Canada was hoping for a repeat of the 2002 Olympic final but Ryan Miller got in the way – 42 times.
He made 42 saves and lead Team U.S.A. to a 5-3 victory in a high-energy game against the home team.
Jim Craig, the American goaltender who made 39 saves against the Soviets in the 1980 Olympic final, was in the audience on Sunday night.
It was 30 years ago on Monday that the American Olympic team beat the Soviets 4-3 in the “Miracle on Ice.”
But it was Miller who shocked an entire nation on Sunday as a multitude of Canadian superstars were stopped time and time again by the hot Buffalo Sabres goalie.
“I feel good,” Miller told CTV. “I got a lot of support from the boys, we huddled in there and really battled for each other. Overall we played a good game.”
“He’s the best goalie in the world,” U.S. defenceman Jack Johnson said of Miller to CTV. “He was absolutely phenomenal and the reason why we won that game. He bailed us out when we were on our heels.”
American defender Brian Rafalski scored two goals and added an assist on the night.
His first, a point shot just 41 seconds into the game, silenced the heavily Canadian crowd. He scored another silencing goal at 10:45 of the first period as it was just 22 seconds after Canada’s Eric Staal had tied the game.
Dany Heatley scored his fourth goal of the tournament at 16:28 of the second period. He’s now tied for first place with Rafalski in both goals and points, with five.
Goaltending was the main problem for Canada as Martin Brodeur stopped 18 of just 22 shots. The Canadian team dominated in all other aspects of the game making big hits, quick passes and taking plenty of quality shots.
The Americans may have been pressured but they were never behind on the scoreboard. They increased the lead to 4-2 when Chris Drury scored with 3:16 remaining in the second and Jamie Langenbrunner scored on the power play at 12:51 of the third.
Sidney Crosby brought Canada within one goal on the power play from Rick Nash and Duncan Keith at 16:51 of the third.
Canada’s hope for a comeback was dashed when Ryan Kesler swiped his stick at the puck in a race with Corey Perry to score the empty-net goal and make the score 5-3.
Jonathan Toews had two assists on the night.
The loss makes Canada’s road to gold harder as they now must play a qualification game against Germany on Tuesday. If they win they will potentially meet Russia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.