Canada crushes Germany, eyes Russia

Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:07am EST
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By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada stormed into the Olympic men's ice hockey quarter-finals with a morale-boosting 8-2 rout of Germany on Tuesday before setting their sights on their greatest rivals.

"We want Russia. We want Russia," roared the capacity crowd at Canada Hockey Place as the home team flexed its muscles with the kind of hard-hitting attacking display the hockey-mad nation had been waiting for.

Canadians will not have to wait long for the game they demanded, with their team set to return to the ice on Wednesday for a heart-pumping quarter-final clash against Russia which will see one of hockey's two superpowers and gold medal favorites make an early exit.

The bold bravado of hooting flag-waving supporters was in stark contrast to the angst-ridden days leading up to the sudden-death qualification game against Germany which was forced on Canada by their upset loss to the United States.

But the rout convinced Canadians they need not fear the mighty Russians as the mood quickly swung from one of gut-wrenching anxiety to "Bring it on."

While the world's two top-ranked nations will not be battling for the last gold of the Games on February 28, the stakes could not be higher with the game sure to add another chapter to hockey's richest international rivalry.


No athletes are under greater pressure to deliver gold in Vancouver than the 23 men wearing the Maple Leaf on their sweaters.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Sidney Crosby (L) celebrates his goal with Eric Staal during the third period of their men's play-offs qualification ice hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 23, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk</p>