A real 'mesh-mash' call

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

HALIFAX -- If it wasn't for a goal that wasn't, Canada wasn't going to have to worry about beating Finland today.

But thanks to a goal which clearly went through the mesh on the side of the net, Finland and Canada today is a game for first place in the Halifax side of the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

The winner gets to avoid playing the USA in the quarter-final. The winner will play either Latvia or Norway in the go-to-Quebec-City-for-the-medal-round or go-home game instead.

For the longest time there, despite outplaying the USA here yesterday, Finland was losing 2-0.

But then, two minutes into the third period, it happened. Ville Koistinen shot the puck into the mesh at the side of the net, watched it somehow go in, and then "sell-ebrated" like crazy.

"You guys saw it. You know it didn't go in," said Doug Shedden, the Canadian who coaches Finland.

"I don't think that is right," said Teemu Selanne, who was credited with an assist on the goal. "That's why we have video replays. It's wrong for that goal to count. How can they not see that."

UNBELIEVABLE

American coach John Tororella couldn't believe it.

"They went upstairs to look at the replay. What did they look at?" said Tortorella after a 3-2 loss he said the Americans deserved because they never had the puck all night but definitely did not deserve because of a goal which wasn't.

"I could see it from the bench when it happened. The guy upstairs, whoever he is, has a major problem with his eyes. He's got to see a doctor," said the coach who got goals from Edmonton Oiler Tom Gilbert and Boston Bruins Phil Kessel.

Shedden was delighted with the way his team played and the jam they showed in the game which had a lot of edge in a lot of different areas.

"I'm just happy our team finally played like they wanted the game. We had to grind it out and kill a lot of penalties. There was some blood and some battling and our guys were pissed off and I love that. I freaking loved our effort.

"It was just a matter of getting that first goal. I don't care if it went through the side of the net or not, we got a break. It was a matter of getting that first goal and taking the effort that was there and the heart that was there to the end of the game," said Shedden, who got a goal from Selanne and the winner from Mikko Koivu in a game in which the Finns had a 45-22 edge in shots on goal.

Tortorella said it was an education.

"I'd heard about the horror shows with European referees. I finally lived through one."

Sheddon wasn't a fan of the job the two Russian referees did either, having lost Olli Jokinen and Anssi Salmela for today's game with Canada - Jokinen for a match penalty for a highly debatable checking from behind call and Salmela for an end of game fight against David Backes of the USA after a dust-up created by Dustin Brown's attempt to decapitate Jussi Jokinen.

So it's Canada vs. Finland with the loser getting the USA?

"We've got to go in the front door. We have to earn it," said Canadian coach Ken Hitchcock after watching the Finns come back to win it.

"We have to play hard right to the end. I think it's great for us. We've been playing for top spot for two weeks and we want top spot," he said.

Hitchcock reviewed the Finland-USA game as "a feisty North American game involving lots of good players."

As for the officiating and suspensions, he laughed.

"I have no idea about those rules. Whoever is there for our game, we'll play against them."

Even though Canada struggled to beat Norway and Finland needed overtime to dispatch Norway and only won by one against Latvia, their preferable opponents are the Americans for an elimination game.

LARGE DIFFERENCE

"Obviously there's a difference between the USA and Latvia, although we only beat Latvia 2-1," said Shedden, assuming Latvia ends up in fourth after a 4-1 win over Norway yesterday, although both teams also play their final qualifying game today.

"We want to finish as high as we can. We want to see how we stack up against a great team like Canada. The Canadians don't have any weaknesses and they are flying past everybody," said the Finland coach.


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