When we placed Garret Sparks in the 18th spot of our mid-term Leafs prospect rankings, many of us liked to point out that he was very good at stopping hockey pucks that come flying his way, attempting to go into the back of his net. Tonight, he did similar, but in a very, very different way.
(I tried for a while, but couldn’t figure out how to record this with sound on my computer, and as you’ll hear, sound is a necessity)
UPDATE: Crowd shot!
— Gordy Brown (@glb21_99) March 1, 2015
To say that I was surprised to see Sparks listed on the game sheet with a fighting major and a game misconduct would be an understatement. I could explain this to you using said game sheet, but that’s boring. Instead, here’s Garret’s recollection of the ordeal:
“We were down 3-1 with four minutes left in the second period. Gwinnett had an emergency backup in net. Their starter shot the puck at at me during a scrum, so I went to our blue line and laid my gear down. Then, their enforcer came flying down the ice, so I ripped off my helmet and the rest is history.”
As Sparks points out, the Gladiators couldn’t take a chance on Mark Guggenberger getting hurt or ejected, as that would leave them with emergency backup Kris Kavanagh (who hasn’t played at any notable level) in goal in a game where they had a rare chance at victory.
Enter Dyson Stevenson. The 21 year old right winger, who leads the Gladiators in penalty minutes, decided that he would be the one to take on Sparks, leading to what we saw above. The two were also thrown out of the game for continuing the altercation after the referees broke it up; something we saw a lot more of in the following minute when the teams went back at it again.
The Solar Bears channeled this into positive energy. Within minutes, Denver Manderson scored a shorthanded goal, which was the first of a four-tally rally which included a game winner from Patrick Watling and an empty netter from Brady Vail.
Looks like he’ll be fine. Besides, it looks like he got to enjoy the rally with his fanbase. “We had like 12,000 [actually, 9000] people here tonight. This place was going insane.”