March 7th, 2011
It didn’t take long for the matchup between the Fort Drum Killers and Deer Park Chiefs to turn ugly.
When the dust settled it was the Killers taking a 5-4 win in a fight-filled, trash-talking affair in their final matchup of the regular season.
It was the stuff the 15,592 in attendance had in mind when the two rivals met for the first time since their last showdown a couple of months ago.
But it was the extent of the carnage and trash talk — particularly in the middle of the matchup — that brought home the fact that the rivalry between these two teams will continue to be a bitter one.
Chiefs Coach/GM Mike Nellany — who was fined $10,000 by the AFHL for using profanity and vulgarity in his trash talk this week — said that the game just got away from both him and the team.
The Killers came out banging on the first shift with two big hits by Chris Stewart on Chiefs winger Alex Tanguay. Two minutes later, Coach Nellany sent out tough guys Scott Hartnell and Dustin Brown after Fort Drum’s Dan Hamhuis flattened Chiefs forward Ryan Kesler with a hit that was high around Kesler’s head.
Hartnell went after Fort Drum’s Ilya Kovalchuk, mauling him around the head, and Brown jumped Chris Stewart. While that was happening, Killers goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff skated down to the Deer Park blue line and fought with Chiefs goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
After knocking down Lundqvist, Kiprusoff had to take on Hartnell as two other fights broke out at center ice.
While the players were dancing, the coaches got into a swearing match and according to Killers Coach/GM Steven Stryska, it was Nellany who went too far.
“Nellany just started trash talking and screaming at me while I was talking to my players on the bench,” Stryska said after the matchup. “First he said that my team sucked d*ck, and then he called me a turkey for a third time this year. I told him the last time we met, I didn’t go to war for this country to be called a turkey.”
Stryska responded to the initial trash talk by calling Nellany his b*tch. Moments later, Nellany shouted that he wanted to put his d*ck in Stryska’s ass.
“I’m not surprised he was fined for saying that,” Stryska said afterwards. “It’s a pretty good illusion that he was painting. Vulgarity and profanity shouldn’t be tolerated in this league and I think he got what he deserved.”
Here is a video of Nellany and Stryska’s verbal joust:
“You get caught in the moment,” Nellany said after media asked him about his verbal spat with Stryska. “Things happen. You just want to be part of it. You just want to be able to trash talk and send a message.”
“At the end of the day we came out on top,” said Stryska. “I don’t know what’s left for them to say because they’re the losers plain and simple. They lost, we won. We proved that we are still the better team.”
If the Chiefs solidify the 8th seed in the standings at the end of this week, these two foes could meet again in the playoffs.
THE AFHL PLAYOFF RACE:
Corey Crawford conjured up an incredible performance this past week by keeping the surging Oshawa City Leafs on course for the AFHL playoffs.
The 26-year-old registered 4 wins and stopped 96 shots in this past week to power the Leafs to a 8-1 win over the Vancouver Heroes.
The win vaulted Oshawa City into ninth place and they are now only one spot away from making the playoffs going into the final week.
“We’re playing great right now and we’re only one point out of 8th place,” Crawford told reporters. “We have a good chance and we have to keep it going.”
Currently, the Chiefs have the 8th and final playoff seed with 261 total points. The Leafs are trailing by only one, with 260 total points.
There are three other teams that are still in the race: Manhattan with 257 points, Los Banos with 252 points, and Lexington with 248 points.
The regular season finales for each of these teams is as follows:
Deer Park (8th place) vs. Boston (13th place)
Oshawa City (9th place) vs. North Bay (1st place)
Manhattan (10th place) vs. Lexington (12th place)
Los Banos (11th place) vs. Fort Drum (8th place)
Another AFHL rivalry is currently in the making with Los Banos Wolves GM Andrew Fiorentino mixing it up with Washington Power GM Ray Irwin late Sunday night into Monday.
“After I signed prospect Tyler Johnson on Saturday, he said Johnson was an amateur and said I shouldn’t drink and make transactions,” said GM Irwin on Monday morning.
“I don’t care about Johnson, I knew about him and dismissed his 100 points already but I just thought the signing was not good,” Fiorentino said at the Wolves practice earlier today. “Later on, he started calling out GMs telling them to release players because of the IR Rules. I told him to [expletive] himself.”
“I think he got a little pissed after I said he was a pretty big dooshbag and a terrible follower of the AFHL’s Rules,” said Irwin.
The AFHL Commissioner got involved and said all of this escalated because the rules regarding players on the IR are not clear enough and the issue will be addressed in the offseason.
The Wolves and Power played against each other in Week 9 of the regular season with the Power beating the Wolves 6-2.
“I’m still in the process of building this team into a contender,” Fiorentino said. “This team was a mess when I took over last summer, but if we make good enough moves in this coming offseason, then I can assure you that the tables will be turned in our next matchup.”