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2010 Winter Olympics: Team Canada Makes It a North American Affair

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 26:  Canadian head coach Mike Babcock is seen during the ice hockey men's semifinal game between the Canada and Slovakia on day 15 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 26, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
S. SinghContributor IFebruary 27, 2010

The dust has finally settled, and a much anticipated Canada vs USA gold medal game is on.

Team Canada took an early 3-0 lead in their quarterfinal game against Team Slovakia.  While not as explosive as in their game against Team Russia, Canada played a solid game against a very good Slovakian team.  Patrick Marleau opened up the scoring with a goal at the 13:30 mark followed by a Brendan Morrow goal.  Ryan Getzlaf scored the lone goal in the second period.

However, in the third period, things got a bit scary for the Canadian side, as Slovakia threatened to tie the game with just under five minutes left, having scored goals by Lubomir Visnovski and Michal Handzus. 

After withstanding a Slovakian onslaught, Canada managed to escape with the 3-2 victory.  Getzlaf had another good game and continues to be an integral part of Team Canada.  Roberto Luongo started in net again for Canada and faced 21 shots, which was comparable to 28 faced by Jaroslav Halak.

Slovakia had an inspired (and desperate) third period, but it was a bit too late.  They will face Finland Saturday afternoon for the bronze medal.  However, Slovakia has a lot to be proud of and has shown within the past two Olympics that they are a team to be reckoned with.

Team USA beat Finland 6-1 in their quarterfinal game with Chicago's Patrick Kane scoring two goals.  Ryan Miller continued to play strong in net and looks ready to play Canada.

Canada needs to maintain a high tempo game and continue their hard hitting.  If they want to win, they will have concentrated and played a full 60 minutes and not have had a mental breakdown part way through.

Regardless, the gold medal game will give Canadians a much anticipated rematch to avenge their earlier loss to the Americans, and it is sure to garner a lot of attention.  It's hard to believe that out of the 12 teams that started, now only two are remaining.  Both teams are going to have to play hard and leave everything on the ice.

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