Monday, February 17, 2014, 09:11
Angry Russians level their ire at American ref
By Agence France-Presse in Sochi, Russia

Angry Russians level their ire at American ref
Russia’s Yevgeni Malkin spins away from Team USA’s Ryan McDonagh during the first period of their preliminary round ice hockey game at the Sochi Olympics on Saturday. (Jim Young / Reuters)

Russia blasted American referee Brad Meier on Saturday for disallowing a goal that would have given it a lead late in its Olympic Games hockey clash it eventually lost to the US in a shootout.

“The referee made a mistake,” said Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov following the Russians 3-2 loss to the Americans in a preliminary-round contest.

“Of course, it would have been more effective to have a different judge.”

T.J. Oshie scored four times in the shootout after a roller-coaster contest in front of a raucous crowd of 11,678 at the Bolshoi Ice Dome.

Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin insisted the goal should have counted and said US goaltender Jonathan Quick deserved a penalty for intentionally dislodging it.

“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.”

With the score tied 2-2, the Russians appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal with just under five minutes left in the third on a shot from the point by Fyodor Tyutin.

But Meier and his Swedish counterpart, Marcus Vinnerborg, disallowed the goal, apparently because the net had come off its base.

Bilyaletdinov said it was disappointing to have a call like that go against the team on its home ice at the Winter Olympics.

“If this is a mistake of the referee there are people that will find it. It is very sad the referee didn’t count it,” he said.

Asked about whether there should be more neutral referees in the tournament, Bilyaletdinov said, “We don’t appoint the referees, a board of referees appoints them, so we can only take the situation as a given.”

Quick denied moving the net and said one of the Russian players might have done it.

“I didn’t even know I did it,” Quick said. “I don’t know if it happened before the goal went in or after because a guy skated through the crease after the goal and I don’t know if he bumped it.”

Later, the International Ice Hockey Federation backed the officials’ decision.

“Upon reviewing the goal, the net had clearly been displaced prior to the puck going into the net,” said an IIHF statement.

“The IIHF referee supervisor Konstantin Komissarov confirmed that the ruling made by referees Brad Meier and Markus Vinnerborg was the correct call and that the proper procedure had been followed with regards to the video review.”