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United States upsets Canada, advances in Olympic hockey tournament

VANCOUVER — Canada brought all the heavy hitters, the bigger names from the goalie on out. And the United States,

United States 2 1 2 5
Canada 1 1 1 3
young and unknown, and finally committed to a two-way, physical game, gave the Olympic hosts a historic case of angst.

The United States pulled off its biggest men's hockey upset since 1980's Miracle on Ice, upending Canada 5-3 Sunday night to advance to the quarterfinals. Defenseman Brian Rafalski of the Red Wings scored two goals and set up one, and goalie Ryan Miller of the Sabres held off a flurry of shots to lead the Americans.

"We know we can beat anybody now," Rafalski said.

One day short of the 30th anniversary of the country's greatest hockey victory — the unfathomable win over the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, N.Y. — and wearing uniforms that were nearly identical to those worn by the 1960 gold-medal winning team, these Americans were faster, more disciplined and more determined than Canada's collection of all-stars.

(The 1960 team was also the last to beat Canada in the Olympics, 2-1 on Feb. 25, 1960.)

Canada outshot the United States 45-23 yet couldn't badly dent Miller.

"It's probably one of the biggest games I've ever played," Miller said. "When things happened, we responded. We didn't get nervous or anxious. We kept playing."

After the Rangers' Chris Drury and the Devils' Jamie Langen­brunner scored to put the Americans up 4-2, the United States held off a relentless late surge by Canada that included Sidney Crosby's power-play goal with 3:09 left.

Ryan Kesler, playing in the city where he makes his NHL living, put the game away by swiping in an empty-net goal with one hand with 45 seconds remaining.

"(Miller) made some really key saves in the third period and was the difference," Canada and Hurricanes forward Eric Staal said.

Canada, a gold-medal favorite, must win a play-in game Tuesday to reach the quarterfinals. "Just like everybody in this tournament, we're playing to survive," coach Mike Babcock said. "If you lose, you go home."

United States 2 1 2 5
Canada 1 1 1 3
United States 2 1 2 5
Canada 1 1 1 3

First Period—1, United States, Brian Rafalski (Ryan Suter, Jamie Langenbrunner), 0:41. 2, Canada, Eric Staal (Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews), 8:53. 3, United States, Brian Rafalski (unassisted), 9:15. Penalties—Ryan Getzlaf, Canada (Interference), 3:41; Joe Pavelski, United States (High Sticking), 6:07.

Second Period—4, Canada, Dany Heatley (Jonathan Toews, Shea Weber), 3:32. 5, United States, Chris Drury (Bobby Ryan, David Backes), 16:46. Penalties—Eric Staal, Canada (Holding), 19:06.

Third Period—6, United States, Jamie Langenbrunner (Brian Rafalski, Ryan Suter), 7:09 (pp). 7, Canada, Sidney Crosby (Rick Nash, Duncan Keith), 16:51 (pp). 8, United States, Ryan Kesler (Zach Parise), 19:15 (en). Penalties—Sidney Crosby, Canada (High Sticking), 1:44; Corey Perry, Canada (Slashing), 6:05; Patrick Kane, United States (Hooking), 10:49; Erik Johnson, United States (tripping), 14:56.

Shots on Goal—United States 6-13-4—23. Canada 19-12-14—45. Goalies—Canada, Martin Brodeur. United States, Ryan Miller. Canada, Martin Brodeur, 59:15.

Russia 4, Czech Republic 2: Alex Ovechkin flattened Jaromir Jagr with a visor-breaking, center-ice hit that powered Russia right into the quarterfinals.

The open-ice smackdown by the NHL MVP was the spotlight moment of Russia's victory. Ovechkin also had two assists and Evgeni Malkin scored twice as Russia bounced back from a shootout loss to Slovakia.

Ovechkin, playing on a new line with Capitals teammate Alexander Semin and the Penguins' Malkin, rocked Canada Hockey Place when he throttled Jagr, a former NHL MVP and Stanley Cup winner now playing in Russia's KHL.

"I was not the only one going for it," Ovechkin said through an interpreter. "Every one of our players fought very strongly (Sunday) to win." The hit came just before Semin found Malkin in the right circle for a goal that made it 3-1 at 1:49 of the third. "I made one turnover there, and it cost us the game. I feel horrible," Jagr said. "I wish I had a concussion and just forget what happened, but I remember it."

Russia 1 1 2 4
Czech Republic 1 0 1 2
Russia 1 1 2 4
Czech Republic 1 0 1 2

First Period—1, Russia, Evgeni Malkin (Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin), 15:13 (pp). 2, Czech Republic, Tomas Plekanec (Patrik Elias, Tomas Kaberle), 19:06 (pp). Penalties—Petr Cajanek, Czech Republic (tripping), 10:46; Jaromir Jagr, Czech Republic (Holding), 14:38; Konstantin Korneyev, Russia (tripping), 18:07; Sergei Fedorov, Russia (tripping), 18:20.

Second Period—3, Russia, Viktor Kozlov (Alexander Radulov, Sergei Fedorov), 14:34. Penalties—Petr Cajanek, Czech Republic (High Sticking), 1:20; Alexander Semin, Russia (tripping), 10:53; Denis Grebeshkov, Russia (Interference), 16:39; Alexander Radulov, Russia (Charging), 18:53.

Third Period—4, Russia, Evgeni Malkin (Alexander Semin, Fedor Tyutin), 1:49. 5, Czech Republic, Milan Michalek (Marek Zidlicky, Miroslav Blatak), 14:51. 6, Russia, Pavel Datsyuk (Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin), 19:47. Penalties—Sergei Fedorov, Russia (Delaying the Game), 5:03.

Shots on Goal—Russia 12-7-12—31. Czech Republic 5-9-11—25. Goalies—Russia, Evgeni Nabokov. Czech Republic, Tomas Vokoun. Czech Republic, Tomas Vokoun, 59:47.

United States upsets Canada, advances in Olympic hockey tournament 02/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2010 12:30am]
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