Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Canada walks all over Russia 7-3, to play Sweden VS. Slovakia Winner Next

What a dominating performance for the Canadians. After a relativity easy game for the Host Team on Thursday night against Germany. The match a lot of people thought would be for the Gold Medal turned into a rout very quickly as the Canadians got goals from all over the ice from Corey Perry who had 2 goals and an assist, to Shea Weber and Sydney Crosby and everyone in between. For Vancouver Goalie Roberto Luongo, it was a retaliative easy night for him but was stellar when called upon.

Russia was just poor all over the ice, from taking to long to change goalies to not matching the Canadian Energy. This was a night where the Russians were sent home and knew it at different parts of the game.

For the most part, Russian Superstar Forwards Alex Ovechkin, Illy Kovalchuk were just disappointing all night and are going to get a mouthful from the Russian Media at home as the Russians were viewed as Canada's biggest challenger during this tournament. This needs to be a wake up call to Russia that performances like this won't be tolorated like this ever at any tournament, much less the Olympics against their biggest rival.

Canada was the better team all over the ice, no doubt about that and this is a highly energized team that has put the problems against Switzerland and the U.S.A. behind them from the Group Stage. This is a team that will put fear into the winner of Sweden VS. Slovakia which is the final game of the night coming up on Friday night in the Semifinals.

Update to Matches for Semifinals on Friday:

U.S.A. VS. Finland 12:00 PM PST @ Canada Hockey Place

Canada VS. Sweden/Slovakia Winner 6:30 PM PST @ Canada Hockey Place

Canada VS. Russia Game Summary:

Canada VS. Russia Photos:

From Andrew Podnieks of the International Ice Hockey Federation Website:

Canada beat Russia for the first time in an Olympics since 1960 (Last 8 Olympics) in dominating fashion, winning 7-3 in a game that was lighting fast although seldom close.

Corey Perry led the way with 2 goals and an assist. In all, six different players scored for Canada. Only in 1960 when Canada beat the Soviet Union by an 8-5 score in Squaw Valley has the nation allowed more goals. Canada will now play the winner in the semi-finals on Friday at 6:30 PM Local Time against tonight's winner of Sweden VS. Slovakia. For the Russians, the 2010 Olympic Tournament is over.

"It was an electric atmosphere", said goalie Roberto Luongo, who is sure to start in the semi-final game. "It was a really fun to play in. With the lead, it was a bit more comfortable."

Canada's strategy was simple: the game is being played on small ice, so play the small ice game. This meant hitting Alexander Ovechkin every time he was near the puck, hitting anything and everything in sight. By the midway mark of the first period, no Russian player wanted to hang onto the puck for very long.

"It was a very physical game on both sides of the puck," said Mike Richards. "Ovie is used to that in the NHL. He's a marked guy everytime he's on the ice."

The Physical play had the Russians reeling from the opening faceoff, and the double whammy was the top-speed creativity the big-banging Canadians displayed once they had possesion. Tic-Tac-Toe passes were the norm on every shift as Russian Goalie Nabokov was sliding east and west trying to figure out who was shooting and who was passing.

Canada opened the scoring at 2:21 when defensemen Dan Boyle tore down the left wing and backhanded a pass to the slot where Getzlaf one-timed it past goalie Nabokov after defensemen Slava Kozlov failed to check Getzlaf with any purpose. The Canadians kept pressing, moving the puck fluidly out of their own end and maintaining possession in the Russian end to create scoring chances. Nabokov looked nervous, and Canadians played Ovechkin with the same physicality as 2004 when he was in the U20 Gold Medal Game.

Alexei Morozov had a good chance on a one-timer on a Russian power play, but he fanned on the shot. Ilya Kovalchuk let go another one timer that made it through traffic, but Luongo came across to make a nice save as the penalty expired.

The frenetic pace continued. Crosby drove hard down the left side and was hauled down by Anton Volchenkov for a penalty. On the ensuing power play a Boyle point shot was deftly redirected by Patrick Marleau through the pads to make a 2-0 Canada lead.

At 12:55 a fast break gave Canada a 3rd goal, Nash finishing off a beautiful passing play up the ice with Jonathan Towes and Mike Richards. Nash lifted the puck over Nabokov just as the goalie sprawled to try the Johnny Bower pokecheck. The astounding and relentless assault forced Russian coach Slava Bykov to call a timeout to try to settle down the team and quiet the crowd.

Indeed, the crowd grew silent, comfortable with the lead, and that's exactly when the Russians got one back at 14:39. Dmitri Kalinin's wrist shot from the point fooled Roberto Luongo and gave the Russians some life. But Canada didn't surrender. The mostly Canadian crowd started up again, and the players continued to attack. The team got that crucial fourth goal late in the period. Brenden Morrow walked out from behind the goal and tried a backhanded wraparound that rolled up Nabokov's body and behind him into the net for a 4-1 lead at 18:18. Shots favored Canada 21-12 in quite possibly the fastest period of hockey ever played.

Canada made it a 5-1 lead at 3:10 of the 2nd period on a harmless looking play when Getzlaf skated in over the blue line surrounded by four Russians. He took a shot that was blocked, but Corey Perry banged home a loose puck past a surprised Nabokov. And still, Bykov left the goalie in the net.

Less then a minute later, Canada got another goal on a center ice turnouver. Shea Weber finished things off with a bullet drive along the ice, off the far post and in at 4:07 to make it 6-1. This forced Nabokov to the showers in favor of IIya Bryzgalov.

Just 39 seconds later, Iiya Kovalchuk from Maxim Afinogenov flying down the right wing. Afinogenov cut in around defensemen Duncan Keith and beat Luonog to the far side to cut the lead to 2 goals. Just when it seemed the Canadians was sitting back and protecting the lead with half a game to play, they struck again on another gorgeous passing play. This time Getzlaf carried the puck in over the Russian line, slipped a pass ahead of Staal who moved it across ice to Perry. Perry's Quick shot to the open side hit the net for his 2nd of the night.

Luongo was called upon to make his best save when Alexander Radulov was open in the slot. Radulov made a nice deke, but Luongo stuck out his left leg to make a great toe save.

A too-many-men penalty gave Russia a power play, and Sergei Gonchar beat Luongo with a long shot to cut the lead in this high scoring game to 7-3. That's how the period ended to the delight of the crowd. Canada killed off an early penalty in the third period and then lost Staal after he collided hard into the end boards chasing down a long pass. No penalty was called on the play, but on the ensuing rush Gonchar drew a hooking penalty. Iginla hit the post on one sequence, but the score remained the same.

Luongo made his mark on the game by stoning Evgeni Malkin on a breakaway at 15:44, kicking out his right pad and sending the crowd into a frenetic "Looo"!

"I thought our energy and execution right from the drop of the puck was phenomenal." Eric Staal noted. "We came out with a jump. We were slowly boiling, and once the puck dropped to start the game, we were ready and firing. We got that goal to get us started right away, and the atmosphere and passion was unbelievable in here. It was a lot of fun out here."

Said a beleaguered Nabokov: "The first goal came too quick. They scored and just kept coming, We were not able to stop them, the SOG (42-28) tells it all."

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