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Kalamazoo's Wilson slapped with indefinite suspension

04/18/2017, 12:35am EDT
By By MARK MONROE BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Toledo’s Denis was recipient of vicious cross-checks in Game 2 of playoffs


Kalamazoo defender Ben Wilson was suspended indefinitely by the ECHL for this repeated cross-check of Simon Denis of the Walleye in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. BLADE

The ECHL announced Monday it has suspended Kalamazoo captain Ben Wilson indefinitely as a result of his actions in a playoff game Saturday night against Toledo.

The league made the ruling after Wilson forcefully cross-checked Walleye defenseman Simon Denis seven times across his back in a stunning outburst in the first period of Game 2 of the Central Division semifinal series.

RELATED: Toledo looks to take 3-0 lead in series

The veteran defenseman repeatedly used the shaft of his stick to strike Denis on his back as he lay on the ice after play had stopped at the Huntington Center.

Wilson was ejected from the game and was issued 17 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute game misconduct.

The league also fined Wilson an undisclosed amount stemming from the incident. There will be no further comment from the ECHL until a later date. League officials likely will look at similar instances to determine the amount of games Wilson will serve.

Walleye coach Dan Watson said it’s a serious issue.

“This is what I expected,” he said. “Usually in these situations, the ECHL doesn’t rush to make a final decision right away.”

The Walleye went on to defeat the Wings 4-1 in taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. The teams square off again today in Kalamazoo.

The game turned chippy after Toledo seized a 3-0 lead 8:11 into the game. There were 71 penalty minutes issued, including 45 in a tumultuous first period.

Walleye goaltender Jake Paterson said his teammates stepped up and met the challenge. Defenseman Beau Schmitz was called for roughing during the melee that followed the attack on Denis. Forward Shane Berschbach and defenseman Landon Oslanski also got into fights with Wings players.

“It’s almost to be expected in the playoffs,” Paterson said. “Guys will be playing tough. The way we handled it was good. Our guys stuck up for each other and stayed together as a team, which is good to see.”

Denis, who missed the final two periods Saturday, will be out for at least Game 3 because of an injury he suffered during the incident. Team officials said Sunday that Denis might have suffered a concussion and could miss up to a week under the league’s concussion protocol.

Doctors were reviewing results of an examination Monday and there is no time line yet on his return.

The Walleye activated defenseman Justin Agosta from the reserve list and placed Denis on reserve.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.

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