Despite a good start in the round robin, the Canadian team fell in a shootout to the Czech Republic in the semifinals and played a mediocre bronze medal game, disappointing Canadians who hoped for Wayne Gretzky to win an Olympic medal. The Czech Republic won the gold medal after defeating Russia in the final match. Martin Brodeur from Canada and Jaroslav Halak from the Czech Republic were selected as the best goalies.
Canada's silver medal was its first since 1968. The country has not won more than one gold medal at any single Olympics before today. There are still two weeks left in these Games; who knows what will happen then? For now, we can all enjoy this moment of glory for our favorite hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
Both games were played on a Sunday, which was a coincidence. The Canada-USA final was deadlocked at 2-2 until Canada scored three goals in the closing minute to win 5-2. It was only the second time in 70 years that the US men's hockey team has lost an Olympic game at home. The other time was 1980, when they fell to Finland 7-3.
The event took place at the Salt Lake City Olympics. Canada won its third gold medal in four attempts. The US squad finished with two silver medals and are still searching for their first victory at these Games.
You may know that American athletes have no chance of winning a gold medal if they play in the NHL. The same thing happened in 2002: The Americans were shut out by Canada in both games they played. However, since both teams had already claimed their spots in the quarterfinals, the winner of each game would advance regardless of the result of the series. So even though America didn't win a single match at these Games, the country still earned the right to fight for gold in the next round.
Here are the scores of the US-Canada ice hockey matches at the Salt Lake City Olympics:
Game 1: USA 5, Canada 2
Game 2: USA 4, Canada 3 (end-of-game penalties)
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the sole gold medal won by Russians has been under the banner of the Unified Team in 1992. In fact, they haven't won a hockey medal of any color since a bronze medal in Salt Lake City in 2002. That year, the US overcame Russia 3-2 before falling to Canada in the gold-medal game.
The last time Russia played for a gold medal was at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. They were defeated by Canada in the final, who went on to win the tournament.
Russia hasn't finished in the top two since 1976 when they took home the silver medal.
They've been ranked first or second in most international tournaments over the past decade, but have never been able to capture the world's attention with a championship trophy.
Despite being one of the most popular sports in Russia, hockey is not officially an Olympic sport. It made its debut at the 1920 Paris Games as a demonstration event for athletes from Canada, Czechoslovakia, the United States, and Switzerland. The Russian team was formed only five years later, so they weren't able to take part in that first edition of the Olympics.
At the 1952 Helsinki Games, ice hockey became an official Olympic sport. However, Russia didn't join in until 1994 when they entered a men's team. Women's hockey made its debut at the 1998 Nagano Games and Russia has participated in every edition of the Olympics since then.
Canada won gold in a shootout over Finland for the first time since 1961. This was Canada's 20th global ice hockey championship. The United Kingdom returned to Group A for the first time since 1962, but failed to score a single point. Russia remained undefeated after three games, but lost all its subsequent matches.
Finland's silver medal was its fourth straight appearance in the top two spots, while Canada's third place finish was its sixth in seven attempts. This was also the first time that Canada had finished with more than one win and loss record during the tournament. It was also the first time that Canada had defeated Sweden in eleven tries in international competition.
The Canadians were led by their superstar center Wayne Gretzky, who had been voted MVP after scoring nine goals and adding ten assists in six games. The Finns relied on veteran forwards Jari Kurri and Teemu Selanne, who both had spectacular seasons. In fact, they were the only players from either team to score more than four goals throughout the entire tournament. Canada's roster included five other players who had scored at least three times each, while Finland had six such performers on its squad.
In the end, it was Finland's goal differential (plus-15) that proved to be the difference between the two nations.