VANCOUVER // A Shea Weber goal that left scorch marks in the net led to a three-goal second period as a revived Canada beat Germany 8-2 to set up an ice hockey showdown against Russia. Canada's easy victory in a game they did not expect to be playing created the most-anticipated match-up of the Olympics quarter-finals - four days earlier than the predicted clash of the giants of the sport in the final on Sunday.
Russia had two days off after winning their group and will be better rested than Canada. It is a game fans in both nations have been anticipating since Russia's Alex Ovechkin and Canada's Sidney Crosby developed into the sport's two top stars, for countries who have been the sport's biggest rivals since the Cold War. "It's something everyone's been talking about. It's something that we thought sooner or later it was going to happen," said Crosby.
"I don't think anyone believed it would be in the quarter-finals." Canada changed goaltenders from Martin Brodeur to Roberto Luongo after being exiled to a qualification game by their surprise 5-3 loss to the US in group play. The switch hardly mattered as Germany had few good scoring chances until the Canadians had a big lead. The change that made the big difference was shifting Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla on to Crosby's line. Iginla scored two goals in slightly more than five minutes to make the score 4-0 as Canada used their scoring depth and talent to take control.
Crosby also scored, Staal had three assists and Joe Thornton scored in the first period. The game, as expected, was little more than a warm-up that allowed the favoured Canadians to regain their confidence, offence and, perhaps, the trust of a nation rattled by their loss to America. By late in the third period, fans in Canada Hockey Place began chanting, "We Want Russia, We Want Russia". * Associated Press