Jamie Benn scored the game's only goal in the second period as Canada defeated the United States 1-0 on Friday to earn a spot in the gold-medal game.
In a rematch of the gold-medal game from the 2010 Olympics, the script followed a pretty similar path in Sochi. For the most part Canada was the team in control of play, reflected in the final shot total of 37 to the USA's 31 but the Americans were kept in the game by solid goaltending. This time it was Jonathan Quick doing all he could.
The one time that Quick wasn't up to the challenge was in the second period when the Dallas Stars' captain Benn redirected a shot/pass from Jay Bouwmeester to give the Canadians a lead. It was a rewarding moment for Benn, who was one of a few Canadian players who was all over the ice and noticeable from start to finish. Sidney Crosby was outstanding too even without producing a point as was his much-maligned teammate Chris Kunitz.
With the way their defense was playing, that one goal proved to be insurmountable.
Carey Price recorded the shutout and had to make a few great saves but on the whole wasn't really tested in those 31 shots. The Canadian defense did an expert job at keeping the United States from generating any form of sustained pressure, it was pretty much all one-and-done for the US in the offensive zone.
On the other end, Canada was using its forecheck very well and spending a lot of time in the American end. At times it looked like Canada was on the power play when they weren't. They nearly had a few more goals than just Benn's but Quick was in the proverbial zone.
The game opened at a frenetic and even pace through the first 10 minutes but when Ryan Suter took the game's first penalty, Canada seized momentum and never let go of it. The final score was just 1-0 but it was a relatively dominant performance by the gold-medal favorites.
Canada will next face Sweden on Sunday for a chance to win the gold again. It's a matchup of the last two gold-medal winners. The USA will return to the ice on Saturday against Finland with the bronze medal on the line.
Review the action with our in-game live blog below.
I feel u, bros. pic.twitter.com/Edm1jN0FMV— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 21, 2014
Canada 1, USA 0, FINAL
0:57, 3rd Period -- Jonathan Quick to the bench for the extra attacker.
2:20, 3rd Period -- John Carlson just made an awesome play to break up a 2-on-1 for Canada with the USA pressing forward.
4:01, 3rd Period -- USA is spending more time in the offensive zone now but they still are having a hard time converting it into quality looks. They just can't get into the teeth of the Canadian defense.
5:39, 3rd Period -- Jonathan Quick saves the day again. Chris Kunitz with a terrific chance in prime position but Quick is there for the save and on the second attempt the shot goes wide. USA running out of time in a hurry.
8:04, 3rd Period -- Penalty Killed
Canada against spends most of the two minutes in the zone but Ryan Callahan doing what he does best, diving in front of shots from the point to block them. He's a brave man to take Drew Doughty and Shea Weber slapshots to the body.
10:04, 3rd Period -- Power Play, Canada
Canada gets a look at a 2-on-1 break so Phil Kessel hooks Chris Kunitz to negate the scoring chance but it gives Canada the power play.
11:51, 3rd Period -- When Canada gets in the offensive zone the USA is struggling to get the puck off their sticks and it's leading to extended zone time which equals more saves for Jonathan Quick.
13:34, 3rd Period -- Team USA gets a good look there from Zach Parise with a clear shooting lane but Parise puts it square into Price's chest. If they're going to beat him in this game, have to get better placement on chances like that.
15:55, 3rd Period -- Canada just hammering away on Jonathan Quick right now with a solid two minutes of pressure but it remains a one-goal game. Canada's forecheck compared to the USA's is night and day.
17:54, 3rd Period -- One apparent message from Dan Bylsma at the intermission: pick up the forecheck. It's been almost non-existent for the USA in this game but they do get some pressure in the first couple of minutes here in the third. Still, it needs to be a lot better.
20:00, 3rd Period -- Here. We. Go!
Here are the stats through 40 minutes. Almost hard to believe the USA is credited with 13 scoring chances. They have tested Price but it doesn't feel like they've tested him enough.
CAN 1, USA 0 -- Second Intermission
Shots in that period were 12-11 in favor of Canada but this game doesn't quite feel that even as Canada has been the team with the most pressure and it has been relentless. Regardless, the pace remains very fast and there are scoring chances galore but no goals. The USA has been outplayed thus far -- not dramatically, but they have been -- but are down just one thanks to Jonathan Quick. All it takes is one shot in a game like this.
This is a pretty good summary of where this game is through 40 minutes.
Jonathan Quick 0, Canada 1 after 2 periods.— LA Kings (@LAKings) February 21, 2014
2:20, 2nd Period -- Right after the penalty ends the USA gets its best chance in several minutes with a few jams at the puck in the crease but Carey Price has been calm and steady in the crease so far. He made an initial stop and then a second attempt goes just wide. He's going to be very tough for the USA to beat today.
2:36, 2nd Period -- Penalty Killed
Once again, not much going for the USA there. Canada is all over the puck wherever it goes in this game so far, the US isn't handling that pressure well at all.
