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USA: 5, Canada: 3 — America knocks off northern neighbors in Olympic Hockey for first time since 1960

Posted by RichieZ23 on February 21, 2010

I’m usually not too avid of a hockey-watcher, or much of a hockey fan in general, but when it’s for national pride and it’s an all-around great game, it’s next to impossible not to be interested.

Lately it has seemed whenever I do take the time to sit down and watch a game, the game turns out to be fantastic.  The last time I watched more than a period of hockey was game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals this past June.  Every single possession mattered, and every slap of the puck left you on the edge of your seat.  Sid the Kid and the Pittsburgh Penguins eventually defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in some of the best hockey I’d ever seen.

What A Game

From the start, the USA-Canada game was just as good, if not better.  While the United States was 0-5-1 in their last six meetings with their northern neighbors with their last Olympic win against Canada in 1960, this time was different.

I inexplicably missed the first goal that USA scored, as it was just  41 seconds into the game, and I was frantically trying to find the channel that the game was on, as for whatever reason, NBC decided to air figure skating instead, and the game ended up being on MSNBC (in non-HD mind you.)

America came out feisty and was going hard after every loose puck on both sides of the ice.  It took them out of position at times, and Canada tied the game at one.  America answered 22 seconds after the Canada score with Brian Rafalski scoring yet another goal, this time taking it straight up center ice after having the puck ricochet off Martin Brodeur’s swinging stick as he tried to clear the puck in mid-air.

The second period had Canada matching the American’s intensity from the first period, and it was obvious.  The puck stayed down in the American’s side for far too long, and USA had problems clearing the puck from the boards.  Canada would tie the game at two, and their defense didn’t allow America too many opportunities for shots on goal.  Canada outshot USA 45-23 for the game, but USA goalie Ryan Miller was spectacular the whole evening.

However America would eventually tie the game, as Brodeur was caught out of position in desperation mode after a slapshot from Rafalski gave USA several rebounds near the net that Broder could not stop.

The third period was amazing, as USA held a slight 3-2 advantage early on.  It was very nerve-wracking as Canada was seemingly in USA territory much of the third period, as USA again had trouble clearing pucks off the boards at times.  Miller did a fantastic job in keeping Canada out of the net the majority of the night, because if it weren’t for the goal-keeping of Miller, there’s no way America wins that match, regardless of Rafalski’s near hat-trick.

Speaking of which, the last goal he had was an absolute laser.  With just seconds left on an American power-play, he absolutely drilled a slapshot stickside and to the right, bouncing off the goalie’s stick into the net.  Rafalski along with Miller won this game for the Americans as both men played lights-out on the biggest stage.

While Canada did score off a rebound near the net to make it 4-3 with just 3:09 remaining, with a pulled goalie Canada was unable to stop America to get a poke-in goal on an empty net with just seconds remaining, giving USA the 5-3 lead and victory over the heavily favored Canadians.

Potential For Gold

Not only did America win the game beating their rivals, but with Sweeden defeating Finland later on, the win gives USA the number one seed for the rest of the tournament and a bye on Tuesday, playing the winner of the Switzerland-Belarus play-in game.

A gold medal in hockey is within the realm of possibility folks, something that has never happened before

If hockey games are going to be like this, I’m going to have to start watching far more often.


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