For the first time in fifty years, the Canadian men’s ice hockey team has brought the gold medal back to the country that invented the sport.
The Canadiens defeated Team USA, 5-2, on Sunday, capping their gold-medal run in the most-watched hockey game in history. The loss snapped the USA’s seventy-year winning streak on home ice.
Paul Kariya and Jarome Iginla scored less than four minutes apart late in the first period to pull Canada into the lead. Tony Amonte had scored midway through the period to put the United States on the board.
American Brian Rafalski scored with less than five minutes remaining in the second period to tie the game at two goals each. Joe Sakic converted on a power play just under three minutes later to pull the Canadians into the lead for good.
Team USA didn’t give up and only Canadian goaltender Martin Brodeur preserved the lead with key saves in the third period.
Iginla scored his second goal to put the game away by redirecting a shot from the point by Steve Yzerman past American goalie Mike Richter late in the third.
Sakic added his second goal of the game with just over one minute remaining when he carried the puck through the American defense and ripped a shot past Richter.
The gold medal is Canada’s first Olympic medal since the team won the silver in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway. The silver medal is the United States’ first medal since the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” at Lake Placid. It is their first silver since 1972 in Sapporo.
Seven Red Wings will come back to Detroit with Olympic medals. Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan won gold with Canada; Chris Chelios and Brett Hull claimed silver with the United States; and Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov and Pavel Datsyuk got the bronze with Russia.