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SportWomen's World Championship 2019: USA wins gold after controversial OT decision denies Finland

04:40  15 april  2019
04:40  15 april  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Women's World Championship 2019: USA wins gold after controversial OT decision denies Finland© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

Team USA won its fifth straight gold medal at the IIHF Women's World Championship on Sunday, but controversy reigned in the final moments.

The Americans were taken to the limit by host country Finland, which had already shocked the hockey world by advancing to the final after upsetting Canada a day earlier. The game was knotted 1-1 through regulation time, meaning overtime would be required. It was in the extra period where things went completely awry, with the Finns seemingly robbed of a winning goal.

After US goaltender Alex Rigsby made a stop on Finland captain Jenni Hiirikoski, forward Petra Nieminen stuffed home the rebound and sent the Espoo Metro Areena crowd into raptures.

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The Finns celebrated what they thought was their first-ever World Championship title, but after a 12-minute review the officials overturned the goal.

Bizarrely, it was Rigsby who was assessed a penalty on the play, with the American goalie given a tripping infraction. In normal circumstances, a delayed penalty would allow play to continue until a member of the offending team gained control of the puck or a goal is scoring by the opposition, but that wasn't the case on Sunday.

Instead, the penalty to Rigsby nullified Nieminen's goal and play resumed. No other goals were scored in the overtime period, sending the game to a shootout.

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The Americans scored on their first two attempts and held on to win the shootout 2-1, clinching the gold medal.

Needless to say, the disallowed overtime goal remained the primary talking point well after the American celebrations had subsided. Even a former member of Team USA couldn't understand the ruling, along with other big names from the hockey world.

The game that should have been a celebration of women's hockey was instead shrouded in controversy.

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