Canada retained their Winter Olympic ice hockey title with a convincing 3-0
win over Sweden at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi.
Goals from Jonathan Toews, captain Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz made it
three gold medals in the last four Olympics for the Canadians, thus
polishing their credentials as the world’s top hockey nation.
However, Mike Babcock’s side would surely have expected more of a game from
their opponents although they started much the busier team against a
highly-fancied Canada team who had beaten traditional rivals USA 1-0 in the
When Carl Hagelin struck the post before Canadian netminder Carey Price
gratefully grasped at the puck to end the danger, it looked like the Swedes
were in the mood to cause an upset.
However, Canada slowly asserted themselves and Patrice Bergeron also hit the
upright before they edged in front.
After 12 minutes and 55 seconds of the first period, Toews, the 25-year-old
Chicago Blackhawks captain, sneaked them ahead following an assist from Jeff
Carter and they may have added a second only for Swedish goaltender Henrik
Lundqvist to foil Matt Duchene.
Sweden’s Jonathan Ericsson had a two-minute spell in the sin bin for holding
an opponent with Kunitz also sidelined for the same time for high sticking
but it was a mostly unremarkable first period.
With Kunitz still serving some of his punishment at the start of the second
period, Sweden swarmed around the Canadian goal but when parity of numbers
was restored Canada were back on top
Sweden’s Jakob Silfverberg earned himself a two-minute penalty for delaying
the game but Babcock’s men remained imposing even if the statistics
suggested a more even encounter.
There was no surprise when national hero Crosby, who grabbed the gold-medal
winning goal in a unforgettable sudden-death final victory over the USA in
Vancouver, 2010, made it 2-0, racing clear on the break before beating
Lundqvist with an unstoppable shot.
When Sweden’s Patrik Berglund had to sit out two minutes for boarding, it
hampered their chances of getting back into the game and they faced a
fraught final period which quickly became stretched.
It always looked more likely Sweden would lose a third than get back in to the
game and indeed Kunitz flashed the puck past Lundqvist to seal the deserved
win for Canada.