Canada edge United States to reach final

Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:18pm EST
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By Steve Keating

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Canada squeezed past arch-rivals the United States 1-0 on Friday to reach the final of the Sochi Winter Games men's ice hockey competition as they bid to successfully defend their 2010 Olympic crown.

Sweden, 2-1 winners over Finland in the other semi-final, will face off against Canada on Sunday to decide the final gold of the Games hours before the closing ceremony.

"This was a huge win for us and I'm excited about it," said Canadian forward Rick Nash. "It was pretty special in Vancouver where we won gold. Now we have the chance to do it again."

Jamie Benn, overlooked when invitations to the first training camp were sent out, scored the only goal as Canada again came out on top in a mouth-watering do-or-die rematch of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games gold medal contest.

After a scoreless opening period, Benn came charging towards the slot and redirected Jay Bouwmeester's low shot past a helpless Jonathan Quick.

The brilliant Carey Price then slammed the door on the Americans, stopping 31 shots to earn the shutout.

Referring to being left out of the initial roster, Benn said: "It gave me the motivation to come into this year and have a good first half with my team back home. I worked really hard to be here today."

The contest lacked the intensity, emotion and excitement of four years earlier, as the confident Canadians produced a business-like effort to shut down an explosive American attack.   Continued...

Canada's Jamie Benn (22) celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau (C), Sidney Crosby (R), Jonathan Toews (16) and Matt Duchene after their win over Team USA at the conclusion of the men's ice hockey semi-final game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 21, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder