Canada Ice Hockey Gold

By: Vincenzo Ferrara

Sweden Canada Flag

Sweden Canada Flag

The last winter Olympic gold medal event is always the men’s Ice Hockey final.  On the last day, a few hours before the closing ceremony, we get the thrill and action of the fastest team sport on the planet. We were promised a game filled with passion whilst the top players in the world turned up to play Canada to take on Sweden.

Before the game, controversy took place in the locker room, as Sweden’s Nicholas Backstrom became the sixth Olympian at the games to fail a drugs test. Sweden were also missing other key players due to injury from their line up. However, Sweden have a very strong team; they currently hold the World Champions title with as many big names and highly developed players as Canada.

The last Olympic gold medal in 2010 went to Canada, after a 2-2 tie with USA went into gold goal over-time. History was made when a young Sidney Crosby managed to score a breakaway goal to win the game. Crosby, who is rated by many to be the worlds greatest player, came into Sochi boasting many records including being the youngest NHL captain and winning the National Hockey League’s most prestigious Stanley Cup. He also holds many point scoring records, leading the league in goals. However he has yet to put a goal on the board coming into the final game with only two assists.

From the moment both teams stepped onto the ice, the atmosphere was electric. Both teams were ready for action at the drop of the puck. The first period was not as action packed as first expected, with the Canadian defence being strong and not allowing the Swedes to break though. Both teams looked to be struggling to get points on the score sheet. Midway though the first, Jonathan Toews tipped in a shot to get the first goal for Team Canada.

Sidney crosby, Canada's Captain and second goal scorer

Sidney crosby, Canada’s Captain and second goal scorer

The second period began where the first had finished with both teams tightly defending their own ends. Canada not allowing Sweden to get any good close range chances. Coach Babcock had told his team to defend well and that’s what they were doing.  After chasing back, Sid ‘the kid’ Crosby got his stick in the way to take the puck from Swedish possession. Crosby, known for his speed, skill and vision, turned and skated hard down the left, the power of the Swedish team chasing him down the ice. He managed to head to the net, deaking left, fooling the goalie as he dragged the puck back to the right and slotting it past the keeper. If there was ever a greater moment for Canada’s glory boy to score this was it, putting Canada 2-0 up giving them a safety net.

At the final period, Sweden knew it was not beyond reach to win the game and Canada know they had not won it yet. With Sweden battling hard to get a goal against an almost impenetrable Canadian defence who have only let three goals past all tournament, the Swedes had a mountain of a task ahead of them.  Ten minutes left of the game saw the young Canadian player Kunitz take the puck off the Swedish defence, shooting a hard, quick released wrist shot to the top of the goal, crossbar and in. With that the game was surely over. Canada carried on denying Swedish players to get anywhere close to the Canadian goal.

Not to be over-shadowed by the forwards, the Canadian goal keeper Carey Price had a flawless tournament including three shut-outs, originally thought to be Canada’s second goalie to Roberto Luongo but this Olympics showed a new side to the keeper which will hopefully mean he will be back in four years to come.

Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden's number one goalie

Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden’s number one goalie

The medals ceremony took place, without a chance of the players leaving the ice. Swedish players eyes looked upset to only be receiving silver as expected as a hard fought match. Most upsetting was to see Sweden’s goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who had come to the tournament with high expectations of being the saviour for team Sweden if all else failed. Up until the gold medal game he had played without fault, even in the final game he played aggressively but just couldn’t cope with the Canadian forwards constantly pressuring his net.

The Canadians stood in line to receive their gold medals, each one smiling constantly throughout the ceremony. With each medal given was heard a roar from the crowds, but once the medal was given to Captain boy wonder, Sidney Crosby the stands went crazy. All hopes of the nation stood on his performance and the way he could make the team perform, his goal in the final seemed to be written into history before he had even stepped on the ice.

Canada fan

Canada fan

Sub-editor: Callum Corbett

re-watch the game click here

Crosby stats click here

more Ice Hockey  information here

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