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Canada beat Slovakia 3 – 2 to join USA in Final

Team USA completed their path to the “Dream” final by overwelming Finland in the first semi-final earlier today. Finland were undefeated, before this game and had been described as talented, but you would never have guessed it from watching the first period!

It was also said that the Finnish Goalie Kiprusoff did not like being crowded. Well he was in a crowd for most of his time on the ice today; unfortunately they were mostly Americans slapping each other on the back after scoring!

Ryan Malone opened the scoring after only two minutes and three more goals followed in quick succession, Kiprusoff got his chance to be alone and was pulled from the game after ten minutes!

Two more goals followed and after thirteen minutes Team USA were 6 – 0 up and cruising, with the game pretty much won. The US goals were scored by Malone, Zach Parise, Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane (2) and Paul Stastny.

The Fins made more of a fight of it in second period, but couldn’t score, with Ryan Miller in contrast to Kiprusoff, always looking in control in the other goal.

The Fins don’t smile a lot at the best of times and had little to smile about in this game! They eventually got a consolation goal in a niggly third period after Miller had been relieved just before the end.

Canada duly delivered in the second semi-final beating Slovakia and now join the US in the final everyone was hoping for. Patrick Marleau opened the scoring for Canada in the first period . Brendan Morrow added to their lead and Canada ended the first period 2 – 0 ahead.

The Canadians got a third on a power play scored by Ryan Getzlaf and looked like they had booked their place in the final. Slovakian hopes were raised when Visnovsky got one back half way through the last period to make it 3 – 1. When Michal Handzas got their second with five minutes to go Canadians everywhere started to look seriously worried!

Canada survived a nervous last five minutes, although it seemed a lot longer at the time and hung onto their 3 – 2 lead for the win!

So we have the big showdown for the Gold on Sunday and the US will have to face a strong Canadian team and a hostile home crowd, but as Zach Parise put it they are used to that “Every international tournament I have played up in Canada we have gotten booed,” Parise said. “You learn to tune it out. You play in pretty hostile environments in the NHL”

Either country would be a deserving winner. Unfortunately one country is going to be disappointed, but for the victor winning Olympic Gold gives everyone a huge morale lift in these difficult times!


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