Crosby nets shootout winner

Swiss push Canadians to the edge

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency


Canada's Brenden Morrow collides with Raffaele Sannitz of Switzerland during their men's hockey game . (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)


VANCOUVER - Martin Brodeur doesn’t have a book on Swiss shooters.

“I had no clue. One guy, I was barely able to pronounce his game,” said the Team Canada goaltender as he stoned Switzerland’s four guys in the shootout Thursday night, driving Canada to a hard-fought 3-2 win and a 2-0 record in the Olympic tournament. “It was definitely hard, but we pulled through and got the win.”

At the other end of the ice, Team Canada’s Sidney Crosby was the only skater to score in the shootout, beating goaltender Jonas Hiller on his second try after Hiller had turned back Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Ryan Getzlaf in the first round.

Hiller looked like he was channelling Martin Gerber from four years ago when Gerber stoned Canada 2-0 in their upset victory over Canada in Italy, starting the slide that sent Canada to a seventh-place finish.

This time Canada found a way to win.

Hiller faced 47 Canadian shots, 18 of them in the third period.

“‘Wow.’ That’s the bottom line. The guy was amazing,” said Brodeur in summing up Hiller’s performance. “If it wasn’t for him...it was a lot like Marty Gerber in ’06. The game would have been over a long time ago. We did the right things. A lot of shots on net, a lot of traffic.”

Canada had jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau, but the Swiss battled back to tie it on a nice shot by Ivo Ruthemann on a 2-on-1 with Drew Doughty caught up the ice and a lucky bounce off Marleau’s skate by Patrick von Gunten.

Crosby said he remembered what had happened four years ago.

“I was home watching probably like every other Canadian,” he said. But this time he got a chance to do something about it.

After getting stopped by Hiller the first time around, Crosby didn’t know what was going to happen.

“I wasn’t sure what the format was. When the three shooters were over, I wasn’t sure got those three back and just kept going or brought in new guys. Coach came over and said, ‘do you want to go again?’ and I said, ‘I’ll try.’ I look forward to that chance and tried to make the most of it.

"But Marty stoned four guys. He’s the one who made the big saves to keep us in it. “It was just one of those nights where (Hiller) was pretty focused. He was just in the zone. I just tried to keep it simple and find a spot and put it there. If Marty doesn’t make those saves, I don’t get a second crack at it.”

“Going through that isn’t something we wanted going into the game, but it’s not a bad thing for us to go through and hopefully it will help us along the way.”

Canada lost a point with the win in the shootout (regulation wins are worth three points), but can still advance straight to the quarterfinals with a win over the Americans Sunday.

The Canadians now have a couple of days off to work on a sputtering power play (1-for-7) Thursday night.

When asked if Canada was performing at a level that was capable of earning them a gold medal, Crosby was blunt.

“Hopefully we’re going to get better. I wouldn’t say so. That’s fair to say,” said Crosby, “but the gold medal game is not tomorrow, either, so that’s the good news.”

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