Controversial goal helps Finland top U.S.
Finland roared back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period Sunday afternoon at the Halifax Metro Centre scoring three goals to upend the United States at the IIHF world hockey championships.
As a result, Finland are still in contention to win Group F. The Finns and Canada, both 5-0, will play on Monday afternoon to determine the group winner.
Finland's first goal in their comeback will be much talked about for the rest of the tournament. Television replays showed Ville Koistinen's slapshot entering through the outside of the net, but it was allowed to stand as a goal despite official video review.
The Americans were growing weary of the poor officiating and the Finns, and took some costly penalties that ultimately doomed them.
"It was confusing to us but we deserved our fate, we didn't deserve to win that hockey game," said U.S. coach John Tortorella. "But what the hell were they looking at?"
The play was so clearcut that even Finland's coach, former NHL player Doug Shedden, couldn't argue.
"You know it didn’t go in, but we’ll take it," said Shedden. "Sometimes you’ve got to get a little luck."
The International Ice Hockey Federation later acknowledged the mistake and said the video goal judge would not work the rest of the tournament.
Teemu Selanne soon tied the game, with Mikko Koivu scoring the winner with 3:50 left in the period. Nicklas Backstrom stopped 22 shots for the winners.
Tom Gilbert and Phil Kessel had staked the U.S. to a 2-0 lead. Robert Esche was outstanding in net for the Americans, making 42 saves.
Lee Stempniak added two assists for the U.S, who qualify for the quarter-finals on Wednesday despite the loss.
After a scoreless first, Gilbert opened the scoring 1:30 into the middle period, on a play assisted by Stempniak and Kessel.
The defenceman skated in from the blue-line and scored on a loose puck from just outside of the Finland goal crease.
Esche made a brilliant glove save on Mikko Koivu's shot from the slot, a play set up by his older brother, Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu.
The save was key as less than a minute later Kessel potted his fourth goal of the tournament with a shot over the glove of Nicklas Backstrom.
The U.S. found themselves down two men early in the third and it led to the controversial goal. On the play, Selanne fed Koistinen with a pretty cross-ice pass.
"I've heard about these horror shows as far as international refereeing. I have finally lived through one," Tortorella said. "But not even that play there, the whole game. It's just ridiculous as far as how they're calling the game when you have two pretty competitive teams willing to go toe-to-toe.
"Let the teams and players decide."
Dustin Brown soon had a chance to regain the two-goal lead on a short-handed breakaway, but was thwarted by a Backstrom poke check.
Finland took advantage of a Patrick O'Sullivan turnover to tie the game, with Selanne redirecting Saku Koivu's pass behind Esche.
Mikko Koivu scored on a scramble just one second after a penalty expired on the winning goal.
As the Finns celebrated, Adam Burish of the U.S. speared Niko Kapanen and was tossed from the game.
After the final whistle, players on the ice from both sides engaged in an extended scrum, featuring a fight between David Backes of the U.S. and Finland's Amsso Salmela.
Olli Jokinen had earlier taken a match penalty for a check from behind on Tim Gleason in the first period and will not be eligible to play Canada on Monday.
In other tournament action on Sunday, Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 5-3.
Patric Hornqvist broke a tie game with just under five minutes left and Marcus Nilson later scored his second of the game into an empty net. Anton Stralman and Mattias Weinhandl also scored, with Henrik Lundqvist making 36 saves in net.
Patrik Elias, Ales Kotalik and Tomas Fleischmann tallied for the Czech Republic. Milan Hnilicka finished with 22 saves.
Switzerland pounded Denmark 7-2 and Latvia downed Norway 4-1.
With files from the Canadian Press