The U.S. Women's National Team claimed its fifth straight gold medal at the World Championships on Sunday, but this year's victory was by far the most bizarre and controversial of the bunch. Team USA beat Finland 2-1 in a shootout, but there were plenty of dramatics along the way.
After Finland tied the game at 1-1 with about a minute and a half remaining in the second period, the game went scoreless in the third period and then headed to overtime.
Midway through the OT period, the Finns -- playing in front of their home crowd in Helsinki -- appeared to score the game-winning goal on a rebound opportunity in front of the American net. The puck hit the back of the net and officials ruled it a good goal, prompting a wild celebration from the Finnish players, coaches and fans.
But after a lengthy review, the would-be game-winner went to review and the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. An oncoming Finnish player skated into with the USA netminder Alex Rigsby and officials determined that the contact impeded the Rigsby's ability to make a play on the shot, thus leading them to take the goal off the board -- yet giving a penalty to Rigsby.
It was a confusing and controversial determination that left many stunned and looking for further explanation.
But eventually, the OT period expired and the game headed to a shootout to determine a winner. USA's Amanda Kessel and Annie Pankowski buried their opportunities in the five-round shootout, and Finland's hopes hinged on this attempt from Susanna Tapani...
Tapani attempted to go with a flashy, unique move that one might consider gutsy for the situation, but Rigsby didn't bite. With the save, the Americans secured the win to finish the tournament unbeaten and capture their fifth straight gold in the event.
However, it was clear that the Finns were not at all pleased with the way the overtime ruling was handled. While Finland wanted to file an official protest of the result with the IIHF, the team reportedly will not be able to do so.
Some clarity here: Finland women's hockey team wanted to file an official protest w/ IIHF for disallowed goal in OT that gave the U.S. World Championship gold. But, according to Finnish Hockey Fed chairman, they can not file an official protest. (H/T to @shoffren for his help)— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) April 14, 2019