In a hotly contested rematch of the thrilling 2010 Vancouver Olympic Gold Medal Game between Canada and the United States, the thrills were a tad more subdued, as Team Canada’s shutdown defence resulted in a 1-0 victory that will send Canada to the Gold Medal Game, to look for consecutive Olympic Golds, and to successfully retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
Those who were expecting a recreation of the Vancouver final four years earlier would have been sadly mistaken – while that game featured both teams flying out the gate with offensive rushes, this game was much more subdued, with Canada implmeneting their shutdown defensive style that had won them their group and advanced them to the Semifinals.
Both Carey Price and Jonathan Quick were extremely sharp in net, turning away 11 and 16 shots, respectively, in the first 20 minutes. But a harmless looking point shot from Jay Bouwmeester early in the second, redirected by Jamie Benn in front of the net, snapped by Quick and put Team Canada ahead 1-0. And not for lack of trying, as Canada and the U.S. were nearly identical in offensive output for the rest of the game, and nearly even in shots (21 to 20), but the Americans were unable to solve Price.
Time and time again, if Team USA did manage to breach the Canadian defensive corps, there was Price, robbing the likes of John Carlson and Paul Stastny en route to the victory. While it was certainly not as exciting as the Gold Medal Games in Vancouver or Salt Lake City in 2002, the U.S. still met their Olympic end at the hands of Team Canada, who successfully rendered U.S. snipers Zach Parise, Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane largely useless.
With the win, Canada wins its second IHLC title defence since winning the International Hockey Lineal Championship from Finland at the end of group play on February 16, and defending it against Latvia on February 19. This is Canada’s first IHLC win over the U.S. since the 2011 World Championships, their 49th IHLC game against Team USA, and their first match since losing the IHLC to the US the previous year at the Worlds in Helsinki. Canada, in its 58th reign as IHLC champions, will now bring the IHLC to the Gold Medal Game to face Sweden, ensuring that the winner will unify the Gold Medal and IHLC for the seventh consecutive Olympics.
10:53 – PEN – Suter, holding
15:58 – PEN – Marleau, holding
21:41 – GOAL – Benn (Bouwmeester)
23:16 – PEN – Getzlaf, high sticking
35:23 – PEN – Kunitz, slashing
49:56 – PEN – Kessel, hooking
W: Price (31-31)
L: Quick (36-37)
SHOTS ON GOAL
16+12+9 = 37
11+11+9 = 31
Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price. Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Shea Weber (A). Forwards: Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby (C), Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Martin St-Louis, Jonathan Toews (A).
Goaltenders: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick. Defence: John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter (A). Forwards: David Backes, Dustin Brown (A), Ryan Callahan, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Zach Parise (C), Joe Pavelski, Paul Stastny, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler.