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Canada Tops USA, Will Play For Gold Against Sweden

Ben Ebert |
February 21, 2014 | 2:56 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Jamie Benn's goal was the only one needed for Canada to seal the victory. (Facebook/NHL)
Jamie Benn's goal was the only one needed for Canada to seal the victory. (Facebook/NHL)
Another four year wait begins for the players of Team USA, as they were unable to take down the Canadians yet again, this time at Bolshoy Ice Dome in the semifinal round of the 2014 Winter Olympics. It was stated in the pregame that this was a chance for the USA to gain respect; a perfect scenario to avenge what they had lost in 2010. But Canada, coming into this game perceived by many as the “underdog,” reasserted themselves as the world’s elite hockey club by shutting out the USA 1-0 and advancing to the Gold Medal game against Sweden this Sunday.

At the start, it appeared as a neck-and-neck matchup with both teams getting chances at the net. Six minutes into the first period, Team USA had a number of good looks putting traffic in front of the goal, but Canadian goalie Carey Price found a way to keep the puck out. Price maintained control throughout the game, providing the Canadian defense plenty of options with the puck. 

The American power play struggled to find any great chances, going 0-for-3 as Canada’s penalty kill showed active pressure, forcing the USA to more passing along the perimeters than getting pucks on net.

After a scoreless first, Team Canada got the first and only goal of the game just 1:41 into the second period with Jamie Benn’s perfect deflection off a Jay Bouwmeester pass. The Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Benn line was arguably the best of the game for Canada. After the win, Benn stated how he and the two Anaheim Ducks have bonded through the tournament as well as in the NHL. 

American goalie Jonathan Quick kept his team within reach the entire game, stopping 36 of 37 shots on goal and providing spectacular saves in dire situations, something he is well known for in Los Angeles. But Carey Price would get the shutout win, denying all of Team USA’s 31 shots. 

Many were expecting a tight game, and by the scoreboard it seems as though it was. However, Canada showed clear dominance throughout. Their defense pressed all game, allowing the USA forwards minimal chances to sustain pressure in the Canadian zone. A big contributor to this was Canada outnumbering with men on the puck and getting sticks consistently in the passing and shooting lanes of the USA. The Americans powered through the earlier rounds of the tournament, but forward Ryan Callahan said it best, stating “there’s no question” as to whether Canada was their most difficult opponent yet.

Canada had a lot of pressure coming into this matchup, not appearing as the favorite due to their lackluster offensive performances in the previous rounds. Yet as Sidney Crosby put it after the victory, “we always feel pressure...it’s not a bad thing.” The pressure will be even bigger this Sunday, as Canada will go for its second straight Gold medal against Sweden. The USA will play for Bronze against Finland on Saturday.

Reach Staff Writer Ben Ebert here.



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