Another elimination game, another loss for US hockey against their arch border rival, Canada. Canada swept both the women’s and men’s matches against the US; leading Canada’s women’s team to a gold medal, now their men will be taking on Sweden for their own gold medal. This seems to have become a common occurrence for the US team, they have been knocked out of the past three Olympics by Canada, two of those three being for the gold medal. The Canadians have won two of the past three gold medals in the Winter Olympics, but have not won outside of their home country Canada, since 1994. They will get their opportunity against the number one hockey team in the seedings on Sunday against the Swedes, which should turn out to be another match up where Canada’s defense will come to play.
The U.S. just could not sustain any offense against the incredible goaltending of Carey Price. The Canadians stifled the Americans speedy wingers and roughed them up along the boards. Jamie Benn scored the lone goal in the match up, on a redirect tip from a Jay Bouwmeester shot, that found its way past Jonathan Quick. Carey Price stopped 31 shots on goal from the US Hockey team, with Quick playing just as good; but not good enough allowing the lone goal on 37 shots. The US had multiple opportunities to at least tie the game, earning three power play opportunities to Canada’s two. Leading to once again another one goal game between the two countries, just the night before Canada’s women’s hockey team beat the US team in overtime with a game winning power play goal, which now gives the Canadians the opportunity to sweep the gold for hockey in the Sochi Olympics.
The rivalry stems deep between the two. Both countries pride themselves on how they perform on the ice, especially the northern parts of the US. Many players from each seeing each other countless times growing up playing numerous tournaments, amateur world cups, and even in college. This rivalry alone causes some of the players to lose sleep at night, one US women’s player saying she has dreamed of beating Canada every night when going to sleep. Even NHL teammates on opposing sides got a little chippy on the ice. Patrick Marleau was sent to the penalty box for holding his San Jose Sharks teammate, Joe Pavelski of the US.
The Canadians proved once again who the bigger brother was in the battle on the border. This may have been one of the last chances to see two bring their full potential to the Olympic ice, since the NHL has not yet agreed to send its players back for the extended time for the future Olympics. Canada can ill afford to feel the gold medal is already within their grasp after sweeping the Americans; the Sweden’s hockey team will also provide a heavy scoring punch from its wingers, as well as boasting one of the best goaltenders in the games. No matter the case, the Canadians will look to be the first team since the 1984 and 1988 Soviet teams, to win back to back gold medals. Canadians will look to close out the Sochi Olympics on high note hoping to tie or pass Norway for the number one spot in gold medals this year.
by Justin Huffman