No one questions whether it was the winning goal. The question is: Was it a goal to begin with?
The play up for debate developed on the right side of United Sates goaltender Chanda Gunn. After a flurry of chances, a flurry of close calls, Canadian forward Jayna Hefford grabbed a loose puck near the post and attempted to jam it over the goal line. Gunn made the initial save, but Hefford took one final swipe at the loose puck before spinning out of the U.S. crease in celebration.
Did the puck cross the line, though? The goal judge didn't think so, the red light didn't come on. All the angles shown on the TSN broadcast certainly weren't conclusive, either.
'I SAVED IT'
"I saved it," Gunn said after her team lost the gold medal final of the World Women's Hockey Championships 5-1 to Canada last night.
"It was underneath me when the whistle was blown...that's all I can say. It didn't cross the line as far as I could see, and again, I don't see everything. It's an occupational hazard of being a goaltender -- you don't see everything."
British referee Joy Tottman seemed to think Gunn -- who made 29 saves -- had the puck, too. As Canada celebrated their second score, she made no signal toward the net that it was a goal, instead electing to head over to the penalty box area and let the eyes of the IIHF review booth make the call and take her off the hook.
They saw the puck cross the line, and Canada was in control of a tight game at the 11:33 mark of the second period and on their way to their ninth world title.
"They (IIHF) needs to figure something out," said U.S. forward Natalie Darwitz, unhappy with the officiating the entire night.
"Very questionable and it's frustrating as a player being out there.. It needs to improve, bottom line. The game should be in the athletes' hands and it wasn't.
"If that doesn't count, it's still a 1-0 game. That took a little wind out of our sails. It has to be inconclusive that it went over the line. We couldn't see it on the Jumbotron. I don't know what was going through their heads."
Gunn, visibly upset but keeping a stiff upper lip as the media swarmed her, is already looking forward to the next chance to play for gold.
"Coach (Mark) Johnson just told us a story about Wayne Gretzky and one year he was playing for the Oilers and he walked by the locker room of the Islanders right after they had lost the Stanley Cup final and he expected to see a bunch of celebrating and whatever," she said post game. "The guys in the room were all sitting around with ice packs and that's when Gretzky realized ... he thought he gave his all, (but) he didn't. He put that to work that summer and his team won the next two Stanley Cups.
"That's where we're at right now."
Voted on by the tournament directorate, which is made up from one member of each of the nine participating teams:
- Top Goaltender: Noora Raty, Finland
- Top Defenceman: Molly Engstrom, USA
- Top Forward: Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada
- Goaltender: Kim St-Pierre, Canada
- Defenceman: Delaney Collins, Canada; Angela Ruggiero, Canada
- Forwards: Natalie Darwitz, USA, Krissy Wendell, USA, Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada
- Most Valuable Player: Wickenheiser