U.S. men's hockey team claims first win over Canada in 50 years at Winter Olympics

15:01, February 22, 2010      

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The United States men's ice hockey team claimed its first victory over Canada at the Winter Olympics in 50 years, holding off the host of the Vancouver Games 5-3 here on Sunday.

Brian Rafalski of the Detroit Red Wings scored his third and fourth goals of this tournament in the first period to lead the United States into the quarter-finals of the Winter Olympics with their third straight pool A win and a sweet revenge for the gold medal game loss to the Canadians at the Salt Lake City Games eight years ago.

"It took me 60 games to get four in the NHL. I don't know what's going on," said the 36-year-old defenseman, who broke the deadlock 41 seconds into the game with an accurate long shot past Canadian goalie Martin Brodeur. Twenty seconds after Eric Staal leveled the score for Canada, Rafalski pulled his team ahead again with another long shot.

"I think it's just going in for me. I'm a streaky goal scorer," Rafalski added.

Dany Heatley scored on a rebound from a Jonathan Toews shot three minutes and 32 seconds into the second period to make it 2-2, but the United States regained the lead on a wild Chris Drury goal at 16:46.

United States enlarged its lead thanks to Jamie Langenbrunner's great work in front of the net, deflecting a Ryan Suter slap shot from the point at 7:09 of the third.

Canadian "Golden Boy" Sidney Crosby finally found his touch assisted by Rick Nash on the power play to cut the deficit to 4-3 with three minutes and nine seconds left in the game, only to find Ryan Kesler score the empty net goal after Brodeur was removed for an extra attacker to end the game.

In a face-to-face fight between the world's best goaltenders, Brodeur was outperformed by Miller, who saved 42 shots in 45 attempts.

"It was probably one of the biggest games I've ever played in," said Miller. "Hopefully it provides the confidence we need moving forward."

Failing to finish in top four among the 12 teams competing in the preliminary stage, the Canadians have to play an extra qualifying game for their berth in the quarter-finals.

"It is probably not where we wanted to come in. But that is where we are now," said Crosby. "When you get to this point in the tournament it is not going to be easy and the fact we have to play an extra game isn't a terrible thing and we will be ready for it."

Source: Xinhua
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