‘Beer league’ net pegs cost Finland winning goal at WWC
Noora Räty had reason to celebrate after backstopping Finland’s first win over Canada at the Women’s World Championship on Saturday but her mood was a lot less celebratory 24 hours earlier after having to deal with inferior net pegs on the international stage.
Räty, who by the way wasn’t really celebrating too much after the big win over Canada, was understandably upset Friday after net pegs better suited for a beer league led to the winning goal in a tournament-opening 2-1 loss against Russia.
“We can’t push off the post since they come off so easily,” Raty told Nicole Haase, who is covering the tournament for Sports Illustrated. “This would never happen on the men’s side, it should never happen here. The nets are absolutely awful. That’s why they scored the second goal because I could not push off of the post because the nets come off.”
That game was played on a secondary rink in Plymouth, Michigan but unlike the main rink Finland played on against Canada, there were no marsh pegs, which are used in the NHL but require a hole to be drilled into the ice. Instead, Finland and Russia played with these:
— Nicole Haase (@NicoleHaase) April 1, 2017
As anyone who has played recreational hockey can attest, those pegs (even when new) come off with the slightest push into or, especially, off the post. In beer league, it often leads to warnings from referees about delay of game. The results for Räty were a lot worse:
As Räty attempts to push off her post out of the reverse-VH, the net comes off behind her instead of providing support for a push across the crease, leaving her stranded and out of position as Russia scores the winning goal in the final minute of play.
“I pushed on reverse and the net was gone,” Räty wrote in a note to InGoal. “Such a joke”
No wonder she was upset afterwards. As any goalie who has ever used the inferior pegs knows, it’s impossible to play the position properly if you can’t count on the net staying on.
Marsh pegs aren’t always a workable solution because some arenas have cooling pipes running under the crease, making it risky to drill the required holes.
Some junior teams and leagues in Canada have started using Anchorpegs (pictured left) instead, with positive results in terms of both goaltenders being able to play the position the way they’re taught, and games not being slowed by constant delays.
Ironically, Räty, who said she trains with Anchorpegs during the offseason in Minnesota, said officials at the World Championships also looked for some Anchorpegs when the net kept coming off in that opening game.
“The game got delayed 20 minutes because the other net would not stay,” Räty wrote. “I think the funny thing is that when they tried to fix the other net, they found Anchorpegs for that one but the net I had to use for two periods had the beer league ones.”
Of course that was the net Russia scored the winning goal into.
Räty won’t have to worry about inferior net pegs the rest of the tournament because Finland plays the rest of its games on the main rink. For the goalies that have to, lets hope USA Hockey organizers found a second set of Anchorpegs. Goalies at every level know how frustrating it is when the net won’t stay on, something that happens even with worn-out marsh pegs in the AHL:
— Mike McKenna (@MikeMcKenna56) April 1, 2017
“Every rink has plastic pegs but of various diameters and some are 20+ years old and flexible as hell,” McKenna wrote in a full-up note. “Some rinks drill holes around the peg big enough to fit a puck. Skate blade ends up in it. Awful.”
For the rest of us still struggling with poor pegs and referee warnings about delay of game penalties, consider taking a page from InGoal Magazine’s editorial staff:
— Kevin Woodley (@KevinisInGoal) April 1, 2017