As expected, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn faces an NHL disciplinary hearing Wednesday following his cross-check against fellow captain Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.
Benn was ejected less than two minutes into the Stars’ 4-0 loss at home in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. Dallas now trails 3-0 and could be without Benn for Thursday’s potential elimination game.
Benn checked Stone near mid-ice, and as Benn fell on top of Stone, he delivered a cross-check high up Stone’s body at the 1:53 mark. The referees assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
“That’s one of those that’s not a hockey play,” Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault said. “It’s pretty disgusting. He leans on top of him and gives it to him in his head there. It’s one of those where we wanted to get one there on the power play to make them pay, and we just executed, so it’s a pretty good first period for us.”
Benn, 33, has three goals and eight assists in 16 playoff games this year, including a goal in Game 1 against Vegas.
Stars coach Peter DeBoer said Benn “made a mistake” on the play and the team will “live with the consequences.”
“I don’t think anyone in the building feels worse than he does about it. I’m not going to pile on him,” DeBoer said. “He’s been a leader here for his entire career and leads by example every day on and off the ice. He made a mistake. Fortunately, Mark Stone’s OK.”
Late in the second period, frustrated fans littered the ice with plastic bottles and other trash. Vegas goaltender Adin Hill was hit with a bag of popcorn as he walked out following the second intermission.
The Stars issued a statement Wednesday morning apologizing for the unruly behavior by the spectators.
“On behalf of the Dallas Stars organization, I would like to apologize to the Vegas Golden Knights and the National Hockey League for the actions of a few of our spectators at last night’s game. Their actions were unacceptable and put the safety of the players and fans at risk,” said Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts.
“We take pride in providing the best experience for everyone who enters our arena. The actions of these individuals certainly do not reflect our great city, organization and loyal fan base.”