The Olympic Hockey that has been displyed so far has been absolutely phenominal. The best of the best for all countries have made for some extremely entertaining and wildly exciting hockey. Yes, we’ve had the blowouts, but yesterday’s game between Switzerland and Canada was a game that had that playoff atmosphere about it.
Canada needed a shootout to finally beat the Swiss, may have taken their opponents for granted, or just weren’t prepared for the matchup. Of course it doesn’t hurt to mention that Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks was almost perfect in goal stopping 43 of 45 shots during regulation. Some of the saves he made had you shaking your head, but also confirming why Anaheim was able to trade J.S. Giguere. This guy is solid!
Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau scored for Canada in the second as they headed out to a 2-0 lead after a scoreless first period. Ivo Ruthemann scored for the Swiss and then just 10 seconds before the second period ended Patrick von Gunten tied things up on a shot that had deflected off of Patrick Marleau’s skate. From here forward, this game just became even more of a dogfight, and actually gave the Swiss quite the momentum as we headed to the third period.
In the third, each team traded scoring chances, but it was Hiller who made a couple incredible stops on his Anaheim teammates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry that sent this game to overtime. Don’t get me wrong, as Marty Brodeur had to be just as solid, but clearly Hiller was on his game for this one.
Sidney Crosby scored the winner in the shootout for Canada on his second try as he was stopped on his first attempt as were Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks who hardly ever misses, and Ryan Getzlaf. Canada’s victory earns them two points as opposed to the three that are awarded for regulation victories, and now places them in second place with five points behind the U.S. and sets up their matchup for first place on Sunday.
As for the U.S. and their game against Norway, former New Jersey Devil and current Detroit Red Wing defenceman Brian Rafalski was the headliner in this one as he scored two goals on the way to a 6-1 victory. Maple Leaf Phil Kessel got the scoring underway quickly by scoring within the first three minutes of play to give the U.S. the lead and they never looked back. Chris Drury of the Rangers and Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks scored as well, and Ryan Malone of Tampa scored in his second consecutive game for the U.S. squad.
Ryan Miller was solid again in goal, and was tested a bit in the first period, but was up to the challenge as he twice stopped chances by Norway’s Jonas Anderson, preventing the game from taking a change in course. A side note for Chris Drury, as this was his 14th Olympic game, and his first Olympic goal.
Now the matchup that we’ve been waiting for as the U.S. takes on Canada Sunday evening. While it’s a sure bet that Buffalo’s Ryan Miller gets the nod for the U.S., I am not so sure that Brodeur gets the call for Canada. Just something makes me think that Coach Mike Babcock chooses Roberto Luongo. My hope however is that Marty gets the call. While he may not have been perfect in this game against the Swiss, he was when he had to be.
And from what we have seen in the past, in the big games, and when it counts, Brodeur is the guy you want in goal.
Thanks for reading.