The better team won in Friday’s semifinal game, and Canada will be playing Sunday for its second-straight gold medal in hockey.
Canada’s gameplan was the perfect one for a 1-0 hockey game, and that’s just what they got.
We knew Canada’s forwards were not cashing in on opportunities in the tournament, and it was mostly true in this game as well. But still Team Canada got on the board first after a Jamie Benn tip-in off a Jay Bouwmeester shot-pass in the second period. And that’s all the offense they needed.
Throughout the game, the Canadians stacked the blue line (sometimes with all five players) and prevented the Americans from clean zone entries and limited their setup time in the offensive zone.
Team USA still got a fair amount of opportunities, but Canada’s defense shut down what the Americans threw at it. This is the defense we knew we could see out of Canada in the tournament. (Thanks for nothing Shea Weber).
It’s a tough loss to reconcile for the USA. The team kept Sidney Crosby to zero points, only gave up one goal and came into the game playing excellent hockey. But all those positives and more still were not enough for the U.S.
A loss this tough reminds me of one of the most emotional lines from Les Miserables:
“There are dreams that cannot be. There are storms we cannot weather. I had a dream my life would be so different from this [one] I’m living.”
Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. You can try to will your team to victory, but that isn’t always enough.
Another Olympic Games goes by without the USA winning a gold in hockey and–whether for good or bad–I guess that just makes the victory in 1980 a little bit sweeter.
This loss could be especially tough for the Americans if this Winter Olympics is indeed the last time NHL players will participate in them. Somehow a win in future years just wouldn’t feel the same with amateur players.
With the win, Canada will play Sweden for the gold medal Sunday at 6:00 a.m. (CST). The Americans will play for the bronze Saturday at 10:00 a.m. (CST).