February 20, 2014 by The Waterboy Report
By Luca Rosano
A rivalry that has risen to great heights over time, Team Canada vs. Team USA is easily the best showdown in men’s Olympic hockey today.
With the two nations set to meet once again in the semifinals in Sochi on Friday, let’s take a look at the five best Team Canada vs. Team USA Men’s Olympic hockey moments up until this point.
This illusive rivalry first began at the 1920 Olympics and that’s where Canada first set the tone. The two countries met in the semifinal as Canada defeated the Americans 2-0 and would later defeat Sweden 12-1 in the gold-medal game. Both of these countries polarized its competition that year and were evenly matched. This game was monumental because it opened the gateway to this historic rivalry.
USA finally got the better of Canada at the Olympics, taking more than 30 years to do so. Team USA only won the silver that year, however they would finally outlast its rival as they scored a 4-1 victory over Canada, which led the Canadians to a very rare bronze medal. The Soviet Union would win gold.
This was the first year that NHL players played in the tournament. Canada and USA were in the same group as the Canadians defeated the Americans in their only matchup that year 4-1 in group play. At this point, the Canadians were still dominating the Americans, going 9-2-3 vs. USA in Olympic hockey. However, this was a big moment in this heated rivalry because the Americans were starting to show signs of life and were starting to come along as a possible threat to Canada’s supremacy.
The Olympics were back on American soil that year in Salt Lake City. This American team was more physical and better than ever, but Chris Chelios and company still weren’t able to dethrone its mighty competitors on the grandest stage. Close but no cigar, as the Canadians spoiled the American’s party on home ice by defeating them 5-2 to win its first gold since 1952.
This is where the rivalry hit its pinnacle. Canada had assembled its best team to date, but the Americans were also on the rise with its newly rejuvenated young talent. The Americans first pulled off the upset by defeating Canada 5-3 in pool play to win the group and entered the knockout round as the top seed. This setting the stage for what many called the greatest hockey game ever played. Ryan Miller played lights out and the Americans, thanks to a late Zack Parise goal forced the game into overtime. Then the goal heard around the world happened. Sidney Crosby’s golden goal got the best of Ryan Miller and won gold for Canada in Vancouver.
The Americans will now look to seek redemption over Canada this time around and add yet another chapter to this terrific rivalry.