Canada retain Olympic title
Canada retained their Winter Olympic ice hockey title with a convincing 3-0 win over Sweden at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi.
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Goals from Jonathan Toews, captain Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz made it three gold medals in the last four Olympics for the Canadians, thus polishing their credentials as the world's top hockey nation.
However, Mike Babcock's side would surely have expected more of a game from their opponents although they started much the busier team against a highly-fancied Canada team who had beaten traditional rivals USA 1-0 in the semi-final.
When Carl Hagelin struck the post before Canadian netminder Carey Price gratefully grasped at the puck to end the danger, it looked like the Swedes were in the mood to cause an upset.
However, Canada slowly asserted themselves and Patrice Bergeron also hit the upright before they edged in front.
After 12 minutes and 55 seconds of the first period, Toews, the 25-year-old Chicago Blackhawks captain, sneaked them ahead following an assist from Jeff Carter and they may have added a second only for Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to foil Matt Duchene.
Sweden's Jonathan Ericsson had a two-minute spell in the sin bin for holding an opponent with Kunitz also sidelined for the same time for high sticking but it was a mostly unremarkable first period.
With Kunitz still serving some of his punishment at the start of the second period, Sweden swarmed around the Canadian goal but when parity of numbers was restored Canada were back on top
Sweden's Jakob Silfverberg earned himself a two-minute penalty for delaying the game but Babcock's men remained imposing even if the statistics suggested a more even encounter.
There was no surprise when national hero Crosby, who grabbed the gold-medal winning goal in a unforgettable sudden-death final victory over the USA in Vancouver, 2010, made it 2-0, racing clear on the break before beating Lundqvist with an unstoppable shot.
When Sweden's Patrik Berglund had to sit out two minutes for boarding, it hampered their chances of getting back into the game and they faced a fraught final period which quickly became stretched.
It always looked more likely Sweden would lose a third than get back in to the game and indeed Kunitz flashed the puck past Lundqvist to seal the deserved win for Canada.