Brad Kwong isn't hurt, at least not outwardly. But the Harvard men's hockey captain is confused, very confused, about the fight at Bright Saturday night.
"Maybe it was spontaneous," Kwong said yesterday. "Maybe it was a natural reaction. Maybe I shouldn't have thrown any punches. I just don't know. The ref might have given me a fighting penalty anyway."
That penalty, in the Crimson's ECAC quarterfinal against Colgate, will keep Kwong off the ice when Harvard takes on Clarkson Friday in the semifinals.
As well as anybody on the team, Kwong knew the consequences of fighting. The five-minute major meant nothing in a 5-1 game, but the automatic game disqualification meant Kwong would have to sit out the most important game of his senior year.
One More Chance
"I'm just really disappointed," Kwong said. "You try to keep a level head, but I just lost control. If I could have any part of the season back to do over again, it would those five minutes of the fight."
But what would he do differently?
"I don't know," Kwong said.
Here's what happened.
"I was right there," he said. "I was in front of the net. Grant [Blair] was to the left of the net." Blair lay pinned under a Colgate player.
"All of the sudden I saw a skate come in and hit me in the side of the head," Blair recalled after the game.
"It's just a natural reaction to go after a player who does something like that," Kwong said. "When your goalie's hit, you protect him. A couple of us went after that first guy [Gerard Waslen]. When I grabbed the guy, he started throwing punches at me." Kwong punched back.
Then Kwong saw two Red Raiders taking on Peter Follows, the lightest skater (160 pounds) on the ice. One guy held Follows while the other guy hit him. "When it's a two on one, you've got to help out your teammate," said Kwong, who rushed to the scene.
"He's definitely doing the right thing," Blair said of Kwong's reaction. "We haven't got a big team, and we just can't let anybody step all over us."
In the end, referee Joe Caleasola assessed seven penalties for the fight lossing out Kwong and three Red Raiders. For the next nine minutes, Colgate played shorthanded. But with the score already 5-1 the only penalty that mattered was Kwong's.
Game disqualifications don't carry over to the next season. So while Kwong must sit out one of the most important games of his career, Scott Reston, Brad Martel and Wasten need never miss a game.
"That's one thing I disagree with," said Kwong "Those players knew they were out of the series. They knew they were going home."
So Friday, Kwong goes to the Boston Garden like any other Harvard hockey fan, as a spectation speaking in the third person. Said Kwong, "I'm really confident they can win."