SOCHI, Russia—Canada will have the opportunity to defend the gold medal it won four years ago at Vancouver, a chance it earned Friday with a thoroughly sound defensive effort that stifled a fast and prolific U.S. team in the Sochi Olympic hockey semifinals.
A second-period goal by
Canada will face Sweden for the gold medal on Sunday. Sweden defeated Finland, 2-1, in Friday's first semifinal. The U.S. will face Finland for the bronze on Saturday.
No men's hockey team has won two straight Olympic gold medals since the old Soviet teams in 1984 and 1988.
The U.S. and Canada had met in the 2010 championship game, won by Canada in overtime. At Sochi, they met one round earlier, and the Canadian men had some extra inspiration from their female counterparts.
The Canadian women had defeated the U.S. women for the women's gold medal on Thursday, and Canada's four-time champions left a note for the men's team in Canada's locker room. It read:
"Tonight is yours. Own the moment. We are proof that every minute matters. The podium is reserved for the brave. Earn every inch, dictate the pace. Go get em! From the Girls! :)"
In a script familiar to
The fast pace of the first period was a distinct change for both teams, who had been dragged into slow games by opponents who couldn't match their talent and could only hope to smother them.
But the game remained scoreless until early in the second period, when Benn redirected a pass by Bouwmeester past Quick on Canada’s 17th shot of the game. The line of Benn,
The goal was the second for Benn in the tournament, two more than
With so many players who are teammates in the
Two characteristics that had been an advantage for the U.S. in its previous games—its size and speed—were neutralized Friday by Canada’s hard-working corps of forwards and disciplined defensemen. Canada’s penalty killers did their jobs well too, negating three U.S. advantages. U.S. center
Canada and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price came up with a number of solid saves, including one in which he went to his knees to stop