Welcome to “Best of” Week here at The Sin Bin! This is the week where we take the time to publicly acknowledge the best work done by our wonderful team during the 2016-17 hockey season.

It goes without saying, but Team Sin Bin is comprised of some of the hardest working people covering minor pro hockey in North America. Each member of our team works diligently with their teams to break news, cover events and games, as well as bring you the reaction from those events.

Our photo of the year comes from our Rapid City Reporter/Photographer Mike Crook. He shot the photo during a melee between the Allen Americans and Rapid City Rush during the team’s “Pink at the Rink” night on February 10, 2017.

After a physical, tight-checking first two periods, the Americans blew the game wide open, lighting the lamp seven times in the game’s final 20 minutes.

Here is Crook’s breakdown of the events that night:

Gregor Hanson notched a hat-trick at 2:32 of the final period on a powerplay from Mark Cooper‘s high sticking penalty. Bryan Moore got in on the scoring barrage at 3:18 with an unassisted goal.  Jon Martin followed suit shortly after with a goal at 3:35.  Just over a minute later Dyson Stevenson lit the lamp at 4:38 and you could tell this one finally got under the skin of Lotz who broke his stick in frustration.

Frustrations were felt across the team, though, seeing how quickly this game got out of hand in what was otherwise a tight contest.  What came next was most likely those frustrations reaching their boiling point.

Alex Mikulovich from Rapid City dished out a clean hit on Allen’s Bryan Moore and Moore retaliated.  Multiple players from each team joined in on the fray and the refs had an obvious issue with maintaining control.  When the dust settled a total of 49 penalty minutes were handed out and four players were ejected from the game: Dyson Stevenson and Bryan Moore from Allen and Triston Grant and Alex Mikulovich from Rapid City. Grant was given a match penalty for slashing after wildly swinging his stick at a pair of Allen players and instigating the fracas.

Rush goaltender Austin Lotz tries to fight Americans forward Dyson Stevenson during a melee on February 10, 2017. Photo: Mike Crook/The Sin Bin

There were several suspensions handed out from the fracas, but the long-lasting memory of it is this photo above, which shows a linesman trying to break up the scuffle between Austin Lotz and Dyson Stevenson. 

Here is Crook’s photo gallery from that night: http://thesinbin.net/photos-rapid-city-rush-vs-allen-americans-21017/

And here are the highlights from that night:

Congratulations to Mike for snapping a great photo and thanks for a job well done!

Tomorrow, we will look at the four biggest stories we did this year!

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