Wild’s Foligno hits Jets’ Lowry with knee to head during fight

Marcus Foligno kneed Adam Lowry down on the ice after the two fought for the second time in the game.

Minnesota Wild forward Marcus Foligno kneed Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry in the head during a fight — the second fight between the two in the game.

The two power forwards fought during a rough first period that also saw Winnipeg’s Brenden Dillon fight Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway at the same time. The double-billed main event was triggered by an open-ice hit by Dillon on Foligno, with Greenway grabbing Dillon immediately after.

Foligno and Lowry then reconnected in the third for a fight. As officials tried to separate them, Foligno can be seen lowering his knee onto Lowry’s head. He was given an additional two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

After the game, Foligno said there wasn’t any intent on hitting Lowry with his knee during the scrum.

“I saw them complaining maybe I got my leg in there or something, but that was just me kind of ticked-off and trying to get at him. There was no intent to, you know, not throw with your fist or use another body part in there,” Foligno told reporters. “So, I’m sure there will be things said and their complaints, but for me it was just heat of the battle…just a little ticked off and you should resist once the linesmen get in there just for the respect factor but it is what it is. I mean, I’ve been in enough fights that I’ve held off, I’ve had it done to me. Just is what it is.”

Wild head coach Dean Evason defended Foligno in his post-game press conference, saying Dillon’s hit in the first period was “blindsided” and that a player smaller than Foligno could have been seriously injured on the play.

“We lost our composure but rightfully so,” Evason said. “If you watch the hit, (Foligno) releases the puck, he takes three strides and then gets blindsided. If you’re a hockey player you’re not expecting to get hammered from the backside like that. That’s the hit that we don’t want in the game… that’s not a hockey hit.

“We didn’t like it at all obviously, we lost our composure a little bit — a little bit — but (Foligno) was rightfully so frustrated and obviously that’s why that second altercation probably happened at the end.”

From a Jets perspective, the physical play was par for the course between two teams fighting for playoff spots in the crowded Central Division.

“For Lows and myself, I think we kind of answered in that instance. Overall, they’re a physical team and they played hard. There were hits all over the ice tonight,” Dillon said post-game. “All throughout the line-up, we were playing hard, blocking shots, the little things, sticks in the right lanes. It was fun to play tonight.”

The Jets won the game 2-0 and the two teams combined for 40 penalty minutes.

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