Lacrosse goal, controversy highlight U.S.-Canada Hlinka Gretzky Cup semifinal

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The Hlinka Gretzky Cup semifinal between the U.S. and Canada Friday night featured a jaw-dropping highlight and a jaw-dropping, game-altering decision.

The great highlight came off the stick of American forward Aaron Huglen, who pulled off the lacrosse/air hook/Michigan/Mike Legg/Bill Armstrong move to regain the lead early in the first period.

Now for the controversy.

Dylan Cozens tied the game for Canada with under a second to play in the third period, but it appeared that the clock flashed 0:00, which should have allowed the U.S. to advance. The officials deemed it a good goal, and because of a pre-tournament agreement there was no video review available.

“Prior to the competition, at the directorate meeting, it was decided there would be no video review because the three venues being used don’t all have that capacity,” said Hockey Canada president and CEO Tom Renney via the Canadian Press. “In the best interest of consistency and fairness throughout all three venues, it was decided by all teams — and signed off on — that the officials on the ice would make that call, as they did tonight. I feel for everyone — for our kids too. They know what happened.”

Earlier in the game U.S. forward Nick Robertson’s shot went in and out without it being deemed it a goal. Play went on and the officials discussed it at the next stoppage before determining that it indeed counted. The Americans couldn’t get the same luck in the dying moments of the third period.

“It’s hard for the guys, they battled valiantly. I think they deserved better,” said U.S. head coach Cory Laylin. “I’m proud of how they handled it, it’s such an emotional time.”

The game would move to overtime where Josh Williams would score 1:44 into the extra period to send the Canadians to Saturday’s gold medal game against Sweden.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.