Friday, February 26, 2010

USA/Canada a period away

Thus far, it looks like the much anticipated USA/Canada rematch for Olympic gold is in line. After the Americans dominated Finland with a six goal first period barrage including five in 5:54, the host Canadians lead Slovakia 3-zip after two periods. They've outshot the Cinderella 21-9, getting goals off the sticks of Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow and Ryan Getzlaf.

All three have come via simple North American style plays. Three point shots from D with the opening deuce in the first both via redirects by Marleau (video review confirmed) and hit machine Morrow, who's suddenly his country's most visible player. The third came with under five to go in the second when Getzlaf whipped a backhand rebound past Jaroslav Halak for a power play goal, cashing in an undisciplined Richard Zednik hold of the stick 200 feet away.

When called upon Roberto Luongo has stopped everything one by one as Canada's D has limited the skilled Slovaks, who have overpassed. Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik have had chances but were unable to get them on net. Down three, former Islander Ziggy Palffy had the best opportunity off a turnover but his five-hold try on a mini-break was shutdown by Louie.

Unless Slovakia can produce a miracle of their own, it looks like USA/Canada will vie for gold eight years later. But this time in Vancouver and not Salt Lake. If it comes off, can the Americans return the favor? Still one more period left before it becomes official.

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