Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1984 Olympic Hockey, Canada vs. Sweden

"There are 20 guys who are extremely distraught over this," coach Dave King was quoted after Team Canada's final game of the 1984 Olympics. They had just lost by a score of 2-0 to Sweden to be denied a Bronze Medal. King continued,"It was a very difficult game for our young players to play and I didn't think we coped with the pressure as well as we could have."

Goaltender Mario Gosselin said after the game that the team wanted the Bronze Medal too badly,"We tried hard, but we tried in the wrong way. We wanted to win the game in the first minute, we wanted to win as quickly as possible, we wanted too much to win." In truth, they didn't even need a win, a tie would have given the Canadians the Bronze on goal differential.

Canada ended up scoring zero goals in the three final round matches and obviously could have used some more offense. King addressed that, "Certainly when you lose the last three by shutout, you think a player like Mario Lemieux could have made a difference." Unfortunately, King and Lemieux had a conflict of personalities the previous year on the Canadian Junior team. Lemieux received a grudging and belated invitation to the Olympic team camp but turned it down.

The eventual game-winning goal resulted from a clearing pass by Dave Donnelly hitting a Swedish skate, enabling Thom Eklund to make a pass to Peter Gradin (brother of Vancouver Canuck Thomas). Gradin beat Doug Lidster then Gosselin for his ninth goal of the Olympics at 11:21 of the second frame. The second goal game seven minutes into the third via a powerplay goal from Hakan Sodergren. Canada outshot Sweden 13-5 in the final period and 28-22 overall.

When all was said and done, Mario Gosselin was the runaway star of the Olympics for Canada ending up with a 2.21 goals against average. I counted all the boxscores and determined his Save Percentage below.

(Saves/Shots Against)

Canada vs USA
Gosselin   35/37

Canada vs Austria
Gosselin  11/11

Canada vs Finland
Gosselin  25/27

Canada vs Norway
Gosselin  14/14

Canada vs Czechoslovakia
Gosselin  32/36

Canada vs Soviet Union
Gosselin   22/26

Canada vs Sweden
Gosselin  20/22

Total 159/173
.919 Save Percentage

Within a week, Gosselin had put his Olympic failure behind him as he suited up for his first National Hockey League game on February 26, 1984. Turning aside 26 shots, he shutout the St.Louis Blues in front of a hometown crowd at Quebec City's Colisee. Gosselin said afterwards,"I had a big game against the United States, but this is better. To get a shutout in my first can't start a career any better than that."


Anonymous said...

Mario Lemieux wasn't part of the 1984 Olympic team because of an argument with Dave King???

Nitzy said...

I have fruitlessly tried to find more on this, but it seems so. I found only one newspaper to it dated from months after the fact, but it seems they had some grudge toward each other.

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