VANCOUVER, B.C. — The United States’ dream died hard here Sunday. Sidney Crosby scored a goal at 12:20 of overtime to lift Team Canada to a 3-2 win over the United States in the gold-medal game Sunday.
It’s the first men’s hockey gold medal for Canada on home soil and re-establishes the nation’s supremacy in that sport.
In a remarkable game that had a sold-out crowd on edge throughout, the U.S. tied the scored with 24.4 seconds left on a goal by Zach Parise to force overtime.
But Canada kept the pressure on throughout overtime with its top line of Crosby, who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup last spring, and Jarome Iginla on the ice most of the time.
Those two teamed for the winning goal, Iginla getting the assist as Crosby shot it just under U.S. goalie Ryan Miller. Miller’s superb play had led a young American team past all expectations and into the gold-medal game.
The silver was only the second medal in hockey for the U.S. in 30 years.
Expectant fans stood on their feet throughout the final minutes of regulation, counting down to the hoped-for gold.
The U.S. pulled goalie Miller with about 1:30 to play, and kept the pressure on throughout. Finally, Parise rebounded in a shot by Patrick Kane that Jamie Langenbrunner also got a piece of to tie it up. Parise was about five feet away and got it past Luongo, who was playing on home ice. Luongo is the goalie for the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL.
That forced a 20-minute sudden-death overtime.
Canada dominated much of the first period, and scored with 7:10 left when Jonathan Towes rebounded in a shot by Mike Richards, who had gotten the puck when the Americans turned it over on an errant pass near their own goal.
That was the first time in the tournament that the Americans had been behind.
Canada took a 2-0 lead about seven minutes into the period from Corey Perry, who took a pass from Ryan Getzlaf that went off the stick of Ryan Whitney for the U.S.
And maybe some in the arena figured the rout was on.
But the U.S. showed resilience, scoring about five minutes later, with 7:16 remaining in the period, when Ryan Kesler deflected a pass from Patrick Kane off the chest of Luongo and into the net. The puck just trickled over as Luongo tried to control it.
In some ways, the U.S. played better in this game than it had in beating Canada a week ago, when it was outshot 45-23 despite winning 5-3 as the teams were even in shots most of the day.
It was the first gold for Canada since 2002 when it beat the U.S. 5-2 in Salt Lake City, but just its second since 1952. Canada has now won eight overall.
The game could be the last time NHL players participate in the Olympics. The league is considering not stopping play for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia. This was the fourth Olympics in which NHL players participated.
Bob Condotta:Seattle Times