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USA vs. Canada was a perfect end to Vancouver Olympics: Eh No. 1

The USA vs. Canada gold medal hockey game did not disappoint, with Canada winning, 3-2, in overtime to end the Vancouver Olympics. It was a gold the host nation richly deserved.

By Staff writer / February 28, 2010

Drew Doughty skates with the Canadian flag after the USA vs. Canada gold medal hockey match at the Vancouver Olympics Sunday. Canada beat the USA, 3-2, in overtime.

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Vancouver, British Columbia

What the United States hockey team fought against valiantly for three periods – indeed for the whole tournament – became as inescapable as a wrecking ball once overtime started: Canada is the best hockey team in the world.

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Canada beat the United States, 3-2, in overtime in Sunday's gold-medal game, ending a memorable afternoon – and a memorable 17 days – for both the victor and the vanquished. The gold medal was Canada's 14th, a Winter Olympics record. The silver was America's 37th total medal, also a Winter Olympics record.

In a country that helped pioneer the notion of international peacekeeping in places of conflict, the result could not have been more appropriate: You set your record, we set our record, and everyone goes away happy.

The game itself exemplified this Canadian spirit, which will stand as the enduring memory of these Games: Canada beat the world, but nicely.

Sure, Canada beat the US in hockey Sunday. But what American could not be proud of what happened on the ice? Canada is a team of Michael Jordans. The US is a team of Scottie Pippens and Steve Kerrs. Talented, absolutely. Franchise players, no.

Yet the US stood toe-to-toe with with them for three periods. While not reaching the pure entertainment value of the first USA-Canada game, it was better fundamental hockey. The teams were no longer trying to remember who was sitting in the locker next to them. They were teams.

Canada scored twice. The US pulled one back. And then with less than a minute left and the goalie pulled, Zach Parise but a stick on a pinging puck and slid it by Canada's Roberto Luongo.

But even in that comeback were the seeds of America's undoing. In short, the US needed to do the extraordinary just to score.

When overtime came, and the four-on-four format opened more ice (with each team having to play with one less player), the Canadians' skill told. The US simply could not keep up with them, and as the period progressed the ice tilted toward the American goal.

The goal, which seemed increasingly inevitable, was, as Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky's heir apparent, added gold to his recent Stanley Cup silverware.

Canada wins Canada's game

But who dares argue with the result?

Moments after the game, the No. 6 search term on America-dominated Google was "what is icing in hockey," followed closely by "how many periods in Olympic hockey"? America might as well have been asking: What is hockey?

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