Canada routs Russia to reach semis

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Canada routs Russia to reach semis

VANCOUVER, Canada - Corey Perry scored twice in the second period and linemate Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists as Canada routed Russia 7-3 in the quarterfinals of the Olympic hockey tournament on Wednesday.

Defenseman Dan Boyle also had a goal and two assists for Canada, which avenged two consecutive losses to top-seeded Russia in the past two World Championships. Canada advanced to the semi-finals today, where it will face either Sweden or Slovakia.

“We always feel under pressure to play in Canada, that is the way it is,” forward Sidney Crosby said. “Today we used it to energize us. It is just a quarterfinal as and as good as it is, we have to turn the page quickly.”

This was only the second Olympic hockey meeting between the longtime international rivals. Russia defeated the Canadians 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Turin Winter Games.

For the hometown fans, excitement began even before the puck dropped on Wednesday’s much-anticipated Russia-Canada quarterfinal showdown of National Hockey League stars. Tickets were changing hands for up to $3,845 (4.4 million won) each. A school band entertained the spectators waiting outside for the gates to be opened at Hockey Canada Place.

Even before the teams skated onto the ice for a pre-game warm-up, rival fans were testing each other. Horn-blowing Russian fans started a cheer only to be booed into silence by Canada supporters.

The Russian squad waited in the hallway leading to the rink for four minutes before the arena buzzer signaled the start of the 20-minute pre-game skating session. Seconds later, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov led the red-clad Russian squad onto the ice.

Like a championship boxer fighting in his hometown, Canada waited several minutes more before emerging from the tunnel to a thunderous roar from the red-and-white-clad crowd, who made sure the Russians knew who the visiting team was.

“Both sides dearly wanted to win for their countries,” Canadian defenseman Scott Niedermayer said.

Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin was a non-factor for much of the game.

“What do you think? I am disappointed,” Ovechkin barked, and glared at a reporter in the mixed-zone interview area.

Ryan Miller made 19 saves for the shutout and Zach Parise scored twice as the United States beat Switzerland 2-0 in their quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The United States advances to the semi-finals, where either Finland or the Czech Republic will be their opponents today.

AFP
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