Season 4 Episode 23 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; We Have Questions. This week Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by the Commission of the CCHA, Don Lucia. In this episode they discussed the goaltender interference call from Tech’s game on Saturday, other roles that Don plays in the college hockey landscape, CCHA officiating, the drone that was present during the Tech/Minnesota State series, listener questions, CCHA expansion, CCHA end of season awards and Tech’s upcoming series against St. Thomas.
Trying to answer the unanswerable
The guys dove right into things with Don by addressing the elephant in the room: the ending to Tech’s game on Saturday against Minnesota State and the goaltender inference call which lead to a Tech goal being taken off the scoreboard. Don talked about the difficulty in defining goaltender interference and how there is no unanimity on what the call should be. Don also talked about the fact that no CCHA protocols were broken by the replay being shown in the arena prior to the review taking place. Don also commended the officials and said it was the toughest call they’ve had to make in their careers. Don discussed the new review rules in place this year, which include the requirement that some reviews must be initiated by coaches challenges rather than referee discretion. Don talked about understanding the frustration of Tech fans but also stressed that he understands how the officials arrived at their decision. Tim and Rob talked about their experience of watching the events unfold live and all of the guys agreed that it was great to see the league season come down to the final game.
The guys circled back to goaltender interference and Tim asked Don for more clarification on the rule. Don continued to emphasize the subjectivity of the call, pointing out that he sent the video of the play to every referee supervisor in the NCAA and seven said the “no goal” call was correct and two said the goal should have counted. Tim then talked about watching the replay a number of times and wonders if Tristan Ashbrook’s leg was pushed out from under him and that’s why he pushed the goaltender down.
All of the guys agreed that the officiating this past weekend was good and Don talked about the league being more transparent with their officials and fans.
What’s that buzzing sound?
After getting through Saturday’s controversy, Tim pivoted to another puzzling aspect from the weekend series: the drone that was flying around the arena. Don talked about how the drone came to be in the arena and how both he and Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings thought it would be great marketing for the CCHA. Don thought the drone was too aggressive in the first period and by the third period he was directing Perry Laskaris to talk to the Minnesota State Sports Information Director and prevent the drone from being over the ice. Don mentioned that the footage will be on the CCHA website when it is finished.
Most of the listener questions (understandably) revolved around Saturday’s events, but there was one question not related to Saturday which asked Don what improvements the CCHA is looking forward to next season. The first thing Don discussed was the video quality/equipment requirements for the league and how next season is the last year for all of the teams to get on the same level. He also talked about the CCHA’s contract ending with FloSports and wanting to find ways to get the league championship on linear TV.
The other big change Don talked about was tweaking the league semifinals and final rounds a little. Don mentioned making attempts to make the those rounds more like playoffs rather than another road game. Some of the possible changes he mentioned included showing the visiting team on the scoreboard during introductions, having a hype video for the road team before the game, and playing the road teams goal song when they score. Don talked about some of the coaches not being on board with the idea.
CCHA and national awards
After Don left, the guys spent time discussing the upcoming award season. Tim thought that Bemidji State’s Lleyton Roed was the front runner for the national Rookie of the Year (ROTY).
There was a brief interlude in the awards conversation where the guys talked about a commercial for Michigan Tech which prominently features Kyle Kukkonen and the Michigan Tech hockey program.
Circling back to the ROTY award, Tim thought that Kyle Kukkonen wouldn’t win the award but would be named to the CCHA All-Rookie team. The guys discussed Kukkonen’s season so far and shared their thoughts on how it played out versus how they thought it would play out at the beginning of the season. All of the guys agreed that Michigan Tech goaltender Blake Pietila would win the conference Goaltender of the Year award and Michigan Tech head coach Joe Shawhan would win the conference Coach of the Year award.
St. Thomas series preview
The guys discussed the upcoming series against St. Thomas. Dustin commented that it was a school in Minnesota. Rob wanted to win two games and move on to the next series. Matt said that he friend briefly went to Seminary School there before deciding he didn’t want to become a priest.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for patrons is approximately 59 minutes long. The guys got Don’s thoughts on Alaska possibly getting an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. There was a discussion on the improvement in the officiating in the CCHA since the league formed. The guys talked about a national shortage of hockey referees. Tim told Don the story of how THG started and Rob talked about being at home when Tech upset the Gophers back in the day. There was a discussion on tickets being available to road fans in the conference tournament. The guys talked about advertisements being on the glass in the hockey arena. A listener question was answered regarding the difference in transitions of Augustana and St. Thomas into the CCHA. A listener question was answered about tie breakers for CCHA playoff seedings. Don talked about being a part of the Hockey Commissions Association and Tim asked about the process of selecting the Richter Award winner. Tim talked about wanting to learn about face off violations with Kevin Langseth and there was a discussion on selecting officials for the playoffs series. The guys expressed their appreciation for having Don on the podcast. There was extended discussion on the Michigan Tech hockey commercial. Tim talked about his expectations on who will make the CCHA All-Conference teams. Tim did some math and ranked the top goalies in the country and the guys discussed who should win the Richter Award. The guys discussed how many series in the first round of the CCHA playoffs will go to three games.
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