An update on the unusual finish for the Snakes and Knoxville last night...
Thanks to Scott Brand, supervisor of officials and rule book guru, for the quick call back to clarify what rules governed last night's game-winning goal by Sam Bowles.
First of all, it definitely depends on who knocks the net off its moorings, an offensive or defensive player. Also, intent matters. Was the action deliberate? All questions factored in as referee Stephen Thomson makes an instantaneous decision.
If the offensive team (in this case, the Snakes) knocks the net off, play stops and the faceoff is moved outside the zone. Not what happened last night...
Remember, Sam and Jordan Braid were coming in two-on-one. The Knoxville defenseman deliberately knocked the net off, so play continued. At this point, when Sammy fires the puck and it goes it, Thomson has two options: goal or penalty shot because the game is in OT. If you saw the broadcast, you know that Thomson immediately and emphatically signaled GOAL. It was the right call.
Another rule that governs the net being knocked off: if the puck is going in anyway, it's a goal. So this was a good goal all the way around. Good, if somewhat unconventional.
It's a judgement call, like so many that Thomson and his fellow refs make every night. In this case, a supervisor of officials was present. He backed up the call and said it was absolutely correct. Scott also talked to the linesmen who confirmed what Thomson saw.
Last night I wrote that it seemed to me that Thomson was in great position to see what happened. As it turns out, he was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Ya'all know I occasionally criticize refs for making calls in which they had insufficient knowledge of the rules or were horribly out of position. This is not the case here.
Good job, Stephen Thomson, though I'm sure few folks in Knoxville would concur.
A secondary issue in Knoxville is its failure to have sturdier posts to anchor the net. Marsh pegs that the Snake Pit and other facilities have are not required in the SPHL. Knoxville has little metal spikes that are chiseled into the ice and VERY easily dislodged.
It's a very outdated system, one driven by economics. To install deeper holes into which to put marsh pegs would cost money that some teams don't want to spend. Knoxville and other teams can use the flimsy spikes to their advantage, but have to pay the price when things go in favor of the visitors.
Like last night.