As the final horn sounded Sunday to close out a fantastic, last minute win for the Syracuse Orange, flags flew and bodies were shoved on both sides.
As the seconds wained down, Virginia Cavaliers goalie Alex Rode caught a pass around the goal line. As Rode caught the pass and wound up to throw it down field Nate Solomon ran towards him from the restraining line full speed and hit Rode approximately a second after time expired. Virginia’s Zach Ambrosino apparently gave Solomon a shove and both teams got involved.
Both Ambrosino and Solomon were ejected for the antics and both will be suspended for their team’s next game barring the NCAA overturning its own rule.
It was the second time in the game that Solomon had taken a shot at Rode. Right around the 9:25 mark in the second period Rode made a save on Syracuse and came out of the crease behind the goal. Solomon pursued Rode who flipped it to a teammate. Following the pass Solomon hit him from behind sending him to the ground. While Rode looked like he flopped a bit it was still a good shove. A flag was thrown but Dox Aitken ended up with a goal to wipe out the penalty.
The first hit was 100% a penalty. The second was about the timing of the hit and the length that Solomon ran to take the hit on Rode. I don’t think the placement of the hit was penalty worthy and I didn’t think it was a late hit in terms of the release of the ball.
I’ve heard repeatedly that the second hit was unnecessary, and I believe that’s what the referees called it. While I agree the refs made the right call, anyone arguing that you shouldn’t be hitting a goalie or attacking one outside of the crease is dead wrong.
Goalies are players too. Let’s not pretend that they are fragile or need extra protection. They wear a chest protector, helmet, gloves, and
hopefully a cup and stand there defending a net from 90-plus mile per hour shots. They are the toughest guys on the field, both mentally and physically. But the goalies are not just defensive pieces. Most goalies have great field vision and excellent passing abilities. They can start an offensive possession in a heartbeat from the other side of the field.
NCAA rules explain that if a player releases a shot prior to the expiration of the clock and the ball crosses the plane of the goal than it is counted as a goal. Keeping this in mind, if Madonna was out of position and Rode was able to get that ball off prior to the end of the game, theoretically he could score. This is exactly what happened in 2017 when Evan Molloy scored on Colgate with no time on the clock. So with a one goal advantage I absolutely want my attack contesting that throw from Rode, but you have to be conscious of the horn.
At the end of the day however, both UVA and SU will most likely have two positions each to fill. The Cavaliers will be without Ambrosino and the Hoos have still not released any information about Ryan Conrad who suffered a knee injury during the game, but it looked bad. The good news for Virginia is they take on Manhattan and Stony Brook in its next two games. The Orange are not so lucky as Johns Hopkins is up next. SU will not have Solomon against the Jays this weekend and will most likely not have long pole Jared Fernandez who went down with an injury. I would think the likely fill in at attack will be junior Brad Voigt.