Toews saves the day

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

LEKSAND, Sweden -- Luc Bourdon couldn't bear to watch.

Ryan O'Marra said he won't forget it for the rest of his life. And Jonathan Toews, well, he just could not stop scoring.

The shootout to decide hockey games will have its critics until the end of time, but there were few in Canada's dressing room yesterday after Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a shootout in a semi-final at the 2007 world junior championship. Yet another chapter to the Canada-Russia story will be added tomorrow when the nations hook up in the gold-medal game. In winning gold each of the past two winters, Canada has beaten Russia in the deciding match. Russia defeated Sweden 4-2 in the other semi-final yesterday.

Canadian goalie Carey Price was the overtime hero, stopping 12 U.S. shots in the extra 10 minutes. Toews took over in the shootout, scoring three times, including the final score with Canada's seventh shot. Price then stopped Peter Mueller to seal a victory.

"It was a heck of a game and it is an unbelievable feeling right now," Toews, a Winnipeg native who likely will play for the Chicago Blackhawks next season, said. "It's unreal. We have a shootout at (the University of North Dakota, where he plays) every week and I rarely win the thing."

The International Ice Hockey Federation allows the same player to take shots in the sudden-death portion of shootouts if his coach keeps selecting him. So Toews, who scored among the regulated initial three shooters, took two more and beat Jeff Frazee on those too.

The nerve-wracking session, which had all of the loud Canadians among the 2,376 fans at Ejendals Arena on their feet, was not seen by Bourdon. He scored on a power play at 12:19 of the third after Tyler Chorney scored for the U.S. in the second.

"I just put my head down," Bourdon of Shippagan, N.B., said. "I did not watch any of the shots at all."

Coach Craig Hartsburg, who has played and coached in the National Hockey League, said he had "never been through anything like that, ever," in reference to the shootout."

Though goalie Carey Price allowed four shots to get past him in the shootout, he was outstanding otherwise, making 34 saves. The shootout took its toll.

"I have never been so nervous before," Price of Anahim Lake, B.C., said. "My timing was way off and luckily I got a couple of them."

After Toews put Canada ahead for what was the last time, Price closed his legs to thwart Peter Mueller.

"I figured he was going to go five-hole eventually because that is what he does in the WHL," Price said. "He scored his first Western league goal on me on that move."

The exciting manner of victory was something O'Marra always will remember.

"I have never been that emotionally spent after a game," O'Marra of Mississauga said. "I am going to talk about it for the rest of my life. Now we just need to win that next one to make it even sweeter. It's why we came here."


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