- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
DALLAS — The Dallas Stars have apologized to the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL after their fans tossed debris at opposing players during Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on Tuesday night.
The Stars lost the game 4-0 as the Golden Knights moved to within one victory of a conference final sweep.
“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,” said Brad Alberts, Dallas Stars president and CEO.
With their team down 4-0 in the game, Dallas fans littered the ice with plastic bottles and assorted garbage in protest and frustration.
Near the end of the second period, Dallas forward Max Domi hit Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague from behind, sending him quickly to the ice. He then skated up to Hague to throw a couple of gloved punches at him. Domi was given cross-checking and roughing minors as well as a 10-minute misconduct.
Stars fans had seen enough. With debris hitting the ice, the referees had the Golden Knights and Stars players leave for their dressing rooms with 21.6 seconds remaining in the second period for their safety.
“Everybody in the building was frustrated,” said Stars coach Peter DeBoer.
The frustration started early. Stars captain Jamie Benn was ejected less than two minutes into the game for a cross-check to the jaw of Vegas captain Mark Stone. Benn has a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Wednesday. Dallas had taken three previous penalties in the second period before Domi’s.
The debris tossing continued when the players returned to finish the game. Vegas goalie Adin Hill was hit with a bag of popcorn as he walked out after intermission.
“I guess everything was hitting me tonight,” joked Hill, who made 34 saves for his first NHL playoff shutout.
Stars players defended their fans and blamed themselves after the loss.
“They were engaged, they wanted it as much as we did and they showed it in that way,” said forward Joe Pavelski. “You don’t like to see it, but we have to be better for them.”
Forward Tyler Seguin agreed. “Yeah, we don’t love it. We have amazing fans here. That’s out of character for them. But we put them in that position. They’re emotional, just like us. So we’ve gotta do better,” he said.
Alberts said the fans who tossed debris weren’t representative of all Dallas fans in attendance.
“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 fan base,” he said.
Game 4 is Thursday night in Dallas, with the Golden Knights up 3-0 in the series.
Source: Read Full Article