Two-game ban for Nickerson for cross-checks on Heelis

Matt Nickerson, MK Lightning (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Matt Nickerson, MK Lightning (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Enforcer Matt Nickerson has been hit with a two-game ban after a flashpoint while playing against his former club, Fife Flyers, on Sunday.

Nickerson, now with MK Lightning, was punished for a series of cross-checks on Flyers’ forward Liam Heelis which sent the player falling into the back of the goals.

Matt Nickerson of MK Lightning (on plexi) after the incident which led to a two-game ban (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Matt Nickerson of MK Lightning (on plexi) after the incident which led to a two-game ban (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Fife requested the incident to be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety (DOPS), and it has upgraded the minor penalty to a game misconduct – and increased the suspension because Nickerson is deemed a repeat offender.

The big defenceman checked Heelis three times.

DOPs deemed his second check as ‘‘dangerous’’ noting: ‘‘The location of the cross check is high on the opposing player, close to the head/neck area of opposing player. The cross check was very forceful, propelling the opposing player into the net.’’

It also noted the third cross-check came when Heelis was on the ice and not able to defend himself.

Nickerson made his way down the tunnel after the incident, only to be called back by the referee and made ti sit a double minor penalty lasting four minutes.

DOPS said the original check which led to the incident was lawful and that there was no reason for Nickerson to retaliate.

It added: ‘‘If player(s) feel they have to take the law into their own hands on legal checks, the game allowing body checks as a legal action will suffer as a consequence.’’

It upgraded the penalty for his second check to a game misconduct.

Noting Nickerson’s previous rap sheet, it hit him with a two game ban which will rule him out of Lightning’s games against Coventry Blaze on December 16 and Nottingham Panthers on the 22nd.