Women’s Ice hockey Group B competition got underway on Tuesday and led to Team Russia defeating Team Japan in a 2-1 decision. The victory for Russia granted them a berth in the quarter-finals round, but not without some controversy.
In America, NHL fans are pretty blunt about their dislike of referees. I can vouch for the amount of Philadelphia Flyers‘ game I have been to where fans were yelling, “Refs, you suck!” as opposed to cheering on the players on the ice. We are an opinionated bunch, but there is no argument that there was a very egregious call on the ice Tuesday morning in Sochi that should have not gone missed.
Russia had the lead in the first period early on, and Japan was closing in on that lead late in the period with a shot that appeared to land right on the goal line underneath goaltender Anna Prugova‘s glove. The on-ice officials called it no-goal, but the off-ice officials wanted to review it. In the NHL, this would be a given, but in Sochi, there was a huge miscommunication and the call was never reviewed. Instead the on-ice officials dropped the puck and nothing further came of the occurrence.
So, was Team Japan robbed of a victory in this officiating mishap? Perhaps not a victory per se, but by the play not going under review, it definitely hindered a game in which they fought incredibly hard. Japan went down in a fight as they only lost to the Russia by one goal, but had they been given that early goal, this game could have gone to overtime and ended with a very different result. It’s a shame really because Team Japan did play a very close game going up against Team Russia.
Team Japan is in a similar situation to Team Germany, whom they will play on Thursday, as both teams having dropped the first two games are likely to be out of the medal competition.