On This Date in Sports February 28, 2010: Sidney's Golden Goal

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In a thriller, Canada wins the Gold Medal for Men’s Ice Hockey at the Winter Olympics. The Canadians were playing in front of their home fans in Vancouver with NHL stars against Team USA and leading 2-1 when Zach Parise scored with 25 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Canada would win the Gold Medal 3-2 on a goal by Sidney Crosby at 7:40 of OT. 


The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was the personification of the spirit of Canada, from the opening ceremonies, with Wayne Gretzky lighting the cauldron to the final events, these were Canada’s games. Canada had its most successful showing at the games, as they won 26 overall medals, including 14 Gold Medals that was the top among the 82 nations participating in the Vancouver games. This included a Gold Medal in Women’s Hockey. 


The unquestioned headline event of the 2010 Winter Olympics was the Men’s Hockey Tournament, which once again featured the top stars of the NHL. It was the fourth Olympics with the hockey professionals. The first tournament with the pros was in at Nagano in 1998, with Canada and the USA coming home empty-handed as the Czech Republic defeated Russia for the Gold, while Canada lost the Bronze to Finland. Four years later in Salt Lake City, order was restored as Canada won the Gold Medal by beating Team USA, with Russia grabbing the Bronze. At the Turin Games in 2006, it was all about Henrik Lundqvist as he led Sweden to a Gold Medal over Finland, with Russia again taking the Bronze Medal. 

During the Preliminary Rounds, Teemu Selanne of Finland became the All-Time Olympic in points scored with 37. In pool play, it was the USA that led the way, going 3-0 as they beat Canada 5-3 to enter the Medal Round as the top seed. This left Canada needing to win an extra game to get their precious Gold Medal. In that game, Canada wasted little energy as they thumped Germany 8-2. Canada moved on to beat Russia 7-3 in the Quarterfinals. Team USA meanwhile had their hands full with Switzerland as Jonas Hiller stood on his head, making 42 saves. The Americans would finally breakthrough in the third period, scoring twice to advance to the Semifinals with a 2-0 win. In the semifinals, Team USA remained unbeaten with a 6-1 win over eventual Bronze Medal winner Finland, while holding off Slovakia 3-2. 

All of North America seemed to be watching as the final event of the games was the Men’s Hockey Gold Medal Final between the United States and Canada. Ryan Miller, who had been stellar throughout the games, was in goal for Team USA, while Martin Brodeur sought his second Gold Medal for Canada. The Canadians scored first, as Jonathan Toews notched the only goal of the first period. In the second period, Corey Perry made it 2-0 as the fans were waving Maple Leaf proudly. 


Canada had dominated the first 30 minutes, but team USA was not going to go down without a fight, as Ryan Kessler scored to cut the deficit to 2-1. The scored remained 2-1 until the closing minute of the third period, as Canada tried to hold off the American assault. With 25 seconds left, the game was tied as Zach Parise with an assist from Jamie Langenbrunner bedeviled Brodeur, their NHL teammate.  

Deadlocked at 2-2 and even at 36 shots, apiece the game went to a sudden-death overtime period, giving one team the possibility of a golden goal. Had the game remained tied after 20 minutes, there would have been a shootout. All of Canada was on the edge of their seats, as a loss here would have spoiled the entire Olympics. Sidney Crosby, who had led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup eights prior, would have the final answer, scoring the game-winner at 7:40 off an assist by Jarome Iginla, sending mad celebrations across the Great White North.