hole against Vegas. Benn did not speak to the media after the game. Head coach Pete DeBoer and Benn’s teammates came to his defense after the game.
“Let’s put it this way. [Benn] made a mistake,” DeBoer said. “He feels bad about it, and there’s no one in the building that feels as bad as he does about it. He’s been a leader here for his entire career. He leads by example both on and off the ice. He made a mistake. Fortunately, Mark Stone is okay, and we’ve got to live with the consequences. The consequences were there’s a big hole. I’m not going to stand here and pile on tonight. It doesn’t do anybody any good.”
“Jamie is one of the best captains in the league and a top leader of the league. Collectively we lost as a group tonight,” Tyler Seguin added.
Benn spoke with the media Wednesday afternoon, where he called the play “unfortunate.”
“I just need to be more responsible with my body and my stick,” Benn said. “I put my team in a tough situation. It’s pretty unfortunate.”
On Wednesday, Dallas Stars President and CEO Brad Alberts issued the following statement about the incident:
“On behalf of the Dallas Stars organization, I would like to apologize to the Vegas Golden Knights and the National Hockey League for the actions of a few of our spectators at last night’s game. Their actions were unacceptable and put the safety of the players and fans at risk. We take pride in providing the best experience for everyone who enters our arena. The actions of these individuals certainly do not reflect our great city, organization and loyal fanbase.”
Game 4 of the series is set for Thursday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
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