Big time players score big time goals in big time moments.
On Sunday afternoon at Hockey Canada Place, hockey’s brightest superstar scored the biggest goal of his young career on his grandest stage yet.Sidney Crosby
secured not only a gold medal for Canada, but a permanent spot in Olympic hockey lore 7:40 into overtime when he fired a shot between the legs of United States netminder Ryan Miller to give he, Marc-Andre Fleury
and Team Canada a 3-2 victory over Brooks Orpik
and the Americans.
“It's just really special and to be able to do it here in Canada and share it with all the Canadians,” Crosby told NHL.com’s John Dellapina. “It's a dream come true is what it is.”
NBC studio analyst Jeremy Roenick called Sunday’s Gold Medal Game “the most important game in the history of hockey,” making Crosby’s tally the fitting end to possibly the greatest international hockey tournament of all-time.
Crosby began the winning play by skating 1-on-4 into the American zone before Miller knocked the puck into the left corner after Crosby attempted to split U.S. defenders Ryan Suter and Brian Rafalski. Crosby won the ensuing battle to the loose puck, skating the biscuit up the half wall before cycling down low to Jarome Iginla.
Iginla fought off Suter in the corner and laid a perfect pass onto the blade of Crosby at the bottom of the left circle. Crosby wasted no time snapping a shot between the wickets of Miller to clinch Canada’s first gold medal since 2002 in Salt Lake City.
As Crosby told NHL.com shortly after his goal, netting the game-winner in such dramatic fashion was a dream come true for the 22-year-old.
|Sidney Crosby fires the game-winning goal through the legs of Ryan Miller to give Canada a 3-2 overtime victory. |
Credit - Getty Images
“Yeah, I did dream about it -- probably a thousand times,” Crosby said. “But you never know if it's going to come true. You never know if you’re going to be in this position. And that's the thing. You get in these situations and you never know when they're going to come again.”
Crosby actually had a chance to be the hero with just 3:15 remaining in the third period when he stole the puck at the Canadian blue line and skated on a breakaway against Miller. At the time the Canadians held a 2-1 lead, so a Crosby goal almost assuredly would have sealed the gold medal.
However, as Crosby approached Miller’s crease, American forward Patrick Kane, backchecking feverishly on the play, knocked the puck from Crosby’s stick just as he was set to make a move on Miller.
Minutes later, Team USA’s Zach Parise swiped a rebound behind Roberto Luongo with just 24.4 ticks on the clock to send Canada reeling into overtime.
The United States couldn’t benefit from the momentum Parise’s goal generated and Crosby wasn’t about to let a second chance slip off his stick.
With his goal, Crosby joined the likes of Paul Henderson and Penguins owner Mario Lemieux in scoring dramatic game-winning goals for the Canadians in international play. Henderson won the 1972 Summit Series for the Canadians over Russia, while Lemieux’s late third-period goal in 1987 clinched the Canada Cup.
Crosby’s goal also continued his mastery of Miller, whom the Penguins will face on Tuesday night when the Sabres visit Mellon Arena.
|Olympic hero Sidney Crosby receives his gold medal. |
Credit - Getty Images
Crosby helped the Penguins defeat Miller and the Sabres in the 2008 Winter Classic when he went five-hole on Miller in the shootout to give the Penguins a 2-1 victory.
On Feb. 1 of this season, Crosby capped his league-leading third hat trick of the season by ripping a shot through – yes, you guessed it – Miller’s five hole in the Penguins’ 5-4 victory.
While Crosby and Fleury skate away with their first Olympic gold medals, Orpik should proudly showcase his silver medal.
In his Olympic debut, Orpik’s superb defensive play and bruising physicality were a huge reason the U.S. made it as far as they did. Going head-to-head against the top players in the world, including Crosby, Orpik once again proved why he is one of the top defensive players in the game.