International Tournaments

Canada Edges USA 1-0 To Play For Gold

By Andy Graziano

It was not a classic, nor was it packed with exhilarating offensive hockey.

At the end of the day, purists who love outstanding defensive play will be thrilled with how Team Canada handled the United States today in taking a 1-0 decision to advance to Sunday’s gold medal game against Sweden.

The US could never get going and really did not look threatening all game long against Carey Price, who might not ever see an easier game with stakes so high. 31 saves is ‘kind’ given the lack of quality that many of them were.

But that is a credit to a stout defense that included the likes of Drew Doughty, Alex PietrangeloJay BouwmeesterShea Weber and others. They did a great job in collapsing in the low slot and never allowing anything remotely to enter the high scoring zones.

Up front, Sidney Crosby was dominating in the offensive zone and created problems all night long for a team used to possessing the puck this tournament and not chasing it. Jamie Benn scored the only goal when he re-directed a pass from Bouwmeester early in the second period.

On the American side of the ledger, Jonathan Quick was amazing in shutting down 36 of 37 Canada shot attempts. It seemed that head coach Dan Blysma might have been a little slow in making the necessary adjustments needed to awaken the offense. Patrick Kane and Zac Parise had another quiet performance and have not really shined this Olympics to lead the US scoring machine.

Sunday will feature Team Sweden taking on Team Canada for the gold medal in ice hockey at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. If Henrik Lundqvist continues to play at the level he has since arriving in Russia, it could surely be a battle of wills almost like this afternoon was.

The Americans will be right back in action tomorrow as they take on Team Finland for the bronze medal.