Canadian Flames proud of golden effort
CALGARY, AB -- It was tough for the Canadian contingent of the Calgary Flames to hide their smiles on Sunday.
After all, Canada is golden once again.
“Another great moment in Canadian hockey history,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley began. “What a game. They played the perfect game. Sweden tried everything. Both teams left it out there but I think at the end, Team Canada was just too good. You look at Carey Price. He played great.
“You look at their blue line. You look at their forwards. They basically didn’t give them nothing and on top of this, they generated some offense from the first drop of the puck.”
Price’s 24-save shutout was complimented by a trio of goals from Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz -- each their first of the tournament -- lifted Canada to a 3-0 win over Sweden and their second consecutive gold medal finish at the Olympics.
Price didn't give up a goal in the final 164:19 of action in Sochi. He 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.
In total, Canada allowed just three goals throughout the six-game tournament and outshot opponents 241-129.
“It almost seemed like throughout the tournament they played the same game, stuck to their game plan,” said Sean Monahan, who represented Canada at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial. “It’s good to see those guys that are superstars get down and block a shot and do that for the country. It’s fun to watch and good to be a Canadian.”
The performance on Sunday was icing on the cake after Canada’s women repeated their golden performance from Vancouver in 2010, Monahan said.
“Obviously the women’s was a pretty exciting game there and it’s good to see the women get the gold first there and then the guys to follow that up,” the 19-year-old said. “I’m pretty proud to be a Canadian and witness that.”
Canada’s quest for gold wasn’t without worries, with their offensive abilities questioned.
They managed just 11 goals through three preliminary games and were held to two by Latvia in the quarterfinal. Canada scored just once -- all they'd need -- against the United States to advance to the final and earn the eventual gold in the 3-0 victory over Sweden.
And, as Joe Colborne pointed out, Canada was -- and remained -- flawless throughout with an airtight defense.
“It was, for me, not as worrisome as a lot of people were thinking,” he said. “You have a team that was looking that dominant and was not finishing, you know they were going to explode sooner or later. I thought they handled the pressure very well. That’s got to be tough. They were 5-0 and everyone was talking as if the sky was falling.
“The way the defense was playing, they didn’t give up almost any secondary chances and Price was playing awesome.”
Awesome enough to take home gold, it turns out, to the delight of Calgary's Canadians.
“Great effort from everyone,” Hartley said. “(I’m) real proud to be a Canadian.”