Despite a few in the NHL already this season, line brawls in hockey remain a rare occurrence, something getting rarer by the day. In the women's college hockey, they seem to occur as often as Halle's Comet passes by.
That's what made an after-game altercation between Ohio State University and Bemidji State on Friday so surprising.
Because the fight erupted as the game came to a close, the ice was full of players from both sides, each pouring onto the ice after the game and then joining the fray on the far boards. There have certainly been wilder fights across hockey, there doesn't look to be any sticks being used as baseball bats or goalies battling but that didn't stop the box score from looking longer than a monthly grocery list.
In total 303 penalty minutes were assessed for the game, crushing the previous NCAA record for either women or men. The previous mark had been 268 minutes between Boston University and Maine in the men's game in 2004. The previous women's record? Only 83 minutes. So yes, this was a little more than rare.
What set it off? Ohio State coach Nate Handrahan wasn't entirely sure when he spoke after the game. From the USCHO:
"I don't really know what happened, to be quite honest," Handrahan said. "All I know is there were players taking liberties with our players. There was some chippiness throughout the course of the game.
"I've got to believe that our players, and as a staff, as a program, we're not happy with teams celebrating on our ice surface and going off the ice yipping and hooting and hollering. What happened at the end of the game doesn''t happen often in women's hockey.
"But I can tell you this: We're happy to at least see our girls show some fight and some spirit. Outside of that, I think hockey in general is trying to get that stuff out of the game. We have our own issues to deal with."
The game was won by Bemidji State 3-2 and they had a rematch on Saturday with numerous players sitting out as a result of the line brawl on Friday. That led to each team playing an entire game with six forward and four on defense. Bemidji State won Saturday's game in a shootout.
S/t to Deadspin