Canada down US to set-up final clash with Swedes
Canada's Jamie Benn (R) and Canada's Corey Perry celebrate after scoring against US goalkeeper Jonathan Quick (R) during the Men's Ice Hockey semi-finals at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 21, 2014 - by Alexander Nemenov
Jamie Benn scored early in the second period and goaltender Carey Price stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout as Canada defeated the United States 1-0 in a re-match of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic final.
Canada's semi-final victory in the men's ice hockey tournament means they will face Sweden in Sunday's championship game after the Swedes topped Finland 2-1 in an all-Nordic semi.
"It is another opportunity," said Canadian captain Sidney Crosby. "We all worked hard a long time to get to play in the gold medal game."
Finland and the United States will square off for the bronze medal on Saturday.
Benn scored on a nice give-and-go with defenceman Jay Bouwmeester with 1:41 gone in the second for Canada who are trying to win their first gold medal outside of North America since 1952 in Oslo.
"We wanted to stay on them and control the play in their end," said Benn, who wasn't invited to the first tryout camp for Team Canada but was added to the team later on.
"When we did turn it over, we were on them right away. We found a way to win."
Benn passed the puck back to the point to Bouwmeester who immediately fired it back to Benn in front of the goal for the deflection.
"(Ryan) Getzlaf found me in the middle," Benn said. "I saw Jay open back there and he made a great pass back to me. I found a way to get it into the back of the net."
Bouwmeester also had a strong game for Canada. He was left off the last Olympic team in Vancouver after being chosen to represent Canada in the world championships in Halifax.
Canada beat the USA in the gold medal game four years ago in Vancouver when Crosby scored in overtime. Canada and the USA also met in the gold medal match of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games which was also won by Canada.
The loss was the first of the tournament for the USA in five games and it kept their record intact of never have won a gold medal outside of North America.
The Americans had been the most explosive team on offence in the 2014 tournament, having scored a tournament-leading 20 goals heading into Friday's semi.
But they managed few quality scoring chances on Price and when they did get in close Price shut the door.
- 'We didn't show up to play' -
American defenceman Ryan Suter said they didn't deserve to win because they were too timid.
"We didn't show up to play," said Suter. "It's kind of frustrating.
"We were passive. You can't play scared. We sat on our heels and just didn't take it to them at all."
Canada's win comes just one day after the Canadian women won the gold medal by storming back from a two-goal deficit to beat the USA 3-2 in an overtime thriller.
Undefeated Sweden advanced to the championship game by defeating injury-hit Finland in a re-match of the Turin 2006 final on Friday.
Sweden rallied from a 1-0 deficit at the Bolshoi Ice Dome arena with Erik Karlsson's second period powerplay goal proving decisive.
Karlsson, with his co-tournament-leading eighth point, scored with 3:34 left in the second on a shot from the point. Finnish goaltender Kari Lehtonen got a piece of Karlsson's shot but could not keep it out.
"It's unbelievable," said Swedish netminder Henrik Lundqvist. "We really had to work hard this time. They're a very disciplined team."
Finland have been hit hard by injuries and top goaltender Tuukka Rask was taken off the roster for Friday's game with what is believed to be a case of the flu.
Rask was replaced by Lehtonen, who finished with 23 saves. Finland were already missing their four top centres, including Saku Koivu and Aleksander Barkov.
Friday's semi-final was the final Winter Games contest for all-time Olympic scoring leader Teemu Selanne of Finland.
"It was disappointing, obviously," Selanne said. "We couldn't play our best game this tournament today. That's what I'm more disappointed about, the result."