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No slip-ups on ice as Canadians celebrate third gold in four Olympics

Canada's men's ice hockey team won their third Olympic gold medal in four Winter Games with a 3-0 victory over Sweden in the final.

The Canadians had skated by in their semi-final win over the United States but showed greater conviction yesterday as Jonathan Toews, captain Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz scored to secure a worthy win.

There was an act of impertinence early on from the Swedes as Carl Hagelin struck a post but this was slapped away like an errant puck. Patrice Bergeron also hit a post before his Canadian side went ahead after 2 minutes and 55 seconds of the first period.

Toews, the 25-year-old Chicago Blackhawks captain, put them in front following an assist from Jeff Carter. Crosby, who grabbed the gold-medal winning goal in a unforgettable sudden-death final victory over the USA in Vancouver four years ago, then made it 2-0 when he raced clear on the break and clipped the puck into the net.

Canada continued to press forward and Kunitz flashed the puck into the net to confirm the gold.

It is often the case that defeated teams will come to value their silver medals in time, although the more immediate concern for Sweden was the fate of Nicklas Backstrom, the forward who missed the final with Canada after testing positive for a banned substance.

The team doctor last night insisted that the substance was pseudoephedrine, contained in a pill he had been taking for many years, with Backstrom similarly certain of his innocence. "I've got nothing to hide," he said.

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