STEELERS’ coach Ryan Finnerty has branded the three game officials who missed one of his players being sticked in the face as “idiots.”
Referee Tom Darnell and linesmen Liam Sewell and Lee Young all failed to see - or act upon - the incident against Nottingham Panthers on Sunday which left Sheffield defenceman Mark Thomas bleeding on the ice.
With Thomas down, David Clarke exploited the gap in front of goal to score the game-winner.
Finnety, whose passions were running high after the 4-2 defeat which could severely impact on Sheffield’s title aspirations, said: “For three guys (officials) not to see a major penalty - it’s a joke. Our whole bench could see it but the linesman standing in front of our bench couldn’t?
“It’s embarassing. You catch a guy with a stick in the face, he’s lying there bleeding on the ice, they centre it, and all three idiots are looking around, like: ‘What happened?’ I don’t criticise referees. But unfortunately it’s all too common in this league and it’s getting worse” stormed the Canadian coach.
“It’s frustrating. Three idiots decide how the game is going to go - it is a bit much to take right now.
“The goal should never have counted, it should have had a five minute major; it’s an easy call. How they didn’t see it I don’t know.
“After the game they told me they will review it after, like that is going to do anthing for me now?
“We got shafted. That’s what happened.”
Finnerty claimed the officials’ mistake compromised what had been a close game, where both sides had, at that stage, cancelled themselves out. But he admitted that his side’s inability to cash in on Power Plays had also been a disappointment.
Steelers play at Dundee in the Challenge Cup on Thursday.