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Organizers have to say goodbye to the tournament after only four matches, while Sweden awaits Canada as their next rival.
The Canadian favorite lived up to his role early on and dominated the action in the first five minutes. The Chinese (including 16 natural players from Canada, the United States and Russia) were initially inactive, but had the opportunity to take the lead in the sixth minute: the hosts were awarded a penalty, which, however, could not be converted. So it remained at 0:0 for some time. After the Canadians took control of the game from there, Jordan Weil (seventh) scored the opening goal to make it 1–0. The North Americans then dropped slightly and coach Ivano Zanatta’s team sniffed the equalizer. As China was getting closer and closer to 1-1, the bell rang for the second time. Again it was Veil (10th) that made Canadians happy. The Chinese were still in the game and their effort was evident in the form of several opportunities. It paid off after just under 16 minutes: American-born Corey Kane (today Ann Jian) scored for the country from the middle. China couldn’t do much, as Matt Tomkins made several saves.
While China was still able to withstand pressure from the Canadians in the first third, this suddenly changed in the second half. Claude Julian’s team pushed for the third goal, which came through Adam Tambellini (27th). And Rogal Stryker followed a few seconds later, rising to 4:1 (29th). The Canadians got into a real frenzy of goals, so that Eric O’Dell (33rd) eventually scored to make it 5–1. However, the game in China was characterized by disc loss and poor passes. Ultimately, Canada’s loss for Gian (39′) took 5v3 and scored his second goal to make it 5-2. Previously, some of the shots made by the Chinese were very accurate and there was no sign of resistance from the first round. The different levels of teams are especially noticeable when it comes to dueling.
In the final third, the Canadian focused mainly on the defensive thanks to a solid lead. Despite trailing 5-2, the defeated Chinese did not lack the belligerent spirit and will. Rather, it was the poor passes and lack of articulation in the duet that gave the Canadians a huge advantage. China continued to create chances (such as through Kane) but often played a poor pass at the crucial moment. Tomkins had to intervene several times (50th, 52nd) and save his team from the third goal. Shortly before the end the favorite showed himself again and was surpassed by former NHL star Eric Stahl (56th) to 6:2. The goal came shortly after for the final score of 7:2 when Jack McBain (59th) returned the goal.
The Chinese team has pinned its hopes on natural players, who make up more than 60 percent of the entire roster. While Germany has benefitted several times from this practice, it has not brought the Chinese the desired success and the tournament on home soil ended after just four matches. Even before the Games, the expectations were not high. Jack Chelios (son of NHL legend Chris) was already ecstatic about attending the Olympics: “Not many get a chance to be here for the hosts.” While China is celebrating participation, Canada may celebrate reaching the quarter-finals, where Sweden were already waiting, which automatically qualified as the best runner-up.
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