Monday, February 20, 2017

Big Ten suspends Joey Marooney one game for Penn State hit

Minnesota freshman Joey Marooney (Photo by Daniel Mick)

Minnesota freshman forward Joey Marooney will be suspended for Friday's home game against Wisconsin.

The supplemental punishment comes Monday from the Big Ten.

Marooney, a late decision to play Saturday in place of Mike Szmatula, was given a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct 9:41 into the game. The freshman ended up hitting 6'7" Nikita Pavlychev near the back of the head and into the boards.

(He wasn't the only player to end up in a tussle with Pavlychev. Vinni Lettieri had a couple with the freshman before eventually losing his cool and getting called for high sticking Pavlychev off of a face-off in the third period.)

The game misconduct forced the Gophers shorthanded for the majority of the game for the second straight night.

Brent Gates Jr. missed the final 52 minutes of Friday's  6-3 victory when he checked PSU defenseman Erik Autio from behind. Gates was not given any supplemental discipline, however, and played Saturday. Minnesota went on to win 4-3 in overtime and sweep Penn State in a wild finish.

I'm a little surprised to see Marooney suspended given how, like Gates, he sat out for most of the game and this is his first offense. At the same time, the Big Ten consistently brings down the hammer on hits to the head, trying to remove them from the game. His would be along those lines.

Marooney, who is without a point in five games, is eligible to return for Saturday's series finale against Wisconsin. He's the second freshman suspended this season after Ryan Lindgren missed December 10th's win against Michigan State.

In other news, Szmatula is day-to-day with a lower body injury suffered early in the third period Friday.

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