USA Tops Canada 5-3!

The matchup between the United States and Canada in Men’s Hockey was one of the most anticipated contests of this 2010 Winter Olympics and those who watched the two teams battle it out saw an instant classic. While it seemed that Canada was the odds-on favorite, the United States managed to pull off a 5-3 victory in Vancouver on Sunday evening. Thewin came 30 years after the US’s Miracle On Ice victory in Lake Placid.

Going into this game, the Americans were greeted with a mixed reaction during warmups as there were boos mixed in with cheers. Despite being booed partially by a crowd that was dominated with Canadians, the United States took the momentum early on and maintained it.

In the first period, the United States managed to take an early lead with a goal by Bryan Rafalski just :41 into the game past Canadian starting goaltender Martin Brodeur. Despite Canaa tying the game with a goal by Jordan Staal, Rafalski would strike again to give the United States a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.

Canada would tie the knot again in this game with a Dany Heatley goal minutes into the second period but that would be the last time the Canadians would be tied with the Americans for the rest of the game.

A Chris Drury goal in the second period and a powerplay deflection from Jamie Langenbrunner would give the Americans a 4-2 lead midway through the third period. Canada would come within one goal late in third period after a pass from Rick Nash to Sidney Crosby slipped past US goaltender Ryan Miller to make it a 4-3 American lead.

Despite outshooting the Americans in the third period and having several faceoffs in their offensive zone, the Canadians failed to tie the game within the final minutes of play as Ryan Kesler would put in an empty net goal to seal the 5-3 victory for the United States.

The United States was outshot 45-22 in this game but the hero of the night has to go to goaltender Ryan Miller. While getting pummeled with shots and traffic in front of the net, Miller managed to make incredible saves against Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby, and several others to help the United States earn the victory. Miller turned away several shots that were inches away from going in and had lots of defensive help in front of him.

The Canadians may have had the edge going into this game but slowed down and could not get the momentum needed after Rafalski’s goal in the first period. The United States early lead helped quiet the Canadian crowd down a bit and surprised the Canadian team. Canada did manage to tie the game up a couple of times but the Americans were well coached and determined that they could win this game on Canadian home ice.

The Americans limited turnovers and did not give up odd-man rushes like they had in previous games and that proved to be a key factor in this hockey game. In game against Norway and Switzerland, the United States turned over the puck numerous times and gave up several odd man rushes but in their game against Canada, they managed to limit both turnovers and giving up the puck in neutral ice. That prevented the Canadians from closing in too close on Miller at certain times and helped the Americans maintain the lead for the entire game.

Despite the loss, this game will be a lesson and a wakeup call for the Canadian team. This Canadian team is well favored but in the Olympics, they learned tonight that it can be anybody’s tournament. The pressure might but on but the Canadians had a loud crowd behind them, some of the best young talent in the game and one of the best goaltenders in the world playing for them and still could not get the victory. This loss might be hard for the Canadians to take but this loss could serve as a wakeup call to them and they will still be a dangerous team to play in this tournament.

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~ by jeffrsabo on February 22, 2010.

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