On Friday night, Bemidji State's women's hockey team defeated Ohio State, 3-2, in a WHCA clash. But it wasn't the final score that was most memorable from the game; rather, it was the record-setting brawl after the final whistle.
On Friday night, after the final horn sounded on a not-particularly-chippy game between Bemidji State and Ohio State, the teams clashed in a massive brawl that saw 287 penalty minutes and 19 game disqualifications, both NCAA records for any division or gender.
The 303 total penalty minutes shatters the old mark of 268, set by the BU and Maine men's teams in 2004.
It remains unclear what prompted the huge brawl, though Ohio State coach Nate Handrahan offered the following theory in a press conference, via USCHO.com:
I don’t really know what happened, to be quite honest. All I know is there were players taking liberties with our players. There was some chippiness throughout the course of the game.
I’ve got to believe that our players, and as a staff, as a program, we’re not happy with teams celebrating on our ice surface and going off the ice yipping and hooting and hollering. What happened at the end of the game doesn’t happen often in women’s hockey.
What's even more intriguing is that the two teams had to play the next day, and according to that USCHO report, both sides dressed just six forwards and four defensive players since game disqualifications require a one-game suspension.
It gets better yet. Saturday's game went to a shootout, with Bemidji State winning the shootout, 1-0, after the game was tied in regulation, 2-2.
As Handrahan noted, it's rare to see that level of fisticuffs in women's hockey. And frankly, it's rare to see a brawl of that magnitude on any level. When the benches clear, well, you know things are dramatically out of hand.
Ohio State is now 3-4-2 on the year, while Bemidji State is 4-6-2.
The two teams will meet again on Feb. 14 and 15 at Bemidji. Surely, that game will be refereed extremely tightly, with both sides likely to be warned of serious consequences if any more fisticuffs break out.
Interestingly enough, Bemidji State also holds the Division III men’s record at 266 penalty minutes in a 1993 game against Wisconsin-Stevens Point, via USCHO's report. Apparently, the school just likes a good scrap.