Monday, February 28, 2011
After their failure to medal at the 2006 Olympics, there could not have been more pressure on Canada to win gold as hosts of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
The 12 teams in the tournament were divided into three groups of four teams each based on their IIHF World Rankings. Following the completion of group play, the group winners, plus the fourth ranked team, were given byes into the quarterfinals where they would await the winners of elimination games among the eight remaining teams.
Group A was won by the United States following an exciting 5-3 win for the Americans what was in doubt until the final minute before an empty net goal provided the final margin.
Hard fought Group B belonged to Russia while defending gold medalists Sweden went undefeated in Group C. Finland advanced as the fourth ranked team with 6 points in their group, the same as the Czech Republic, but earned the bye thanks to a better goal differential thanks to big wins over Belarus and Germany.
In the Elimination Round, Switzerland defeated Belarus 3-2 in overtime, the Czech Republic downed feisty Latvia 3-2, also in overtime, Slovakia beat plucky Norway 4-3 and Canada dominated Germany 8-2.
The Quarterfinals had the United States advancing with a 2-0 win over the Swiss, Finland shutout the Czechs 2-0, Slovakia upset Sweden 4-3 to end their hopes of a repeat and Canada dominated Russia 7-3.
The Semifinals paired the United States with Finland and Canada and Slovakia. In the first game, the United States streaked out to a shocking 6-0 lead a little over half way through the first period on their way to a 6-1 win and a place in the final.
Canada got two first period goals by Patrick Marleau and Brendan Morrow and then at 16:54 of the second period Ryan Getzlaf's goal gave the Canadians a 3-0 lead, which was enough to defeat the Slovaks, who scored two goals three and a half minutes apart midway through the third period to make for a tense finish. Canada was able to hold on to earn a rematch with the United States in the final with gold on the line at home and on an NHL sized ice sheet.
The dream matchup between the two North American rivals was a tense affair with both teams getting their chances to score until Jonathan Toews beat US goalie Ryan Miller on the short side to take a 1-0 lead at 12:50 of the first, the only goal of the period and the first time the United States had trailed in a game the entire tournament.
Jonathan Toews opens the scoring for Canada
The second period was more of the same, with hard hits, great saves and little scoring as the tension in the arena rose. Finally Corey Perry coming down the slot fired a loose puck past Miller for a 2-0 Canadian lead at 7:13.
Corey Perry puts Canada up by two
The Americans responded with a goal from Ryan Kesler that squeaked between Roberto Lunogo's body and arm at 12:44. The remainder of the second period was played even, as the shots on goal finished at 15-15.
Ryan Kesler's goal gets the US on the board
Again, the third period wore on as the two teams punched and counterpunched, yet both failed to yield a goal. With no penalties called, waiting for a power play proved futile. With time running out and desperation setting in, the United States pulled Miller from their goal with 1:27 remaining for an extra attacker. With time now running out on the Americans, Patrick Kane hurled the puck at the Vancouver goal. It bounced off of Lunongo and was banged in by Zach Parise with 25 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Parise's late goal puts the party on hold and gives the US hope of stealing the gold
After seven minutes of play, during which many hoped someone, anyone, would score as to avoid having the gold medal decided by a shootout, Canada was leading 6-4 in shots, Jarome Iginla passed the puck off the boards to Sidney Crosby, who had a clear path to the goal. He took a few strides before shooting the puck, which went under Miller's pads before he could close the gap, ending one of the most memorable games in the history of the sport.
Crosby beats Miller to win gold
The goal sent the arena, and all of Canada, into a delirious celebration.
Crosby begins the celebration of his golden goal
The gold medal was the eighth for Canada and their second in three tries after a 50 year drought.
Canada poses for a team picture after receiving their gold medals
Today's featured jersey is a 2010 Team Canada Sidney Crosby jersey as worn during the gold medal final in which Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal in overtime. Crosby had worn the assistant captain's "A" earlier in the tournament but for the final it was worn by Iginla and Chris Pronger.
With the ruling that countries could not carry the logos of their national organizations as their main crest, the usual Hockey Canada logo was replaced by a maple leaf which contained an intricate design full of symbols of Canadian culture and heritage, including an eagle, thunderbird, moose, beaver, maple leafs representing past gold medals and fleur-de-lis as well as a hockey player.
This jersey was a big improvement over the Nike Swift jerseys introduced in 2006 where each team wore essentially the exact same jersey only with their countries colors changed. By 2010, the designs began to diverge, with each country having it's own unique designs once again, although with certain elements shared, which is natural when they all come from the same source.
This jersey is adorned with several logos, including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic logo on the left sleeve, the controversial Hockey Canada logo on the right sleeve and finally the Canadian Olympic Committee logo on the bottom right of the back of the jersey in the location formerly occupied by the IIHF logo.
Today's video selections begin with the Top 10 plays of the tournament, followed by highlights from the gold medal final.