Phantom goal sparks Finland's rally over U.S. Staff

5/11/2008 10:40:38 PM

A controversial goal by Ville Koistinen sparked a huge comeback as Team Finland rallied with three unanswered goals in the third period to edge the United States 3-2 in the qualifying round at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.

The win puts Finland just one point back of Canada for first place in Group F and the two teams will go head-to-head on Monday (TSN and, 3:20pm et/12:20pm pt).

With goals by Tom Gilbert and Phil Kessel and stellar goaltending by Robert Esche, the Americans had 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.

But an officiating gaffe provided plenty of momentum for Finland in the third. With a five-on-three power play, Koistinen's marker appeared to go through the side of the net. The disputed goal was reviewed and eventually allowed, despite the fact that numerous video replays showed otherwise.

"What goal? What goal?," U.S. coach John Tortorella told reporters after the game. "They go upstairs. They look at a replay. What the hell were they looking at? But we deserved our fate. We didn't deserve to win that hockey game."

After the game, the IIHF agreed that Finland's first goal entered through the side of the net and said the goal-judge was fired from the tournament.

"I've heard about these horror shows as far as international refereeing  I have finally lived through one," Tortorella added. "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." 

Teemu Selanne and Mikko Koivu added goals for Finland to seal the victory. Finland was left without one of its top six forwards when Olli Jokinen was tossed from the game after a checking from behind penalty late in the first period.