In the dying seconds of Canada’s men’s hockey game against Russia, the crowd stood on its feet chanting, “We want gold!”
After a 7-3 victory over their historic rivals — who they’ve bumped out of the tournament — they’re now only two games away from that dream.
It’s the game Canada wishes it had played against the United States on Sunday — aggressive and fast, with fewer turnovers, more breakaways, seamless passes, great goaltending and — most importantly — more goals.
“It feels real good to be back in the tournament,” said coach Mike Babcock. “I think we’re getting better. When I came here after the U.S. game, I didn’t think many people believed that.”
Babcock said the goal scored by Ryan Getzlaf in the first two minutes of the game set the team on the right track.
“We knew we were in for a tough battle,” he said. “We had the momentum of our crowd and we got off to a good start. We feel fortunate to be moving on.”
The expected showdown between Russia’s Alexander Ovechkin and Canada’s Sidney Crosby — arguably the two best players in the world — didn’t amount to much as neither player scored a goal.
“We always talk about the Canadian-Russia rivalry,” said Crosby. “We feel it more than ever in this building.”
As for hometown hero, goalie Roberto Luongo — he did let in three goals but to the fans it may as well have been a shut out as they chanted his name or jumped to their feet every time he touched the puck.
“It was an electric atmosphere,” he said of the crowd. “It gets you energized.”
The semi-finals take place on Friday. If Canada wins, they move on to the gold medal game on Sunday night. If they lose, they’ll be fighting for bronze.