Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's Finally Here. Canada vs Russia. Gold Medal Final.

No two teams have played for the gold medal as often as tonight’s adversaries. No other world team has a history of such success as the Canadian’s and Russian’s and most importantly no other team is more ffected by an opponent as these two power houses countries.

Coming into the tournament, it may have looked like the major opponent would be the American’s who snapped up the gold medal on Canadian soil in a gold medal show down.

The Canadian’s knew they would face off with the Russians in the preliminary rounds and notched a 6-3 win on Boxing Day. The Russians were able to snap Sweden’s hopes of playing for the ultimate prize in a controversial shoot out win in the semi finals. Team Canada put forth a dominating performance in a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game. A 4-1 victory, including a Quinton Howden marker sealed Canada’s place in the final.

The history between the Russians and Canadians is a long and colourful one. Going back all the way to 1997 when the teams first faced off. Canada would not find the gold medal until 1982 and would repeat in 1982. 1987 was the infamous brawl in Piestany where both the Soviets at the time and Canadians were disqualified. Former Warrior Theo Fleury vowed revenge in the form of a gold the following year. Theo was named captain and made his promise come true by scoring the opening goal and beating the Soviets 3-2 on New Year’s Day and taking home the coveted prize.

The year after the Soviets would dominate in Alaska and take the final game in a score of 7-2. In 1994 Canada won again by a score of 3-2 in Saskatoon. The Russian’s were back on the top of the podium in 1998, 2002 and 2003. In 2005 the tides changed with a the help of Canadian sensation Sidney Crosby. In Grand Fork, ND Crosby and team Canada beat the Russian’s 6-1.

From 2002 to 2007 (six times), Canada and Russia have met for gold. Canada has won the majority with three. What will happen tonight? Who will be the player of the game?

As obvious as it may seem, here’s who to watch for tonight:

Team Canada
Quinton Howden- How can you not! The Warrior standout has been strong throughout the tournament; scoring a big goal in the USA game, Quinton will be wearing the reverse of his usual 21, #12. Quinton has 2 goals, 3 assists and a +8 rating.

Ryan Ellis- The captain and the defensive dynamite for Canada, Ellis has WJ experience and will no doubt be looked upon tonight. Ellis has 9 points.

Ryan Johansen- Perhaps you recall when Portland was in town seeing Johansen play? He has 9 points in the tournament.

Brayden Schenn- Playing alongside Quinton Howden for many shifts over the tournament, Schenn has a team high 16 points and a +11 rating.

Mark Visentin- Visentin, a Coyotes draft pick, was phenomenal in the USA game. The Coyotes are speculating he will get the start tonight.

# 25-Yevgeni Kuznetsov- A draft pick of the Washington Capitals, Yevgeni has 8 points in the tourney.

#10- Vladimir Tarasenko- A St. Louis pick, Tarasenko has 9 points.

#9- Dmitri Orlov- Defensive leader in scoring, 9 points.

#13- Maxim Kitsyn- Eight points has Kitsyn sitting in the teams top scoring ranks.

#20- Dmitri Shikin- Playing in 5 games for Russian, Shikin has played in 5 games, winning 3. He has 13 goals against him.

As a last note on tonight’s game, no matter what the outcome of tonight’s game there is no denying all of Moose Jaw and Canada are very proud of our own Quinton Howden. Every person that comes into our office loves to talk about their excitement and how well he is playing.

It couldn’t happen to a better young man. Quinton has wanted this is whole life and along side his family, he will have chance to fullfill his dreams tonight in Buffalo. All the long practices, endless workouts, camps, games have lead him tonight. From all of Moose Jaw… Go Team Canada and good luck Quinton!

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