Stylish Canada defeat Sweden 3-0 to retain men’s ice hockey crown
Canada’s men completed the defence of their Olympic ice hockey title, defeating Sweden 3-0 at the Bolshoi Ice Dome. It was a record ninth gold for the Canadians, who also became the first team to win back-to-back Olympic titles since the Soviet Union at Calgary 1988.
Sidney Crosby – who had scored a dramatic overtime winner in the final against USA at Vancouver 2010 – was on the scoresheet once again, chipping in with Canada’s second goal. Jonathan Toews and Chris Kunitz scored the other goals, while goaltender Carey Price posted his third shutout of the Games.
The Canadian captain had endured a relatively quiet tournament, but against Sweden he served up an eloquent reminder that he is the man for the big occasion. And at the end he could not conceal his pleasure.
“It's a great feeling,” he said. “Look at Vancouver, and it was right down to the bitter end, an overtime nail-biter.
“Since then, a lot of things have happened, so to be back here in the same situation with a lot of the same guys that were in Vancouver, it's pretty special.”
Centre Toews opened the scoring in the first period, with a cool first-time finish. Once Canada had established their grip on the match there was no way back for Sweden.
The defending champions had the meanest defence in the tournament: well-organised, well-drilled, and even at 2-0 up, whenever Sweden tried to break they found a wall of red shirts in front of them.
With just under five minutes left in the second period, Crosby, so often Canada’s talisman over the years, doubled his team’s lead.
Homing in on goal in a one-on-one with Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the Canadian captain produced a faint that left his opponent bamboozled, before going round him and placing the puck into the back of the net.
Winger Kunitz wrapped it up with a fine solo effort in the final period, as he skated through the Sweden defence before unleashing a thunderbolt which whizzed past Lundqvist.
At the end there were scenes of jubilant celebration on the ice and in the stands, where the vociferous Canadian fans made their presence felt with a mass of Maple-leaf flags.
Crosby said that self-belief and team-work had been central to his side’s success in Sochi. “There were some question marks about our scoring,” said the Canadian captain.
“I think we all believed in one another and the way we needed to play, and stuck with it, nobody changed anything. It says a lot about the group of guys here,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s goalie Lundqvist admitted that Canada had fully deserved their victory.
“They were just better. I felt like they were a lot smarter with the puck. I felt like we gave them too many chances. We were leaving the puck in the wrong areas and they were quick to strike,” he said.
“Especially in the second period, we had a really tough time to get going. Overall they were just better today.”