Giants’ Lake hit by suspension after kneeing penalty from quarter-final

The Department of Player Safety (DOPS) of the EIHL has had a busy week handing out additional penalties for unsafe play around the league.

Belfast Giants’ Ben Lake with Manchester Storm’s Jared Vanwormer during an Elite Ice Hockey League game at the SSE Arena in Belfast

These included Belfast Giants forward Ben Lake was assessed a Major and Game Misconduct Kneeing penalty for this hit on Coventry Blaze forward Matthew Thompson during the Challenge Cup quarter-final at the Skydome, which caused an injury removing Thompson from the game.

A DOPS statement said: “As the video shows, Thompson is in control of the puck skating through the neutral zone. Giants forward Ben Lake is backchecking, skating towards his defensive zone. As Thompson reaches the blue line, he turns to skate across the ice in an effort to avoid the Giants’ defence.

“Lake sees Thompson crossing the blue line and moves towards Thompson, attempting to line up a body check. Lake adjusts his course in an attempt to make a full body contact, leading with his knee and making direct contact with his opponent. This is kneeing.

“It is important to note that Lake is in control of this play. We acknowledge that Lake was attempting to make a full body check but this play can not be classified as a collision between two players where one or both move reactively or defensively at the last moment to avoid contact.

“For Lake to make this check, the onus is on him to take an angle of approach that ensures he is in a good position to make a legal, full body check. Instead, having taken an angle that has him lined up outside of Thompson’s path, Lake, with a wide leg stance, turns his right leg and extends his knee, jutting it forward to avoid missing the check entirely.

“This results in a dangerous and direct knee-on-knee contact.”

Ben Lake was fined and suspended for two games.