Canada’s men’s hockey team defeated the USA 1-0 on Friday to advance to the gold medal round against Sweden a day after Canada’s women’s team stunned the Americans to win the gold medal in overtime. The USA men’s team will play Finland for the bronze on Saturday. Canada goes for the gold on Sunday.
Americans have invaded Canada, mocked their “aboots” and “ehs,” and regarded their Northern neighbors as a 51st-state appendage. But defeat them in hockey? That’s an affront no proud Canadian can swallow.
Jamie Benn scored the only goal of the game when he redirected Jay Bouwmeester’s shot past goalie Jonathan Quick only 1:41 into the second period.
Quick kept his team in the game, and it is because of him that the game was not a blowout. The overall game was not as close as the score suggests. Canada was more powerful and applied more pressure. America never really had a great chance on goal.
The first period was fast and exciting. The USA pressured Canada goalie Carey Price with Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane and Zach Parise. Nothing, though, could penetrate Canada’s defense, which tired out the Americans. Benn’s second period goal deflated them. After that, USA appeared to sluggish. They were not slowing down and did not keep their heads up. To make matters worse, Canada dominated the neutral zone. USA could not maneuver their way around Canada.
However, the game was played magnificently. There was only one scuffle, and the penalties were not that severe. The NHL has talked many times about ways to eliminate fighting from the game, but it is met with some defiance. This game between Canada and USA could be used as an example as proof the game would survive and be entertaining without the fights. The teams were respectful of each other.
RT @mayorNHL: People may want to rethink their “Fighting is part of the game’ stance… this game is hockey at its absolute best.
– Soulless Ginger (@mchastain81) February 21, 2014
Canada could win their third goal medal in four Olympics against Sweden on Sunday.
The U.S. can have Justin Bieber, Labatt Blue, Wayne Gretzky, and other Canadian exports. The Great White North, winners of eight men’s hockey gold medals, will jealously guard their dominance of a sport that practically defines them as a people.
Follow Mary Chastain on Twitter @MChastain81.
*Breitbart’s Dan Flynn contributed to this report.