Iginla scored three as Team Canada romps to 8-0 victory over Nor­way

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

VAN­COU­VER (CP) — Team Canada de­liv­ered a crowd-pleas­ing per­for­mance af­ter step­ping on to the big­gest stage in in­ter­na­tional hockey.

Home­town hero Roberto Luongo stopped all 15 shots he faced and Canada showed off a va­ri­ety of of­fen­sive weapons Tues­day, kick­ing off the long-awaited Olympic tour­na­ment with an 8-0 victory over Nor­way at Canada Hockey Place, bet­ter known as GM Place when the Olympics are not in town.

Jarome Iginla had a hat trick, Dany Heat­ley scored twice while Mike Richards, Ryan Get­zlaf and Corey Perry each added sin­gles for a young Cana­dian team that looked fairly com­posed af­ter skat­ing into the spot­light for the first time.

The an­tic­i­pa­tion had been build­ing for Cana­dian hockey fans since the coun­try crashed out of the Turin Olympics four years ago with a dis­as­trous sev­enth-place fin­ish, the worst-ever in his­tory. It was worth the wait.

Even though the roof didn’t come off Canada Hockey Place, as Nor­we­gian cap­tain Tommy Jakob­sen pre­dicted it might, the crowd roared through­out the game and al­ter­nated be­tween chants of “Go Canada Go!” and “Let’s Go Canada!”

The ma­jor­ity of fans showed up in Team Canada jer­seys, paint­ing the in­side of the arena a pa­tri­otic red and white.

“There was much more elec­tric­ity (than nor­mal). This is big for Canada,” said Luongo.

It was a mar­vel­lous plat­form for Cana­dian hockey — even though the Nor­we­gians didn’t play the part of will­ing vic­tim early on. The un­der­dogs showed plenty of pluck in the first pe­riod, clog­ging the neu­tral zone and col­laps­ing around goalie Pal Grotnes to keep Canada from scor­ing.

Grotnes, a part-time car­pen­ter in his home­land, made a big glove save on Sid­ney Crosby late in the first pe­riod to keep the score 0-0 through 20 min­utes.

The Cana­dian team only had one prac­tice to­gether as a group and fea­tured 15 play­ers skat­ing in their first ever Olympic game, so a lit­tle slop­pi­ness was to be ex­pected. The at­tack started looking more organized in the sec­ond pe­riod and the Cana­di­ans were quick to pour it on.

Iginla opened the scor­ing at 2:30 by one­tim­ing a pass from Crosby be­hind a screened Grotnes, touch­ing off an en­er­getic cel­e­bra­tion from a sta­dium that was start­ing to get a bit edgy. Less than two min­utes later, Heat­ley tipped home a Pronger shot be­fore Richards made it 3-0 by whack­ing the puck through the legs of the be­sieged Nor­we­gian goalie at 11:06.

Luongo wasn’t very busy at the other end, but looked sharp when needed. The Van­cou­ver Canucks goalie was ser­e­naded with chants of “Lu­u­uuu!” af­ter al­most ev­ery save and man­aged to keep Nor­way off the score­board dur­ing a five-on-three that lasted 48 sec­onds in the mid­dle pe­riod.

The party truly started when the puck was dropped at the beginning of the third pe­riod.

Get­zlaf chased Grotnes af­ter scor­ing at 4:29, chas­ing Grotnes from the goal, be­fore Heat­ley scored his sec­ond of the night with a wicked shot that beat backup An­dre Ly­sen­stoen high at 6:43. Fur­ther goals by Iginla and Perry had fans danc­ing in the aisles, many no doubt hop­ing that this Olympic tour­na­ment might end up with a golden mo­ment for the home team.

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