TEAM CANADA CUTS IT CLOSE, NEEDS CROSBY GOAL IN SHOOTOUT TO EDGE SWITZERLAND
VANCOUVER – Sidney Crosby scored in a shootout as Canada eked out a 3-2 victory over Switzerland on Thursday at the Winter Olympics in a game that evoked scary memories of the Swiss upset win four years ago in Turin.
Canada was stymied for much of the game by Jonas Hiller in the Swiss goal. Martin Brodeur stopped all four Swiss shooters while Crosby scored on Canada's fourth shot to secure the win before a sea of red-and-white clad Canadian fans at Canada Hockey Place.
“I look forward to that chance and am glad I made the most of it,” Crosby said of scoring the shootout winner.
It was the fourth anniversary of Canada's agonizing 2-0 loss at the 2006 Games when they were stoned by goalie Martin Gerber, who missed these Games with an injury.
This time, it was Hiller, the Anaheim Ducks No. 1 goalie who signed an US$18-million, four-year contract on Jan. 30, who frustrated Canada's collection of NHL stars. The Canadians outshot the Swiss 46-23 in regulation time and overtime.
“It was one of those nights where he was focused and in the zone,” Crosby said of Hiller.
Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau scored for Canada while Ivo Rutheman and Patrick von Gunten had goals for Switzerland in regulation time.
The Swiss have only two NHL players, captain Mark Streit and Hiller, but they battled even up for most of the game and gave Canada a scare.
“It was one of the best games I've ever seen from the Swiss national team,” Hiller said.
Olympic rules give three points for a win and only two for a win in overtime or a shootout, so Canada has five points from two games, one behind the United States, who improved to 2-0-0 with a 6-1 win over Norway.
Canada closes the round-robin portion of the Games on Sunday against the Americans while Switzerland, which earned one point, next plays Norway.
If revenge was on Canada's mind, it didn't look it with a sluggish, tentative start. Canada trailed 7-6 in shots midway through the first period against a hard-working and surprisingly physical Swiss team.
And although they forced the Swiss to take three penalties, they failed to score or even generate many chances with the man advantage to the dismay of the full house at Canada Hockey Place.
But it was just after a power play ended that the puck was dumped into the Swiss zone and Marleau recovered behind the net. He slid it in front to San Jose teammate Heatley, who pushed it free with his skate and slid his third goal of the tournament into an open side behind Hiller.
And when Switzerland's Yannick Weber took his second hooking penalty of the game 27 seconds into the second period, it took the Sharks line only eight seconds to score, as Joe Thornton won a faceoff back to defenceman Shea Weber, whose shot went off Heatley to Marleau for a goal.
Canada then looked to be in control, although Canadian transplant Hnat Domenichelli ominously broke in and forced a smart glove save from Brodeur in the seventh minute.
And then Switzerland made it a game. After Ryan Getzlaf won a faceoff in the Swiss zone, Thierry Paterlini tied up defenceman Drew Doughty at the point, allowing Rutheman to skate in on a two-on-one with Martin Pluss and beat Brodeur with a blast off the far post.
A delayed penalty was about to be called on Pronger and Canada was scrambling it its own zone when fear flashed through the crowd and the private box holding general manager Steve Yzerman and the Team Canada braintrust as van Gunten threw the puck at the net and saw it go in off Marleau's skate to tie the game.
Hiller was brilliant as Canada held an 18-3 shot advantage in the third, making back-to-back huge saves on Ducks teammates Corey Perry and Getzlaf with eight minutes to play. Then there was another save on a Heatley one-timer. With the third period ticking down, Crosby just missed tapping in a Rick Nash pass at the post.
Only 34 seconds into the 4-on-4, five-minute overtime, Nash crashed skates-first into Hiller's head, but the shaken goalie was able to resume play and take it to a shootout.
Canada got its first goals against Switzerland since a 6-1 win at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France.
Marc-Andre Fleury dressed as Canada's backup goalie while Roberto Luongo, who shut out Norway, did not dress.
|Arena||Canada Hockey Place
||City, Country||Vancouver, B.C., CAN|
|Date||Thursday, February 18, 2010
||Time||4:30 p.m. PT|
|Goals & Penalties/ Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période|
|Second Period/Deuxième période|
|Third Period/Troisième période|
|Shootout/Tirs de barrage|
SUI Hnat Domenichelli NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
CAN Sidney Crosby NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
SUI Romano Lemm NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
CAN Jonathan Towes NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
SUI Roman Wick NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
CAN Ryan Getzlaf NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
SUI Martin Pluss NO GOAL/AUCUN BUT
CAN Sidney Crosby GOAL/BUT
|Goaltenders/Gardiens de but|