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Beauts' Pfalzer gets assist in US controversial gold medal win over Finland

Team USA won its fifth straight gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship on Sunday with a 2-1 shootout victory over Finland, but it didn’t come without controversy.

The Finns, who upset Canada on Saturday, pushed the U.S. to the limit and had appeared to win the game in overtime until the potential winning goal was overturned.

According to multiple reports, after U.S. goaltender Alex Rigsby made a stop on Finland’s Jenni Hiirikoski, forward Petra Nieminen gathered the rebound and scored at 11:33 of overtime and sent the Metro Areena crowd in Espoo, Finland, into a frenzy.

The Finns, who lost to the Americans 6-2 in the first game of group play on April 4, were celebrating what they thought was their first world championship until officials overturned the goal after a 12-minute review.

Officials assessed a tripping penalty to Rigsby, who made 26 saves before the shootout. Under normal circumstances, a delayed penalty would allow play to continue until a member of the offending team gained control of the puck or a goal is scored by the opposition, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday.

No goals were scored in the overtime period after play resumed, sending the game to a shootout.

Amanda Kessel and Annie Pankowski scored in the shootout against Finland’s Noora Raty, who made 50 saves in regulation and overtime. Pankowski scored the Americans’ only goal in regulation in the second period, and Susanna Tapani answered 1:43 later for Finland.

“Obviously that was such an exciting game for them to take us to a shootout,” Rigsby told Lucas Aykroyd of “Props to Noora. She played an unbelievable game. I think it’s really great for the sport as well, for us to be able to play against Finland and for them to come out and get a silver medal here in their home country.”

Buffalo native Emily Pfalzer of the Beauts assisted on Pankowski’s goal in the second period and played 29 minutes and 56 seconds on

Hayley Scamurra of Williamsville and the Beauts had three shots on goal in 6:47 of ice time.

Dani Cameranesi of the Beauts registered four shots and drew a 2-minute minor penalty in her 20:38 on the ice.

Rigsby denied Michelle Karvinen, Ronja Savolainen, Nieminen and Tapani in the shootout to extend the Americans’ championship streak.

Canada routed Russia 7-0 in the bronze-medal game.

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