Canada blanks USA 1-0 to reach gold medal game

Canada will face Sweden in gold medal game

Canada blanked the U.S. 1-0 on Friday to advance to the men's hockey gold medal game at the Sochi Games.

After a scoreless first period, Canada's Jamie Benn opened the scoring at 1:41 of the second period with a goal assisted by Jay Bouwmeester.

That lone goal stood up for the entire game with both goalies turning in exceptional performances.

Carey Price stopped 31 shots in the shutout while U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick nearly matched him, stopping 36 of 37 shots.

Zach Parise led the Americans with seven shots on goal, followed by Phil Kessel's four shots on goal.

Canada will now face Sweden, which earlier Friday defeated Finland 2-1 in the other semifinal game at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The Swedes won the gold medal in 2006 and 1994.

The U.S. will face the Finns, who won bronze in 2010, for the bronze medal on Saturday.

Both the U.S. and Canada came into the game undefeated, with the American's biggest test coming in their 3-2 shootout victory over Russia last weekend.

Canada's performance had been less impressive, eking out a 2-1 overtime win over Finland in the preliminary round and outlasting Latvia 2-1 in their quarterfinal game on Wednesday.

The American's loss came on the heels of Canada's shocking comeback Thursday in the women's hockey gold medal game that sent the U.S. team home with the silver medal. The women's team had led 2-0 late in the game, but the Canadians scored two goals in the last three and a half minutes of regulation and then won the game 3-2 in overtime.

The Canadian men beat the U.S. in the gold medal game at both the 2010 and 2002 Winter Games and now have a head-to-head Olympic record of 12-3-3 against Team USA. The Canadians also hold the edge in overall Olympic men's hockey medals, 14 overall with eight golds, compared to two golds and 11 overall medals for the U.S.

Team USA has not won a gold medal in men's hockey since the "Miracle on Ice" at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.

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