It took place in Madison, Wis., and Wisconsin had sent the puck deep into the MSU end. Brownlee, a swift-skating defenseman, impressively won a race to the puck against the Badgers’ Jack Skille.
As Brownlee gathered the puck, Skille put his stick between Brownlee’s skates and tripped him. Then Skille grabbed the puck and flipped a backhander over the shoulder of goalie Mike Zacharias for a goal.
How anyone in the Kohl Center that night didn’t see the play is beyond perplexing. But, somehow, referee Marco Hunt (these were still the one-referee days) missed it or didn’t think it was penalty.
Same thing Saturday.
Now some might say, with just minutes remaining in a one-goal game, that the players should decide the outcome of the game.
I’ve never subscribed to that mantra.
That’s fine if the playing field is level, if both teams are playing the same game. But when one team decides to start playing football while the other team’s playing hockey, then there’s a problem. It can’t turn into anarchy.
But if the referees are going to swallow their whistles (or simply make bad calls or no-calls) then everyone else — players, coaches, fans — has to swallow their pride.
It’s all about how you deal with it.
I think Brownlee may have dealt with it best.
Shane Frederick is a Free Press staff writer. Read his blog at mankatofreepresshockey.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter @puckato.