CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- You watch enough games and you're bound to see something different.
Take the odd scenario that unfolded in the third quarter of the Maryland-Virginia ACC semifinal at Kenan Stadium on Friday.
With the Cavaliers up 6-3, Virginia defenseman Scott McWilliams committed a slash as Maryland attempted to set up a goal. Just seconds later, the Terps' John Haus and the Cavaliers' Pat Harbeson barked at each other and were called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
That set up a 5-on-4 for Maryland, which cashed in seven seconds later. Yet McWilliams remained on the bench, and the Terps added another extra-man goal to temporarily tighten things.
"I've never seen a situation where with simultaneous fouls like that, the first foul wasn't released after the first extra-man goal was scored," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said after the Cavaliers' 13-6 victory. "I couldn't imagine why Scott McWilliams wasn't back on the field at that point, but because they said the fouls had happened at exactly the same moment, that's how it's played. I was in no position to argue because I had no idea what they were talking about. I wasn't happy to be facing off with one guy at the faceoff line."
The rulebook actually supports the ruling --- if you assume McWilliams' slash occurred at exactly the same moment as the unsportsmanlike conduct.
In the section on simultaneous fouls (Rule 7, Section 6, Subsection b, Line 3), it notes releasing players is dealt with in Rule 7-2-d. That, in turn, reads as follow:
"For the purpose of determining when a player or players may be released from a penalty, for all time-serving penalties called on players of opposing teams from the time the flag is dropped or the whistle sounds stopping play (whichever occurs first), until the sounding of the whistle resuming play, the longest common penalty time between players of opposing teams is nonreleaseable, as is all penalty time of a shorter or equal duration."
In other words, because the common penalty time was one minute (for the unsportsmanlike conduct calls), any other penalty that was one minute or less (like the slash) was nonreleaseable.
And that's the rules interpretation, unusual as it is.
--- Patrick Stevens