4:36, 2nd Period -- Power Play, USA
Chris Kunitz is going to the box for his action in a scrum in front of the crease, gets a slashing call in the scrum -- soft call, just like the one on the USA in yesterday's women's final. If nothing else it is some much-needed relief for the US defense that is having fits with Canada's pressure.
5:55 2nd Period -- Canada is doing a tremendous job pressuring the US in the offensive zone and it leads to a steal by Corey Perry then an excellent scoring chance for Jamie Benn but Jonathan Quick flashes some serious leather.
7:56, 2nd Period -- Some pretty quality trolling going on at a Canadian restaurant.
10:00, 2nd Period -- The USA doing a better job of creating some offensive chances and taking some of the possession from Canada. Patrick Kane gets the best look on a wraparound attempt after a great up-ice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk. Shots in this period are 5-4 for the USA.
14:43, 2nd Period -- Penalty Killed
It was a good-looking power play for the USA there as they got two shots and spent most of it in possession of the puck in the offensive zone. Carey Price comes up with a big pad save on Zach Parise to keep the Americans off the board.
15:15, 2nd Period -- Here's that Jamie Benn goal. What a heck of a finish (via @PeteBlackburn).
16:43, 2nd Period -- Power Play, USA
Ryan Getzlaf gets called for a high stick against Patrick Kane. The US desperately needs a big power play here, at least something to grab momentum.
18:19, 2nd Period -- GOAL, CANADA!
Jamie Benn redirects a shot-pass from Jay Bouwmeester to beat Quick, who was focused on the shooter. That first goal was well-earned for Canada as they have really had the USA hemmed in for the past 13 or so minutes of this game.
20:00, 2nd Period -- The game is back ON!
1st Intermission -- If it felt like Ryan Suter was on the ice a lot it's because he was. He might crack the 30-minute mark in this game, the USA has to make up for the loss of Paul Martin.
Suter played 8:04 that period to lead U.S. That's with taking a penalty, too. Shea Weber leads all players with 8:33 in first period.— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) February 21, 2014
1st Intermission -- Don Cherry taking that Grapes nickname seriously.
Meanwhile, Don Cherry. pic.twitter.com/LUQs6Doe5u— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) February 21, 2014
USA 0, Canada 0, 1st Intermission
A furious first half of the period turned in Canada's favor in the final 10 minutes as they took a 16-11 edge in shots after the first 20 minutes. Over the last nine minutes, the USA had just one shot on goal and that included two minutes of power play time. Sidney Crosby had an excellent period as did Jeff Carter for the Canadians but Jonathan Quick was better.
2:02, 1st Period -- Penalty Killed
Absolutely nothing going for the USA on that power play. They couldn't get set up in the zone and even iced the puck. No shots for the US.
2:55, 1st Period -- Claude Julien could use a whiteboard.
Somebody should get Clode a dry-erase board or something. What is that, a notebook for ants? pic.twitter.com/BuvKBaBnNa— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 21, 2014
4:02, 1st Period -- Power Play, USA
Patrick Marleau gets called for holding against his Sharks teammate Joe Pavelski. This is what the Americans need to try and regain some of the momentum that Canada has held since their power play.
5:06, 1st Period -- The USA killed that penalty but it has looked like Canada has been on the power play in the two minutes since. Quick is absolutely on top of his game in this one.
7:07, 1st Period -- Penalty Killed
Canada didn't really get a cycle going on that man advantage but they did get some excellent looks. Quick has to come up with a couple of huge saves to kill this penalty. Canada got three shots in the two minutes.
9:07, 1st Period -- Power Play, Canada
Ryan Suter takes the first penalty of the game, being called for holding the stick. Canada's power play will run through the points with Weber and Doughty ready to drop bombs.
10:00, 1st Period -- This game is being played at such a crazy pace. Shots are now 9-9. This isn't Finland-Sweden here.
11:55, 1st Period -- The USA gets a 4-on-2 rush but Canada gets back well and the US ends up with a pretty harmless shot which Price smothers. Up and down they go.
12:37, 1st Period -- Sidney Crosby has been harshly criticized in this tournament but he just made a beautiful pass to find Patrick Sharp on the side of the crease for a great look, Quick there for the save. The scoring chances are coming fast and furious here.
13:05, 1st Period -- The US just had its best shift of the game, they were all over Carey Price's crease and they got a few shots off but no dice. Shots are already 7-5 for the USA just seven minutes in.
14:35, 1st Period -- The Americans get a rush up ice led by Phil Kessel and he settle the puck to drop to the oncoming John Carlson for a clear shot in the slot but a great glove save from Price keeps it out.
15:03, 1st Period -- Very good action so far, Canada leads 5-3 in shots just a few minutes in. Jeff Carter really testing his Kings teammate Jonathan Quick in the early going.
