SOCHI: Russian media on Sunday said the Olympic host nation was “robbed” of a win in their hockey clash with the United States while an outspoken politician described the American triumph as a “stolen victory”.
With the score tied 2-2 in Saturday’s preliminary round fixture, Fyodor Tyutin found the net for Russia with just under five minutes left.
But American referee Brad Meier and his Swedish counterpart Marcus Vinnerborg disallowed the goal, even though goaltender Jonathan Quick appeared to have knocked the net out of place with his skate.
T.J. Oshie scored four goals in the shootout to lift the Americans to a 3-2 win in a nail-biting contest marking the latest chapter of the two giants’ historic rivalry.
“Russia was robbed of victory in normal time,” the correspondent for Sovietsky Sport said. “And no-one is going to convince me of the opposite.
“Yes, we are not playing well in the powerplay. Yes, we were twice saved by the magician (Pavel) Datsyuk. But we had beaten the Americans in the 55th minute.”
The outspoken head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Alexei Pushkov, went on a Twitter tirade.
“How can a referee from the US preside over the match with the US. The puck was in the goal! How pathetic! Fraud right in the eyes of the whole world! Disgusting!
“This is a stolen victory. Why was a US referee installed in this match and not a referee from Russia?”
But President Vladimir Putin, who was at the game, refused to be drawn into the controversy over the disallowed goal.
“Sport is sport. We will see,” Putin said in comments posted on the Kremlin website. “I think the team played very well. And in my opinion had even more class.
“We will see. The main games are still ahead so we wish them well.”
Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin said immediately after the game that Quick should have been given a penalty for knocking the net off its moorings.
“It was definitely a goal. The goalie touched the net so that the net moved,” Ovechkin said. “The referee had to see it. He should have given him two minutes.”
But the Russian Sport Express newspaper said that at this stage of the tournament the most important thing was that it was a “miracle” game.
“Say thanks to your mum and dad that you were born at the right time so you could see this game,” Sport Express said.
“And say thanks to your health you got through it without a heart attack.
“And once again thanks to everyone — to the Americans who gave us a miracle match, to the fans for keeping the Americans in check and pushing our guts forwards for 65 minutes.”