Canada! Gold Medal Champions!

On the golden anniversary of Canada's last Olympic gold medal, Canada celebrated with the gold.

Led by Jarome Iginla's physical play, Joe Sakic's scoring and the goaltending of Martin Brodeur, Team Canada ended 50 years of Olympic frustration with a 5-2 win over the hometown USA squad.

And as the last minute of play ran down in the arena, the Canadians in the crowd broke into the sweetest rendition of O Canada ever heard, sparking a wave of nationalism not seen since the 1972 Summit Series..

"There's just something to it, something so special," said Brodeur, who made a huge toe save on  Brett Hull during a power play preserved a slim one goal Canadian leadin the third period. "When I close my eyes at night over the next few years , I'm going to replay this moment. I'm going to cherish these two weeks being with some great athletes."

Iginla, the rugged Calgary Flames winger, scored two goals, added an assist and personified what Team Canada was all about as Canada reclaimed its place atop the hockey world.  Iginla was a physical force along the boards and displayed a relentless drive to the net, typifying the characteristics of Canadian hockey.

The Americans opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 at 8:49 of the first. A turnover inside the American line allowed Tony Amonte, the hero from the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, to break out. Amonte's low shot from the right circle slipped between Brodeur's pads.

Canada got that one back at 14:50 with the signature play of the Olympic tournament by the imaginative Mario Lemieux. Chris Pronger attempted to a goal mouth pass to Lemieux who simply let the puck slide by to an open Paul Kariya much to the surprise of the American defenders and goaltender Mike Richter.

With Team Canada up 2-1 specialty teams became the key to the game. Canada was in a great position to take control of the game when first Brett Hull was whistled off for high sticking and then Aaron Miller was sent off for high sticking half way through the original penalty.

Despite controlling the puck in the American zone for the entire 5-on-3, Canada couldn't score. The best chance came when Lemieux was left alone at the right post, but with Richter struggling to extend an arm, the puck hopped up on its edge and Lemieux's shot clanged off the outside of the post, much to his disbelief as much as the nation's..

"I couldn't believe it hit the post," said Lemieux, who had raised his hand in a gesture of helplessness. "I missed an open net and that's not something I've done a lot of over the years."

The Americans in the crowd exploded when the second penalty expired and erupted again three minutes later when USA defenceman Brian Rafalski tied the game at 15:30 when his shot hit the heel of Canadian defenceman Chris Pronger's stick and snuck between Brodeur's pads.

With the crowd energized, it seemed everything was going the Americans' way.

But at 16:30, special teams would enter the fray again.

American forward Jeremy Roenick chopped down Canadian forward Paul Kariya at the USA blue line. With one second left in his penalty, Sakic's wrist shot into a crowd in front of the net deflected behind Richter to make it 3-2.

Inginla got his second of the night with just under four minutes to go in the third and Sakic got his second of the game to ice the win with a 1:20 left.

After the game, Gretzky displayed a "Loonie" that had been buried at centre ice in the E-Center by the Canadian ice-making crew.

"It was buried there for luck and we got two gold medals out of it," said Gretzky, referring to the gold won by the Canadian women. "I don't know (if the icemaker) will get fired, but it was a cool idea."


Game Summary

 
Box Score Canada

2

1

2

5

  United States

1

1

0

2

First Period

Goals/:
08:49 USA Amonte (Weight, Poti)
14:54 CAN Kariya (Pronger, Lemieux)
18:33 CAN Iginla (Sakic, Gagné)

Penalties:
03:04 CAN Niedermayer (Interference)
10:03 CAN Fleury (Crosschecking)

Second Period

Goals/:
15:30 USA Rafalski (Modano) PP
18:22 CAN Sakic (Jovanovski, Blake)

Penalties:
09:27 USA Hull (Hooking)
10:19 USA Miller (High-sticking)
14:40 CAN MacInnnis (Interference)
17:30 USA Roenick (Tripping)

Third Period

Goals:
16:01 CAN Iginla (Yzerman, Sakic)
18:40 CAN Sakic (Iginla)

Penalties:
13:43 CAN Yzerman (Tripping)

 
Goaltenders Canada Martin Brodeur
  United States Mike Richter

   

First

Second

Third

Final

Shots on Goal by Canada

11

17

11

39

  United States

10

14

9

33


Officials Referee

Bill McCreary

  Linesmen

Michael Cvik, Antti Hamalainen


Attendance -