SOCHI, February 23 (R-Sport) – Canada became the first team for 26 years to retain Olympic men’s hockey gold Sunday as captain Sidney Crosby led his team to a 3-0 win over underdog Sweden in Sochi.
Crosby had not scored all tournament before his stunning solo goal for Canada’ second at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, putting his team on course for victory in the last event of the Winter Games.
"We played solid and we didn’t give anything up in the last few games," Crosby said. "We played the way we needed to and it’s great to see everyone get rewarded."
He added: "Our defence was solid, so good at skating their way out of trouble we didn’t have to play in our own end and, with the guys we have offensively, the more we can stay out of there the better chance we have of creating things."
Canada finishes third in the medal table with 10 golds, behind only host nation Russia and Norway.
The Canadian victory in Russia had a symmetry with the last team to retain the Olympic gold medal, the Soviet team of 1988 in Calgary, Alberta.
Canada’s first goal came with seven minutes remaining of the first period when Jeff Carter fed Jonathan Toews in the crease and the Chicago Blackhawks captain beat Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot.
Crosby’s goal on 15:43 of the second period showcased the Pittsburgh Penguins star’s pace and skill as he blazed down the rink before beating Lundqvist with a neat backhander.
A rare error from Swedish talisman Daniel Sedin gave Canada its third goal, the veteran Vancouver Canucks forward losing the puck and allowing Chris Kunitz to score with a top-shelf shot.
The Canadians had the edge throughout the game, outshooting Sweden 36-24 as goaltender Carey Price claimed his second shutout after the bruising 1-0 defeat of the U.S. in the semifinals.
Price said it was "absolutely" the best defensive team he had played on. "This team was totally dedicated to keeping the puck out of our net and we really had a relentless work ethic," he said.
Sweden, missing Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom for reasons that were not immediately clear, had few clear-cut chances to score as Canada ensured much of the game was played in the Swedish zone.
The game could have developed differently if Sweden had scored early in the first period, when Gustav Nyqvist’s shot beat Price but clattered into the post.
Finland won the bronze medal Saturday with a 5-0 pounding of the United States in the third-place game.
Canada also won the women’s hockey gold medal Thursday, beating the U.S. 3-2 in overtime in a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
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