Canada defeats the U.S. 1-0, will play for Gold - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Canada defeats the U.S. 1-0, will play for Gold

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Team Canada advances to the Gold Medal game to face Sweden after defeating the United States 1-0. The score was flattering to the U.S. as the defensive zone structure by Team Canada was outstanding. The U.S. will play Finland for the Bronze Medal on Saturday.

For those who extol the virtues of Olympic hockey this was a fast-paced, well played game. In essence a very good viewing experience even though only one goal was scored. It should be noted to get this type of action it took two rosters completely loaded with NHL players. This wasn't a typical Olympic game as there were many future Hall of Fame players doing battle.

Coming into the Olympics there were doubts if the U.S. could score enough goals. Going into this match the U.S. led all teams in goal differential and was a tourney leader in scoring. Those totals were a little misleading as while playing five on five the U.S. was decidedly outplayed by their toughest opponents, Russia and Canada.

The U.S. escaped the game with Russia with a shootout win and an advantageous no-goal call didn't hurt. On Friday, Team Canada was too strong and the U.S. couldn't sustain much pressure until late in the contest. Even when the U.S. had scoring chances they didn't get any rebound attempts and many shots came from the perimeter.

For Canada, goaltender Carey Price was rock solid but U.S. netminder Jonathan Quick was the best player on the ice.

Canadian players were layered in their own zone and they were able to get the puck from defense to offense rather easily. The U.S. was chasing and back on defense too often and if not for Quick, this one could have been a lopsided affair.

The opening period was full of fast-paced hockey and the game was fairly even until Ryan Suter was sent to the penalty box. The U.S. killed off the penalty but Canada captured the momentum for the second half of the period. For the U.S. to win Quick would have to be very good and he was stopping all 16 shots.

The U.S. was credited with 11 shots on goal and fizzled on one power play chance. The U.S. power play didn't fire all day and in the middle period Canada was sent to the box three straight times.

Canada quickly took a 1-0 lead at 1:41 of the second frame, on a Jamie Benn goal that held up for the entire match. As the game progressed into the middle frame Team Canada was the aggressor and the pace remained very quick. Benn played a fine games and was one of the best players for Team Canada.

The U.S. has had a fine showing in the Olympics but even though Canada only won by one goal there wasn't much doubt about who was the better team. In my book there was also little doubt about who was the best U.S. forward as Patrick Kane shined.

Kane played at a high level and was forced to do a lot on his own as it wasn't easy to create offensive chances. In the end there wasn't enough puck possession by the U.S. and they couldn't sustain pressure to put one past Price. Kane recorded three shots on goal and his linemate Zack Parise led the game with eight shots.

As for the Blackhawks on Team Canada, Patrick Sharp had his best game of the Olympics. Sharp just missed scoring on a couple of occasions and led his club with five shots on goal. Jonathan Toews was solid in every zone and recorded one shot. Duncan Keith was held without a shot but was part of a very stingy group of Team Canada defensemen.

Canada is so deep in talent no one player has to try to do too much. Versus the U.S., the Canadians played a complete team game. Sidney Crosby has yet to score a goal but he was very noticeable and that could be bad news for Team Sweden.

Sweden is a well-balanced club that is led on defense by two Blackhawks, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya. Those two should see plenty of action versus Canada when the two meet at 6 a.m. Central time on Sunday morning. Marcus Kruger is also part of the Chicago contingent on Team Sweden.

The U.S. will have little time to sulk if they want to be prepared to capture a Bronze Medal. They will face the great Teemu Selanne and Team Finland at 9 a.m. Central time Saturday.

I will be back on Saturday after the Bronze Medal game and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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