The Canadian men’s hockey team beat Ireland 5-4 in a shootout to qualify for the 2020 Olympics after the teams were tied 3-3 on aggregate in regulation time.
Ireland, has won the first game 5-3, had a two goal advantage going into the decider. They extended it with a goal from John Mckee in the sixth minute. But Canada scored twice, in 21 and 37 minutes, to get within a goal of forcing a shootout.
But, just when Ireland believed they had sealed the Olympics spot, in the 60th minute, Canada went for a referral when one of its players went down inside the circle following a stick check from Irish defender Lee Cole.
Argentinian video umpire Diego Barbas, after assessing the incident from the small range of angles available, dramatically decided to award a penalty stroke to the Canadians. after Ireland’s Lee Cole was adjudged to have infringed upon a Canadian forward.
The Irish argued, with some merit, that the decision was wrong. But the decision was made.
Canada scored, through Scott Tupper, forcing the match to go to a shoot-out.
Irish goalkeeper David Fitzgerald saved Sukhi Panesar and Keegan Pereira’s attempts, while his opposite David Carter denied Michael Robson and Shane O’Donoghue to stretch the shootout into sudden death.
On the seventh attempt, Adam Froese scored for the host after Carter thwarted John Mckee, leading to wild celebrations in the Ambleside Rutledge Field.
Ireland was furious as it felt that the last-minute penalty stroke robbed it off a place at the Olympics.
“I feel the video umpire should hang his head in shame. It (the penalty stroke) was a terrible, terrible decision in the last minute of the game,” Irish captain Jonathan Bell told the reporters after the match.