Canada strikes early and often, toppling Russia 7-3 to head to semifinal

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By Josh Ferguson

Team Canada out-muscled the Russians to solidify a berth in the semifinals with a 7-3 thrashing of their rivals at Canada Hockey Place on Wednesday.

Dan Boyle and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and a pair of helpers and Corey Perry picked up two goals to lead an offensive assault that was firing on all cylinders. Fourteen different Canadians picked up at least a point in the quarterfinal showdown.

Canada came out hitting every Russian in sight and continued the aggressive attack for the entire 20 minutes of a four-goal first period.

Boyle got the home crowd into the game just 2:21 into the opening frame when he went end-to-end and around a prone Anton Volchenkov before sliding a cross-crease pass to Getzlaf who made no mistake on the freebie to make it 1-0.

After Boyle made it a two-goal lead for Canada with a power play marker, Mike Richards stripped Evgeni Malkin of the puck and Jonathan Toews led the rush over the opposition blueline with Russians draped all over him. With all the attention, Toews made a soft saucer pass to a streaking Rick Nash who caught up to the puck before roofing it over the stacked pads of Evgeni Nabokov just 46 seconds after Boyle’s goal.

Dmitri Kalinin showed a pulse in a lackluster Russian attack when he made it 3-1 on a point shot that beat a screened Roberto Luongo with five minutes left in the first.

However, Carlyle, Sask., native Brenden Morrow restored the three-goal lead at the end of the opening frame when he picked up the puck behind the Russian goal on the cycle before being allowed to walk right out in front of Nabokov and shovel it home unscathed. Morrow silenced the critics by tallying up the eventual game-winner for Canada.

Perry and Shea Weber scored in the first four minutes of the second to make it 6-1 and chase Nabokov out of the Russian goal in favor of Ilya Bryzgalov. Maxim Afinogenov responded just 39 seconds after the goalie swap on an excellent individual effort, but it was as close as the Russians would come to getting back in the game.

Sergei Gonchar added a single for the Russians and Perry collected his second goal of the game in the second period to solidify the semifinal berth for the host nation.

Luongo was solid in his second consecutive start, stopping 25 of the 28 shots he faced. Bryzgalov stopped 18 of 19 shots in relief of Nabokov, who was torched for six goals on 19 shots.

The rivalry of two countries burned brighter than the rivalry of two individuals as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin went pointless in the contest.

Canada will at least be playing in a medal game in Vancouver and will find out which color they’ll be going for when they battle the winner of Sweden and Slovakia in the semifinals on Friday.


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