USA Beats Canada 5-3, Wins Pool
VANCOUVER - A sign at Canada Hockey Place read, "This is our game." But the Americans came into Canada's home and stole it Sunday by posting their first Olympic win over Canada in 50 years on a 5-3 decision.
"It feels great to win in an atmosphere like this and to be able to now set the bar high for us going into the quarterfinals," said U.S. defenseman Brian Rafalski, who had a pair of goals.
In Canada, this has probably been the most-talked about hockey tournament in the country's history and the arena was a sea of loud, boisterous fans attired in Team Canada sweaters.
"This proves to ourselves, a young team, when we are up against a daunting task we can play our game," USA forward David Backes said. "But this is one game and we had to scratch and claw for everything we had.
Canada got a goal by Crosby with 3:09 remaining, and the win wasn't assured until Ryan Kesler scored an empty-netter on a diving poke of the puck.
With a 3-0 record, the Americans win their pool and earn a bye into the quarterfinal finals. They will be seeded either first or second, depending upon what happens in the Sweden-Finland game.
Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made 42 saves to lead the USA to its most important victory on Canadian soil since it defeated Canada in Montreal to win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
"Maybe there will be a little less yelling on the streets," Backes said. "Friday night, walking back to the hotel was a little scary at times. Wore a USA Hockey shirt and I had to get my wife under my wing and scoot through."
U.S. coach Ron Wilson said he believed it was the best game he has seen Miller play.
"He makes four or five huge saves a game and he did that tonight," Wilson said.