Old sweaters, same result

Robin
Robin Short
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Canada pulls out win over U.S., but it was close

The faces were different, but the duds were familiar. And the outcome, doubtful for a while, was the unfailing.

Outfitted in the red and white half Maple Leaf uniforms unveiled at the 1976 Canada Cup, Team Canada circa 2008 dug into the emotional well captain Shane Doan was talking about, gutting out a 5-4 win over a pesky, youthful American team Tuesday at the world hockey championship.

Team Canada goalie Cam Ward peers around Canada's Steve Staios (left) and Team USA Jeff Halpern during the first period at the IHF world hockey championship on Tuesday at the Metro Centre in Halifax. Canada won the game 5-4. Photo by The Canadian Press

Halifax - The faces were different, but the duds were familiar. And the outcome, doubtful for a while, was the unfailing.

Outfitted in the red and white half Maple Leaf uniforms unveiled at the 1976 Canada Cup, Team Canada circa 2008 dug into the emotional well captain Shane Doan was talking about, gutting out a 5-4 win over a pesky, youthful American team Tuesday at the world hockey championship.

Canada ups its record to 3-0, and stretches its unbeaten streak to 12 games dating back to last year's worlds.

And somewhere within the Metro Centre, the Golden Jet was smiling.

Wearing No. 9 with HULL stitched across the back in warmups, Dany Heatley scored two goals, including the winner with 37 seconds left in regulation time.

The '76 Canada Cup squad, considered by many the best lineup put together, was honoured here Monday, during a noon-time luncheon followed by a ceremony at last night game.

And the Canadians took to the warmup wearing the '76 names and numbers - Orr's No. 4, Sittler's No. 27, Lafleur's 10 and Potvin's 6 (Guy Lapointe won 5).

"When I got to pick (his jersey), 9 was open," Heatley said afterwards. "I got the fifth or sixth pick and I jumped on that one. He's a big time goalscorer," he said of Hull.

"It was pretty cool to wear those. You see all the highlights back in the day, the big goals, the big wins. Team Canada. It was pretty neat to wear those tonight."

Funny, most of the kids on the Canadian squad weren't even around for the '76 Canada Cup, except for a few geezers like Steve Staios, Jamal Mayers and Ed Jovanovski. Or 1981 for that matter, when the Soviets stomped on Canada 8-1 in the final at the old Montreal Forum.

In fact, most of these youngsters consider the U.S. their big hockey rival now, over the Russians and Czechs.

But unlike '76, this U.S. team were no Pete Loprestis, Gary Sargents, Harvey Bennetts or Alan Hangslebens.

While the Americans were still missing some important cogs, Patrick Kane, Zach Parise and Patrick O'Sullivan served notice the U.S. will be reckoned with.

"Give credit to those guys," said Doan. "The way they battled back is amazing."

"There's a lot of young players on our team," said O'Sullivan, the 22-goal scorer with the Los Angeles Kings this year, "a lot of guys who haven't been in a situation like this and the way everyone handled it and the way everyone battled, it's something our team and our program can build on.

"We showed a lot of people we're capable of playing at the same level as these guys."

Defenceman Brent Burns, Jonathan Toews and Derek Roy also scored for Canada. O'Sullivan, Parise, Dustin Brown and Jason Pominville had the American goals.

Tough match

After two games of shinny against the Slovenians and Latvians, Tuesday's tilt offered the tough, intense, back-and-forth brand of hockey Halifax fans had pined for. And the 9,192 on hand weren't disappointed.

Canada led 2-0 after one period and jumped out to a 3-0 lead 18 seconds into the third.

But goals by Parise and O'Sullivan cut the Canadian lead to 3-2 after 40 minutes.

Roy restored the two-goal cushion, but Brown and Pominville - a Quebec born-and-raised product with dual citizenship - scored 1:36 apart to set the stage for Heatley.

The Ottawa Senators star with the lethal release got just enough of a one-time pass from Rick Nash to fool Florida Panthers' netminder Craig Anderson, who replaced an injured Tim Thomas to start the second.

The goal was Heatley's sixth of the tournament and his 10th point. Heatley and linemates Nash and Ryan Getzlaf have combined for eight goals and 22 points in the three games.

"Heater is a phenomenal player," Doan said.

"That line is incredible. That whole play starts with Getz going to the net. It's hard to ask your No. 1 centre, a phenomenal player like that, to drive to the net but if he doesn't do that, Heater's not open behind him. Getz created the opening.

"They do everything right and they do it the hard way. They drive to the net, they create open ice.

"We don't necessarily rely on one individual guy. We're pretty solid and we count on our depth."

Canada was greeted with a rousing ovation and standing O at the final buzzer from a Metro Centre crowd that included Hull, Orr, Potvin, Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Danny Gare, Bill Barber, Reggie Leach, Jimmy Watson and Peter Mahovlich from the '76 team, along with coaches Scotty Bowman and Al MacNeil.

"It's our sport," captain Doan said. "We have to win. It started in '72, '76 carried it on. It's our sport. It's the way it is."

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Metro Centre, Team Canada, Montreal Forum Los Angeles Kings Ottawa Senators Florida Panthers

Geographic location: Canada, U.S., Maple Leaf Quebec

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Recent comments

  • Gord
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I'll be going to Halifax this week-end to cheer on the Canadian Team. I'll certainly be bringing the Newfoundland colors there with me as well.

  • Gord
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    I'll be going to Halifax this week-end to cheer on the Canadian Team. I'll certainly be bringing the Newfoundland colors there with me as well.