By John Lachmann
OXFORD, Ohio – Three ominous words stood out on the bottom of Miami's box score from Saturday's game on the CCHA Web site: Bench, game, disqualification.
That penalty was assessed to Miami coach Enrico Blasi by referee Stephen McInchak after the team's 2-2 tie vs. Northern Michigan at Cady Arena.
According to the RedHawks, McInchak told Miami's official scorer he wanted to add a disqualification penalty to Blasi – which would result in a mandatory one-game suspension – well after the conclusion of the game and without informing the off-ice officials on duty.
Miami called the league office and the penalty was reduced to a game misconduct, which essentially meant no penalty to Blasi since the game was already over.
The box score on the CCHA site reflected the amended penalty, and the one posted on Miami's site also reads "team…game misconduct".
The RedHawks said a referee has no authority to assess a disqualification penalty to a coach. Any suspensions to a coach must be handed down by the league or the NCAA.
"The league is investigating the circumstances involving a post-game situation from this contest and we will respond…as soon as that investigation is completed," CCHA director of communications Philip Colvin said Sunday morning.
Penalties also should be issued before players and coaches leave the ice area and should be reported to the off-ice officials at that time.
On the postgame radio show, a clip was played in which Blasi said prior to Saturday's game that he "has a history" with McInchak, RedHawks play-by-play radio announcer Greg Waddell confirmed.
McInchak had not officiated a game in Oxford in several years.
Blasi was visibly upset over several calls on Saturday. Miami sophomore forward Blake Coleman was whistled for diving with 6:38 left in the third period when he tried to enter the offensive zone by skating along the boards to elude Mitch Jones.
Jones was called for interference and Coleman was the second RedHawks whistled for diving in the game. Miami freshman goalie Jay Williams was also given a minor for interference – a penalty that is rarely issued to netminders – in the second period.
With the same officials working the series opener on Friday, Blasi received a bench minor for arguing on Friday, resulting in a two-man advantage for Northern Michigan. The Wildcats scored their second goal of the game in that 5-on-3 in a 5-2 loss to Miami.
Blasi's last ejection came on Feb. 13, 2010 in a 10-2 win at Bowling Green. He sarcastically applauded and bowed to referee Kevin Hall in that game before departing.
CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch released the following statement to Miami via email on Tuesday:
"The CCHA investigated a situation that occurred at the conclusion of the Northern Michigan at Miami game on Saturday, November 10th. The league concluded that there was a misidentification of a rule and took action to correctly apply the rule."