18:11, 1st Period -- Canada gets a flurry of chances right in front of Jonathan Quick but none go in. Interesting in the early minutes is watching the coaches trying to match the lines. Going to be a chess match all game.
19:37, 1st Period -- The first chance of the game comes from Phil Kessel who gets a partial breakaway but the short-angle shot is stopped easily by Carey Price.
20:00, 1st Period -- GAME ON!
11:57 a.m. -- American lines are below. Here are how the Canadians are lined up today.
Canada lines and pairings sheet. pic.twitter.com/B0mtFYWjUD— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) February 21, 2014
11:33 a.m -- Teams are on the ice for warmups. The game is so close you can taste it.
11:14 a.m. -- It. Has. Begun.
8:55 a.m. -- Jersey update: The USA will be wearing white, meaning Canada will likely be wearing red and not those awful black third jerseys.
7:36 a.m. -- Not surprisingly, it looks like Martin is out with an injury. He has played the third-most minutes of American defensemen in these Games. His day-to-day coach back in the NHL Dan Bylsma wasn't going to pull him for nothing, especially since Martin and Brooks Orpik play together a lot and well from their time in Pittsburgh.
Looks like Paul Martin will not play today for USA. He was sporting a cast after practice.— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_FOX) February 21, 2014
Conflicting reports on this. It's also being said that Martin is just ill. Either way, he's not playing and it's a very big deal for the USA
7:27 a.m. -- The lines aren't changing much but the US is making a move on the defensive pairs. Paul Martin is going to sit out which means Justin Faulk will get in the lineup for the first time in Sochi. What a time to taste Olympic action.
U.S. D for tonite's semi vs. CAN: Fowler-Shattenkirk; Orpik-Carlson; Suter-McDonagh; Faulk. Quick in goal; Miller backup. #DawnsEarlyLight— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 21, 2014
7:21 a.m. -- USA Hockey revealed the lines for the big game this afternoon (or night in Sochi). It should be little surprise they are sticking with what has been working.
U.S. forwards for tonite's semi vs. CAN: Brown-Backes-Callahan; Parise-Kesler-Kane; JVR-Pavelski-Kessel; Pacioretty-Stastny-Oshie; Wheeler.— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 21, 2014
By Andrew Dewitt
Who: United States vs. Canada
What: Semifinal game
When: Noon ET Friday on NBCSN
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia
Olympic Series History
Canada leads 11-3-3
Games with NHL players in Olympics
1998 Group: Canada 4, United States 1
2002 Gold medal game: Canada 5, United States 2
2010 Group: United States 5, Canada 3
2010 Gold medal game: Canada 3, United States 2
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - North American neighbors Canada and the United States will meet in a rematch of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic final won by the Canadians on a golden goal from Sidney Crosby.
"2010 is all over with and we're on a new opportunity both for them and for us," said Canadian head coach Mike Babcock. "The teams are different.
"You have an opportunity right now to make memories for the rest of your life. That's just what this is about."
Certainly there will be no mysteries surrounding either contest with players, coaches and fans keenly aware of what each team will bring to the rink.
Every player on the American and Canadian rosters earn a living in the National Hockey League and in many cases are team mates who will return to the same locker rooms next week to continue their Stanley Cup quests.
The Canada-United States semi-final will very much resemble a house divided.
The same men who stand shoulder-to-shoulder and embrace each other as brothers will suddenly be the hated enemy standing in the path to Olympic glory.
No one will know better what Crosby is capable of than American coach Dan Bylsma who just happens to be the Canadian captain's coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Odds and ends
(CAN @ USA) – Total Goals in the game?
(CAN @ USA) - Who will record more points in the game?
Sidney Crosby (CAN) 8/5
Phil Kessel (USA) 7/4
(CAN @ USA) - Player to score the first goal in the game?
Phil Kessel (USA) 15/2
Sidney Crosby (CAN) 8/1
Jeff Carter (CAN) 19/2
Patrick Marleau (CAN) 19/2
Patrick Kane (USA) 19/2
Jonathan Toews (CAN) 12/1
Chris Kunitz (CAN) 14/1
Corey Perry (CAN) 15/1
Ryan Getzlaf (CAN) 15/1
Joe Pavelski (USA) 15/1
James van Riemsdyk (USA) 15/1
Rick Nash (CAN) 16/1
Max Pacioretty (USA) 16/1
Ryan Kesler (USA) 17/1
Drew Doughty (CAN) 18/1
Zach Parise (USA) 20/1
David Backes (USA) 25/1
T.J. Oshie (USA) 25/1
(CAN @ USA) - Margin of Victory
Canada by 1 goal 5/2
Canada by 2 goals 5/1
Canada by 3 goals 6/1
Canada by 4 goals 18/1
Canada by 5 or more goals 30/1
USA by 1 goal 3/1
USA by 2 goals 11/2
USA by 3 goals 7/1
USA by 4 goals 20/1
USA by 5 or more goals 30/1