In a game that saw Sweden completely shut out, Canadian men are golden again. Bars across the nation went crazy as the ending seconds of the game ticked away, showing echoes of New Year’s Eve as Team Canada’s men’s hockey team shut down the Swedish men’s squad.
There were hockey breakfast parties hosted by families and Facebook came alive with “GO CANADA GO” and #WeAreWinter trending on both Facebook and Twitter. Captain Sidney Crosby, goalie Carey Price and left winger Chris Kunitz, who was a controversial roster pick for the team, were the three stars of the game for Canada, with Kunitz slamming home the final goal at 9:05 in the third period. Kunitz was chosen for the roster for his natural chemistry with Crosby; the two are Pittsburgh Penguin teammates. When the final few seconds of the game ticked away, Canadian citizens everywhere broke into cheers.
The win also marked Price’s second shutout of the Olympic tournament. The goalie, who plays with the Montreal Canadiens, was also named the top goaltender for the Olympics. The honor should come as no surprise for the British Columbia native, as he only sacrificed three goals in five games during the Olympic tournament. The win also marks the first time since Canada won back-to-back gold since sending NHL players to the Olympics in 1998. The last time Canadian men achieved such a feat, it was in 1948 and 1952.
The Canadian men are golden again also because 11 of the players on Team Canada are enjoying the feel of Olympic gold around their necks for the second time. Backup goaltender Roberto Luongo, Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Rick Nash, Ryan Getzlaf, Drew Doughty, Corey Perry, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber, Patrick Marleau and Patrice Bergeron are all second-time Olympians for Canada.
Martin St. Louis was also a new face to the games, replacing the injured Steven Stamkos. Stamkos had originally been on the roster to go but doctors determined that the Tampa Bay Lightning center hadn’t healed enough from a broken leg. New York Islanders captain Johnathan Tavares was out of the Olympics and the rest of the NHL season as a result of a knee injury sustained in Canada’s game against Latvia.
Both Sweden and Canada had gone undefeated in the tournament, though Canada seemed to struggle throughout while Sweden seemed to take each game in stride. Canada’s win is the first time a team has gone undefeated throughout the men’s hockey tournament since 1984’s Sarajevo games, when the Soviet Union swept the tournament.
Interestingly enough, neither Toews nor Crosby – two of the best players through the first five games – had scored a single goal throughout the first five games of the tournament. Team Canada’s coach Mike Babcock was basically unconcerned about their performance, assuring reporters that his stars would come through, though he hoped that they wouldn’t “run out of time”.
Toews and Crosby’s ears must have been burning during this interview because they came through in a big way for Team Canada, scoring the first two goals of the gold medal game. Coincidentally, Toews also scored the first goal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Canadian men are golden again because of the efforts of Kunitz, Toews, and Crosby, in addition to stellar teamwork all around.
By Christina St-Jean