Sochi 2014: We don’t like hockey, oh no, we love it! Canada reign supreme
Sochi 2014: Canada's deep-seated love of hockey evident in side's 3-0 final defeat of Sweden to cap a successful fortnight for the men's team
Talismanic Sidney Crosby scored a brilliant solo goal – his first of Sochi 2014, to ensure Canada retained their Olympic ice hockey title with a 3-0 win over Sweden.
Jonathan Toews in the first period and Chris Kunitz in the third, either side of Crosby’s fine effort, also put their names on the scoresheet but it was another shutout by goaltender Carey Price that laid the foundations for Canada’s successful defence of their Vancouver gold.
World class. He’s the backbone of this team and main reason why we won gold. Goaltending wins championships
Canadian forward Rick Nash
Price was as miserly as ever in the Canadian goal and astonishingly has gone eight periods since his side last conceded a goal.
“I am just thrilled,” Price said. “These guys worked obviously worked very hard and we really wanted this and did everything it took to win it.”
“It all comes down to that confidence in that team in front of me. They allowed me to see the puck.
“They cleared any junk that I left out in front of the net and all I had to worry about was making that first save.”
The gold medallists conceded just three goals in six games during the tournament, the last being Lauris Darzins’s strike for Latvia in the quarter-finals.
“World class,” was forward Rick Nash’s assessment of his teammate.
“He’s the backbone of this team and main reason why we won gold. Goaltending wins championships.”
Sweden suffered a set-back before the match had even begun when their highly-rated centre Nicklas Backstrom was withdrawn from the game despite being named in the initial match line-up.
Backstrom had violated anti-doping rules after taking the same pill he has for years to treat his sinus-related allergies. The medication contains pseudoephedrine, a stimulant and banned substance by the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
I haven’t done anything differently in the past seven years and I’ve been playing internationally all that time
“I think it affected us more than we might think. There was focus on the wrong things all the time and it doesn’t feel good,” said coach Par Marts.
“I’ve got absolutely nothing to hide,” Backstrom told a news conference. “It was shocking to me and at the same time I’m here right now and I have to deal it.
“I haven’t done anything differently in the past seven years and I’ve been playing internationally all that time.
“I was ready to play probably the biggest game of my career then two and a half hours before the game I get pulled aside.”
The Swedes still managed to come within inches of taking a shock lead after ten minutes when Gustav Nyquist’s shot slid under Price’s leg and struck a post before the goaltender snaffled the rebound.
Sweden however, soon succumbed to Canada’s pressure when Toews swiftly tipped the puck through goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s legs from Jeff Carter’s right-sided centre.
The Swedes were being smothered by Canada’s defence, resorting to bending the rules and being caught out and punished repeatedly with two-minute penalties.
Crosby had been integral to his nation’s run to the final and his goal was a trademark display of his scintillating speed over the ice.
The Pittsburgh Penguin motored away from the Swedish defence-men, dangled the puck invitingly in front of Lundqvist before rounding him and flicking it in to the net.
“We’re really proud and appreciate all the support,” said Crosby.
“We knew that there were high expectations coming in and we’re glad we could deliver.”
Left winger Kunitz wrapped up the win ten minutes into the third period, drilling the puck high into the net giving Lundqvist no chance and Canada the gold.
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