We’re only a few weeks into the 2023-24 hockey season, but we may already have the strangest loss of the season.
On Friday, the Grand Rapids Griffins hosted the Cleveland Monsters in AHL action. And while the Griffins trailed the Monsters 2-0 late in the third period, they managed to even the score and force the game to overtime with two power play goals, including one with less than 30 seconds remaining.
In overtime, however, it was Grand Rapids that found itself playing a man down after nine fans began throwing rubber pucks onto the ice, resulting in a delay of game penalty for the Griffins. The “Throw-for-Dough” soft rubber pucks were given out as a promotion that allowed fans to throw pucks on the ice at a target after the game for a chance to win prizes, according to MLive.com.
Playing with a man advantage, Cleveland forward Brendan Gaunce scored a goal 46 seconds into the overtime period to give the Columbus Blue Jackets’ affiliate a 3-2 victory. After the game, Grand Rapids head coach Dan Watson voiced displeasure with the manner in which his team lost.
“Not overly happy with what happened and took place out there,” he said. “Tough way to lose a game, you build momentum and get a tie game…just to have it stop like that is pretty tough. Choices that were made…kind of cost us.”
A Statement From Griffins Management: pic.twitter.com/RuHk2WvaxK
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) October 28, 2023
According to MLive, the incident occurred during the Griffins’ traditional $2 beer promotion, which occurs during every Friday home game. Grand Rapids proceeded to lose to the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks affiliate) 3-0 on Saturday night to fall to 2-3-1-0 on the season and will return to action on Wednesday for a rematch against the Monsters in Cleveland.