News

Canada, U.S. primed for Olympic grudge match

Canada, U.S. primed for Olympic grudge match

GOING FOR THE GOLD: GOING FOR THE GOLD: USA defenseman Ryan Suter celebrates Team USA's 5-2 win over the Czech Republic with goaltender Jonathan Quick after the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP USA defenseman Ryan Suter celebrates Team USA's 5-2 win over the Czech Republic with goaltender Jonathan Quick after the men's quarterfinal hockey game in Shayba Arena at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Sochi, Russia. Photo: Associated Press

By Steve Keating

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Canada and the United States were preparing to take centre stage at the Sochi Winter Games in a mouth-watering men’s ice hockey grudge match on Friday with the winners earning a shot at Olympic gold.

Thousands of miles and nine times zones away, hockey-mad Canadians – still buzzing from a stunning 3-2 overtime win over the United States in the women’s final on Thursday – were waking up to another day of compelling action on the ice.

“You don’t give in, you do not give in,” Canada coach Mike Babcock told reporters following a pre-game skate when asked if his team would take anything from the women’s comeback victory over the Americans.

SPECIAL SECTION: 2014 Olympics

“You just keep on keeping on,” he said. “Is it going to go your way every time? No, but you choose your attitude, how hard you are going to perform and you dig in.

“I am pumped.”

And so is the entire country.

Businesses across the Great White North are expected to empty and bars will fill to capacity as millions of hockey fans tune in to watch the first meeting between the North American rivals since Canada claimed the Olympic title four years ago in Vancouver with a golden goal from Sidney Crosby.

The stakes will be nearly as high on Friday at the futuristic Bolshoy Ice Dome with the winners advancing to Sunday’s final against Finland or Sweden, who face off in the other semi.

Both teams enter the do-or-die contest unbeaten but arrived in the final four in contrasting fashions, the Americans blasting to a comfortable 5-2 win over the Czech Republic and Canada surviving a scare from tiny Latvia before edging through 2-1.

Canada and the United States have clashed 17 times on Olympic ice with Canada winning 11.

When the Americans beat Canada 5-3 in the preliminary round at the Vancouver Games it marked their first Olympic victory over their northern neighbors in 50 years.

The United States are led by the tournament’s leading scorer Phil Kessel, who has five goals and three assists in four games, while Canada have leaned heavily on a defense anchored by Drew Doughty and Shea Weber.

Canada are trying to win their first Olympic gold medal outside North America in 62 years and become the first country since the 1988 Soviets to defend their crown.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

Fresh
A Palestinian firefighter reacts as he tries to put out a fire at Gaza's main power plant, which witnesses said was hit in Israeli shelling, in the central Gaza Strip July 29, 2014.

Israel knocked out Gaza's only power plant, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist militants in the enclave.

in Sports

Star sprinter Torrin Lawrence dies at 25

FILE - In this June 20, 2013 file photo, Torrin Lawrence reacts after his heat in the senior men's 400-meter dash at the U.S. Championships athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa. Former University of Georgia 400-meter runner Torrin Lawrence died in a car accident early Monday, July 28, 2014 in Cordele, Ga. He was 25.

Celebrated track star Torrin Lawrence has been killed in a tragic road accident in Georgia.

in National

U.S. marshals, police wounded, fugitive dead in NYC gunfight

A New York Police Officer stands guard inside a cordoned area at the site of a shooting in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York on July 28, 2014.

Two U.S. marshals and a New York police detective were wounded and a fugitive wanted on sex abuse charges was killed in a shootout in Greenwich Village.

in National, World

U.S says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Monday, June 17, 2013. Obama and Putin discussed the ongoing conflict in Syria during their bilateral meeting.

In another sign of deteriorating relations, the U.S. government claims that Moscow has violated the Cold War treaty.

in National, World

Civilians killed in eastern Ukraine amid fierce fighting

Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard on the suburbs of Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region on July 28, 2014.

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine kills at least 19 civilians.