News

Canada, U.S. primed for Olympic grudge match

Canada, U.S. primed for Olympic grudge match

GOING FOR THE GOLD: GOING FOR THE GOLD: USA defenseman Ryan Suter celebrates Team USA's 5-2 win over the Czech Republic with goaltender Jonathan Quick after the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP USA defenseman Ryan Suter celebrates Team USA's 5-2 win over the Czech Republic with goaltender Jonathan Quick after the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Sochi, Russia. Photo: Associated Press

By Steve Keating

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Canada and the United States were preparing to take centre stage at the Sochi Winter Games in a mouth-watering men’s ice hockey grudge match on Friday with the winners earning a shot at Olympic gold.

Thousands of miles and nine times zones away, hockey-mad Canadians – still buzzing from a stunning 3-2 overtime win over the United States in the women’s final on Thursday – were waking up to another day of compelling action on the ice.

“You don’t give in, you do not give in,” Canada coach Mike Babcock told reporters following a pre-game skate when asked if his team would take anything from the women’s comeback victory over the Americans.

SPECIAL SECTION: 2014 Olympics

“You just keep on keeping on,” he said. “Is it going to go your way every time? No, but you choose your attitude, how hard you are going to perform and you dig in.

“I am pumped.”

And so is the entire country.

Businesses across the Great White North are expected to empty and bars will fill to capacity as millions of hockey fans tune in to watch the first meeting between the North American rivals since Canada claimed the Olympic title four years ago in Vancouver with a golden goal from Sidney Crosby.

The stakes will be nearly as high on Friday at the futuristic Bolshoy Ice Dome with the winners advancing to Sunday’s final against Finland or Sweden, who face off in the other semi.

Both teams enter the do-or-die contest unbeaten but arrived in the final four in contrasting fashions, the Americans blasting to a comfortable 5-2 win over the Czech Republic and Canada surviving a scare from tiny Latvia before edging through 2-1.

Canada and the United States have clashed 17 times on Olympic ice with Canada winning 11.

When the Americans beat Canada 5-3 in the preliminary round at the Vancouver Games it marked their first Olympic victory over their northern neighbors in 50 years.

The United States are led by the tournament’s leading scorer Phil Kessel, who has five goals and three assists in four games, while Canada have leaned heavily on a defense anchored by Drew Doughty and Shea Weber.

Canada are trying to win their first Olympic gold medal outside North America in 62 years and become the first country since the 1988 Soviets to defend their crown.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Kevin Spacey’s stalker sentenced to 4 years

kevin

A Massachusetts woman who threatened to torture the actor has been sentenced to more than four years behind bars.

in Music

Maine mayor wants to show Tim McGraw where Portland is

mcgraq

The country star has been offered a personal tour by the local mayor after suggesting he has no idea where the city is in a new song.

in Music

Chris Hemsworth to play doc ‘haunted’ by Hank Williams

hemsworth

The actor has optioned rights to Steve Earle's book "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive," to produce and star in the adaptation.

in Music

George Hamilton IV dead at 77

hamilto

Hamilton last performed at the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 6, just days before his death.

in Entertainment

Nick Cannon’s $2M – yes, $2 million! – shoes

cannon

The shoes hold more than 14,000 full-cut diamonds set in white gold with a weight of 340 carats.