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United States Upsets Canada in Olympic Hockey

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In a nail-biting hockey performance, Team USA defeated Canada 5-3 at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. With this win the US qualifies for the quarterfinals, while Canada must win in the next round against Germany to advance.

Going into the game, Canada was highly favored to win. Both teams boasted a complete lineup of NHL players making this an NHL all-star matchup, but Canada has beaten the US in 10 of the previous 15 games and had not lost in Olympic hockey play since 1960.

While hockey is a team sport and many players for the US put forth tremendous effort, this game goes to USA goalie Ryan Miller. Canada outshot the US 45-22, with 14 of those in the third period. With just minutes left in the third the Canadian team sent a flurry of shots towards Miller. The puck flew faster than the average eye could follow, and the US could not get the puck down the ice to give the goalie a breather. With lightning speed, Miller twisted and turned, sacrificing his body for block after block. Miller turned in an amazing goalie performance.

Blocking the goal is not enough; Team USA also needed to score, and led by defenseman Brian Rafalski, they did. He scored two goals and an assist. His first goal came just 41 seconds into the game, and he scored again approximately nine minutes later. With the score tied at 2-2 late in the second period Chris Drury scored to put the US up by one going into the third period. With an assist from Rafalski, Jamie Langenbrunner deflected in a goal in the third to give the US a two-goal advantage. Canada’s Sidney Crosby added a power play score to bring the Canadians within one goal. Ryan Kesler sealed the game with an empty net goal late in the third, which quieted the mostly Canadian crowd. They sat stunned as the hometown favorite lost.

United States, Russia, Sweden, and Finland are guaranteed have already qualified for the quarterfinals. Even though Finland lost to Sweden in a late game last night 3-0, they have more points than the Canadian and Czech Republic teams. The remaining eight will need to play a single elimination round to make the quarterfinals. The elimination round will be played on Tuesday, and the quarterfinals will begin on Wednesday.

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About Bruce G. Smith

I'm a part time writer with a few articles published here and there. In addition to writing, I'm into nature and architectural photography.
  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew. T. Sussman

    Hell of a game. Probably MSNBCHD’s highest ratings in history. And not just because USA won: both teams were skating at a cheetah’s pace and like you mentioned, barrages of shots on goal would come out of nowhere. If all NHL games were like this they would not have ratings issues.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Canadians looked sluggish to me, believe it or not. The only real mobility Canada had from the back end was their best player all game, Drew Doughty, and the veterans (Pronger and Niedermayer) just didn’t shape up well enough against Rafalski.

    Sure, it was a fun game to watch.

    But it was also an agonizing one with Brodeur’s countless puck-handling mistakes and the team’s general lethargy. Canada only moved the puck well in spurts, whereas America’s youngsters pretty much dominated in every area (see Kesler outhustling Perry for the empty netter as key evidence here).

  • Deano

    Agree with you Jordan. Brodeur’s occasional aimless wanderings around with the puck seemed destined for disaster (why he can’t just play the damn thing is beyond me..).

    Ryan Miller kept the US in the game – anyone less would have probably succumbed as Canada didn’t seem to have any real problems getting in to take shots. The US defence was adequate at best but Miller frankly should be set on a plinth for his performance!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Wasn’t the US goalie the key to American victory?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s the Olympic spirit, Sussman. I no longer watch NHL, but Olympic hockey has always been exciting.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Just like Davis Cup matches, I suppose.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Wasn’t the US goalie the key to American victory?

    I’m surprised anybody ever scores in hockey, since the goalies all seem to wear protective gear which is the exact shape and size of the goal and don’t stray from the net the entire game.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Four words: Your skates are untied.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, the way I see scoring on hockey is the same way as scoring in football.

    Always an element of surprise.

    Just wonder. What’s the percentage of headers of the total goals?

    One way or another, I think it’s the deadliest shot.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    in hockey . . .

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Just wonder. What’s the percentage of headers of the total goals?

    I don’t think it’s that high. A good header is indeed difficult for a goalkeeper to deal with, but it’s also very hard to direct one goalwards in a crowded penalty area, which is almost always going to be the case in situations where you might get that opportunity.

    The majority of goals, nowadays, come from set pieces – free kicks, corners and penalties – rather than from open play.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “Canada was highly favored to win.”

    I heard that and get favored by why highly? both teams were filled with NHL players regardless of their age. I too was surprised by some of Brodeur’s decisions. I am guessing Luongo will be back for the next game.

    “The puck flew faster than the average eye could follow”

    Did it make you long for FOX’s red trail?

    Looking forward to a repeat of ’98 where a Sabres goalie led his team to gold

  • http://carpebiblio.blogspot.com Bruce Smith

    Please, not the fox red trail, but I would like to see more television coverage of NHL.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    both teams were filled with NHL players regardless of their age.

    Yes, but Canada had a huge advantage as regards strength in depth. If I’m not mistaken, there are in fact only 17 Canadian citizens who are not professional hockey players. I’m pretty sure that 100% of our local minor league team is Canadian, anyway.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How many on the Russian team are active NHL players? Also, are any of the Sharks are represented?

    I tried to google about the composition of the Olympic national teams in terms of NHL players participation, but I got nowhere.

    Of course, my hockey years goes back to the times when the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs were dominant NHL teams (remember Ferguson), not to mention the Black Hawks with Bobby Hull and Detroit with Gordie Howe family, Derek Sanderson and the Esposito brothers, and the immemorable Bobby Orr – before such hockey greats as Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

    So I’m rather ignorant in these matters. Please inform me.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    All but eight Russian players if I read it right. I googled “russian hockey team 2010 olympics” and got quite a number of responses.

    I see eight Sharks have played: Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton, Douglas Murray, Thomas Greiss, Evgeni Nabokov

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It looks then like we’re going to have a hell of a final, not to mention all the games in between,