Canada blanks Sweden, bags men’s hockey gold

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby scored for the first time in the tournament while Carey Price stopped 24 shots to lead Canada to a 3-0 win over Sweden in Sunday’s gold-medal game of the men’s hockey event at the Sochi Winter Games.

Chris Kunitz also scored his first Olympic goal in the third period as Canada became the first repeat gold-medal winner since the Soviet Union/Unified Team won three in a row from 1984-92.

Price, who did not give up a goal in the final 164:19 of the tournament, was named the best goaltender of the tournament by the IIHF, and led all goaltenders with a 0.59 goals-against average and .972 save percentage.

“For us to be able to execute on the biggest stage and play the way we did, and there was lots of complaints early that we didn’t score, I thought we were dominant,” Canada coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we played great.”

The Canadians scored 17 goals in six games. They beat Finland, Latvia and the United States by one goal each despite dominating time of possession, chances for and against, and shots on goal in all of the games.

“When you talk about great defense sometimes we get confused,” Babcock said. “Great defense means you play defense fast and you have the puck all the time so you’re always on offense.”

Sweden was forced to play without its top center, Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, who, according to team officials, was suspended by the International Olympic Committee because of a failed drug test.

Backstrom, who was tested Wednesday after the quarterfinal win against Slovenia, said he has been taking an over-the-counter allergy medication, Zyrtec-D, for the past seven years, but the level of pseudoephedrine found in his urine was deemed too high by the IOC.

For the second straight Olympic gold-medal game, Toews gave Canada the lead in the first period, doing it 12:55 into the game when he got his stick down to redirect Jeff Carter’s hard pass out of the right circle.

Crosby gave Canada a 2-0 lead 15:43 into the second period by converting on a breakaway that he created for himself with a smart defensive play at the Sweden blue line.

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