Canada hangs on for 3-2 win, will play for Olympic gold

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

VAN­COU­VER (CP) — It was close, but Team Canada gets to go for gold at the Van­cou­ver Olympics.

Ryan Get­zlaf scored a goal and set up an­other as the Cana­dian men took a lead and then sur­vived a wild third-pe­riod come­back to de­feat Slo­vakia 3-2 in semi­fi­nal action Fri­day night.

Canada, looking to avenge a 5-3 loss in round-robin play, will take on the United States in an all-North Amer­i­can fi­nal Sun­day in the first Olympic tour­na­ment played on an NHL-size rink. The U.S. trounced Fin­land 6-1 ear­lier Fri­day.

The same teams met in the fi­nal of the last Win­ter Games held in North Amer­ica in 2002 in Salt Lake City, where Canada pre­vailed 5-2.

”It gives us an op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing we didn’t do last time,” U.S. de­fence­man Brian Rafal­ski said of the Salt Lake de­feat.

Pa­trick Mar­leau and Bren­den Mor­row also scored for Canada in a game they dom­i­nated at both ends of the ice for two pe­ri­ods against a Slo­vak team that kept the score down by stay­ing back and build­ing a de­fen­sive wall in front of goal­tender Jaroslav Halak.

Canada out­shot Slo­vakia 2821.

The Slo­vaks opened up their at­tack and made it a game in the third as Lubomir Vis­novsky caught goal­tender Roberto Luongo nap­ping for a goal and Michal Handzus cut the lead to 3-2 with 4:53 left to play.

Vis­novsky scored unas­sisted at 11:35 of the third when Luongo failed to cover his post as the Slo­vak de­fence­man back­handed the puck from a tight an­gle. It was only Slo­vakia’s 13th shot of the game.

Then Richard Zed­nik won a bat­tle for the puck with Drew Doughty, wheeled in front for a shot and saw Handzus score on the re­bound.

Un­til then, it looked like it would be a rou­tine win for Canada, which started ner­vously but by five min­utes in were con­trol­ling the play.

Slo­vakia, play­ing for a medal for the first time at an Olympics, will meet Fin­land for bronze to­day.

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