Canada lose U.S. ice hockey crunch, Bode gold

Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:30am EST
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By Mary Milliken

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - It was indeed "Miller Time" -- as the beer slogan goes -- for the U.S. Olympic team Sunday after skier Bode Miller snatched his first Olympic gold medal and ice hockey goalkeeper Ryan Miller stopped Canada in a heartbreaking loss for the hockey-crazed host nation.

Miller the skier, in a remarkable comeback after quitting last year, slalomed from off the pace to grab the men's super combined, adding gold to his haul of a silver and bronze in these Winter Games.

At night, all eyes turned to ice hockey, where U.S. beat Canada 5-3 in Olympic men's qualifying Group A on a day packed with three matches between historic rivals.

Miller the goalie, who sported "Miller Time" on his helmet last week before Olympic officials forced him to remove the slogan, recorded 42 saves at the net.

Earlier in the day, the Winter Games host suffered a tragic turn of events as figure skating champion Joannie Rochette's mother died of unknown causes, just days before the start of the women's Olympic competition.

Hours later, Rochette turned up to train looking remarkably composed. She has been tipped as the only athlete likely to stop an Asian sweep of the medals in the women's competition.

Day nine of competition also brought a third gold for the Netherlands' speedskating team, the second gold for German biathlete Magdalena Neuner and the first bobsleigh gold for experienced German pilot Andre Lange.

Up on Whistler mountain, the U.S. ski team, already the medal leaders of the Games' Alpine competitions, sealed their dominance with Miller's stunning come-from-behind win.   Continued...

<p>Bode Miller of the U.S. clears a gate during the Slalom run of the men's Alpine Skiing Super Combined event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>