Belfast Giants Derrick Walser and Adam Keefe irate after costly referee call in Cardiff devils defeat
Belfast Giants 2-3 Cardiff Devils
Belfast Giants player/coach Derrick Walser and captain Adam Keefe rounded on referee Dean Smith after his hugely controversial decision denied them an equalising goal against the Cardiff Devils on Saturday night.
A Trevor Hendrikx strike had put Cardiff 1-0 up in the first period, but instead of the score being level at 1-1, the Devils were handed a powerplay as Keefe was punished for illegal equipment and they took full advantage by scoring to make it 2-0 with four minutes gone in the second period.
The Giants ultimately went down 3-2, but the game turned on that one incident.
Keefe had his helmet knocked off in the corner and skated straight towards the bench - which he is required to do under the rules.
As he did so, Mike Wilson fired the puck into the net, but referee Smith deemed Keefe to have been involved in the game and ruled out the goal.
Walser said: "In my opinion the referee makes a terrible, terrible call on the goal.
"It's one of those things, he made a rash reaction without really thinking about what exactly happened.
"We watched the video, the puck clearly goes nowhere near Adam Keefe. It goes straight into the net. It should be 1-1, but instead we come out short-handed and down 2-0."
Joey Martin scored the powerplay goal and despite James Desmarais pulling one back in the third period, Jake Morissette made it 3-1, which meant Brandon Benedict's goal was just a consolation for the Giants.
The nature of the defeat left Keefe irate. He said: "In a league where one point decides championships every year, a call like that cannot happen.
"I don't know what he wants me to do when I don't have a helmet. To get to the bench I have to skate across the ice. It's really unbelievable, but we know we are going to get stuff like that every game."