By Josh Ferguson
Sidney Crosby brought an entire nation to their feet by burying a gold medal-winning goal in a 3-2 overtime win over the Americans in a back-and-forth cross-border final.
Canada picked up the lone goal of the opening frame when Jonathan Toews buried a rebound from a Mike Richards shot off of an American turnover in their own end.
Corey Perry made it a two-goal lead 7:13 into the second when U.S. defenseman Ryan Whitney deflected a Ryan Getzlaf attempt out front of the net. Perry picked up the loose puck in the slot and made no mistake by ripping it over the glove of American keeper Ryan Miller.
Team USA never wavered after going down 2-0 to the host nation and responded to the Perry marker five minutes later. Patrick Kane broke into the Canadian end and fired a wrist shot on-goal that a streaking Ryan Kesler deflected to fool Roberto Luongo and narrow the lead to one.
The Americans completed the comeback with their net empty in the dying seconds when Kane picked up a loose puck and fired it on net. The shot careened off of Jamie Langenbrunner’s skate and Zach Parise buried the rebound off past Luongo with 25 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
With 20 minutes of four-on-four action scheduled, the teams traded rushes from end-to-end to open a frantic final frame. Jarome Iginla picked up the puck on the half-boards in American territory before making a quick pass to a streaking Crosby. The 22-year-old phenom fired a quick shot through the wickets of a stunned Miller and Canada Hockey Place exploded in reaction to the golden-goal.
Luongo was the darling of the home crowd all tournament and he was solid in the gold medal game by stopping 34 of the 36 shots he faced. Meanwhile, Miller’s performance throughout the tournament – and the final – was one of the greatest by a goaltender in Olympic history. Miller stopped 36 of the 39 shots faced and only allowed eight goals in six games in the tournament.
It is the Canadian’s seventh gold medal in Olympic history and the first by a host nation since the Americans in 1980 at Lake Placid.
The win was a dream ending for the host nation who collected their 14th gold medal of the 2010 Games with the win in men’s hockey and surpass Norway (2002) and the Soviet Union (1976) to break the record for most gold medals won in a single Olympic Games.