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Crosby's goal wins gold, Canada beats U.S. team 3-2 in overtime
It couldn't tick away quickly enough. With 24.4 seconds remaining, Parise buried it. Tie game. On to overtime, in which the Americans believed the game would be theirs.
"We dominated in overtime," Kesler said.
Not enough. The game-winning play began with Crosby's linemate, Iginla, controlling a puck in the corner that might have been turned over to the Americans. When Iginla gained possession, he heard a voice. It was Crosby's.
"He was yelling pretty urgently," Iginla said.
Iginla found Crosby, who by then was alone, bearing in. Miller stepped toward the Canadian star.
"I've been aggressive all tournament," Miller said, "and I wasn't going to change my game just because we were in overtime."
To that point, Miller had faced 146 shots in the six games of this tournament. He had saved 139 of them. But when Crosby fired this time, Miller couldn't close his pads quickly enough. The puck trickled through, and all of Canada screamed -- in joy, in relief, in all of it.
"You never know when you're going to get a chance, and obviously, being in Canada that's an opportunity of a lifetime to play in the Olympics here and try to win a gold medal," Crosby said. "You dream of that 1,000 times growing up, and for it to come true is pretty amazing."
When the puck went in, the American players on the ice skated slowly, aimlessly. Parise, so nearly the hero, bent at the waist and looked at his feet, unwavering for more than a minute. As the celebration raged in the corner and in the stands and throughout the country, the American reaction made clear this was, in no way, what they arrived for.
"We were one shot shy of winning a gold medal," Johnson said. "That's the way it is."
Afterward, the teams shook hands, a line in which, for the Americans, Miller was last, receiving congratulations and condolences after a performance that made him the tournament's MVP. The Canadians then headed for yet another group hug. At one end of the arena, behind the goal in which Crosby had scored, a fan struggled to wave the largest Canadian flag in the building.
And once the medals were presented, the Canadian players put their arms around each other, and the entire building -- and likely the entire nation -- belted out the final, most important "O Canada" of these Olympics, because Sidney Crosby had delivered the goal some here believe he was destined to score, and Canada won gold.