The US hasn’t won Olympic hockey gold since the Miracle on Ice in 1980. Canada last won the gold in 2002 — by defeating the United States in the final. Canada has lost once in the Olympics, to this same US squad, while the Americans have gone undefeated. This may well be the most dramatic competitive moment in the games, at least for television viewers. Who will win — the commanding Americans or the Olympic hosts?
When Team Canada faltered in the first round of the Olympic hockey tournament, the nation that prides itself on having invented the game held its collective breath. Not to worry: a romp over Germany and a rout of Russia put this star-laden team back on track.
Or did it?
Canada barely hung on to defeat fast-closing Slovakia in the semifinals and secure its place in Sunday’s gold medal game at Canada Hockey Place. Adversity could bring the Canadians closer — or exhaust them.
The U.S. has run the table, relying on perseverance to subdue the stubborn Swiss in the quarterfinals and using physicality and speed to embarrass Finland in a 6-1 blowout. They have no gamebreakers — the closest to that is Hawks winger Patrick Kane — but their teamwork and energy have fueled their success.
I’m putting my money (figuratively speaking) on the US, but I’m glad that my favorite two teams made it into the finals. The game starts at 3:15 ET and will get televised live. USA! USA!
Update: Team USA scored a goal in the final 24 seconds to send it into OT, but Team Canada won in sudden death, 3-2. Congratulations to our cousins north of the border — it was a classic Gold Medal finish.
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