The Providence Bruins won the first game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 8-5, Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
The score was only part of the story as the two teams combined for 86 penalty minutes including 62 minutes at the 13:46 mark of the third period when Wilkes-Barre's Joey Mormina clocked Providence's Justin Florek. The original hit was not called a penalty, but a donnybrook ensued.
"There was a lot of emotion for both teams. Sometimes when starting a new series, the players are amped up. When that happens, players are running around a little more," said Penguins coach John Hynes about the intensity of the game.
The hit by Mormina could be looked at by the AHL for possible supplemental discipline. He is six-feet-six so it is hard for him to keep his elbows down on shorter players, but it was a hit that definitely involved contact to the head.
"The hit on Florek late was missed [by the referees]. It caught him right in the chops. [Taormina] got [Florek] right in the chin," said Cassidy.
On the possibility of submitting the video to the league for review, Cassidy said he'd make that determination later. "We'll make that decision later tonight. If the AHL is going to look at Bobby's hit, I'm sure they'll look at that one, too."
The play Cassidy was alluding to that could be evaluated by the league for possible suspension was in the first period when Bruins tough guy Bobby Robins leveled Penguins defenseman Dylan Reese. Robins led the league in penalty minutes and fighting majors during the regular season, but his play is usually considered clean. He has only been suspended once by the AHL.
"It's unfortunate his helmet came off. It popped off and his head hit the ice. You never want to see that, but that definitely wasn't my intention," said Robins. "I came in, trying to put the body on him. He might have tried to spin off. "I hope he's OK. Unfortunately that happened," added Robins.
"Bobby hits him with his shoulder. Bobby finishes his checks hard. It wasn't open ice. It was face on, not from behind or elbow. It was shoulder-to-shoulder. [The AHL] is going to review and it and they'll make their decision. We'll go from there. He respects the game. He's only been suspended once since he's been with us," said Cassidy.
"I saw a hit. I wouldn't say it was a situation where he was lunging, but he left his feet, which caused his elbow to go to the head. I don't think it was a malicious hit," said Hynes.
When asked if he would submit the play for review to the league, Hynes didn't show his card. "I'll look at it further. I haven't had a chance to really dissect it," he said.
If Friday night's first game is any indication, this series should be wild and full of excitement.