Ice hockey: Price was right for Canada in Sochi

Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:21am EST
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By Frank Pingue

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Goaltending was the main concern for the Canadian men's ice hockey team ahead of the Sochi Olympics but Carey Price was up for the task, proving a stable force in net en route to winning a gold medal.

Price registered two shutouts in four games during Canada's golden Sochi run, including Sunday's 3-0 win over Sweden in the tournament's finale that drew praise from his team mates.

"Obviously we gave up some chances and he was there to shut the door," defenseman Duncan Keith told reporters.

"Looking back, there was never any play where he bobbled the puck. Every time it was in his glove there was a whistle, there was nothing ever that made it kind've scary out there. He always calmed things down with a clean save."

Price was forced to make several saves during a busy start to Sunday's game, including one where he had to reach behind him to smother a loose puck that had hit the goal post and bounced off his leg before sliding toward the goal line.

The 26-year-old netminder led all goalies in the 12-team tournament with a minuscule 0.59 percent goals against average and .971 save percentage.

"World class," forward Rick Nash said when asked to describe Price's play in Sochi. "The backbone of this team and main reason why we won gold. Goaltending wins championships."

Price allowed one goal in each of his first three games but was unbeatable the rest of the way, turning aside 31 shots in a hotly-contested 1-0 semi-final win over the United States before going on to stop 33 shots against Sweden.   Continued...

Canada's Sidney Crosby (R), Jeff Carter (2nd from R), P.K. Subban, (3rd from R) , goalie Mike Smith (L), Chris Kunitz (2nd from L) and Drew Doughty pose during the medal presentation ceremony after their team defeated Sweden in the men's ice hockey final game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young