After ending a 50 years slump without a gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002, and winning in Vancouver in 2010 in what is maybe their most appreciated tournament because they beat at home, Canada arrived Sochi to try to defend their title. Doing it in a big ice like the Russian was a goal they wanted to achieve and they did it in a notable way.
After finishing in the first place of their group, Canada faced Latvia in the quarterfinals. The game was a pretty close one as they won 2-1, with Patrick Sharp and Shea Webber goals, scoring the winning one in the last period.
In the semifinals, and battling for a place in the gold medal game, they faced their major rival: the United States of America team. This was the most tense and exciting of all of their matches because of the opponent and how the game actually developed. Canada beat the USA team 1-0, with a goal in the second period. One of the hockey classics games was defined by a lonely goal in a demonstration of great hockey based on solid defenses.
That was the road of Canada to the final. There was only one team between them and the gold medal: Sweden. Canada wanted revenge from the dramatic 1994 final, when Sweden defeated them in a game that needed to be determined by a shootout after a 2-2 score in the regular time, with Sweden tying in the last two minutes, and a scoreless overtime.
The game was sealed with Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz goals and with an outstanding performance of the best goalkeeper of the Olympic games, Carey Prince. The Montreal Canadians player made 24 saves and achieved his second consecutive shutout and the third of the entire tournament for Canada goalkeepers.
This epic participation left some milestones in the Olympic hockey history. First of all, this championship leaves Canada as the country with more gold medals in this tournament, with a total of nine. They are the first team to successfully defend an Olympic title since 1988, when the Soviet Union did the same thing with back-to-back gold medals. And maybe one of the more impressive achievements is that they are also the first to finish the tournament without a single lose since 1984.
After over a week of tournament, this Canada team earned the right to be remembered as one of the best teams in the winter Olympics history. Sochi witnessed the performance of an excellent team. The Canadians, coached by Mike Babcock, was one based on solid defense and discipline. They only allowed three goals in six games and never trailed at any point of the whole tournament.
Another man to be thankful with is Steve Yzerman. The executive director was the architect of this roster and he called it the greatest display of defensive by any Canadian hockey national team and I cannot agree more.
Canada leaves Sochi as the greatest national team in the Winter Olympic games and maybe of the entire hockey history. This championship, second in a road and third out of the last four, leaves them with one goal in mind, to pursuit their third straight gold medal. Canada hockey national team has an appointment in 2018 when Pyeongchang, South Korea, held the XXIII Olympic Winter Games.
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